Thanks Steve. I'll look into this recommendation.
I just wonder why you say "I've yet to have an issue with dozens of these". Do you build systems or something?
Yes I do. I think several of us here are involved at different levels.
If you're ever allowed to be the kid in the candy store as they'd sometimes let me at a major supplier in Thailand, like you said you'd be surprised at the sheer number of different cards, or the same cards but with different outputs. Everyone specifying a system looks for different things, but for what we do (stills or video) once we get past the compatibility side of things (8 bit vs. 10 bit, the right native connectors, power draw and connectors, etc) then I think it pays next to look at drivers and then build quality and anything that keeps that board cool and preferably quiet. I'm not interested in over clocking other than from the factory (who do this in very small amounts when they do) or small differences in power gains. We just want a good solid card somewhere in the right ballpark of our power requirements and for that card to be kept cool and built very well with a solid warranty.
The different coolers that come with the cards range from cheap plastic housings hiding small inadequate heatsinks, to large capable heatsinks cooled by large liquid baaring fans that push more air at less RPM's. We're talking a 20-30c different in peak operating temperature. Not bad fro paying attention and maybe another $10-$20 in initial cost,
There are some great aftermarket but unless you do a lot of these I wouldn't recommend them. They instantly void your warranty it's very easy to brick a card.