Because my MSI 6870 Hawk was lacking just a tad of power I decided to upgrade. After a lot of googling and reading up I decided between the MSI 6970 Lighting in the KFA2 580GTX Anarchy. I opted for the latter based on the non-availability of the lightning, the better Nvidia drivers and better benchmarks for the 580.
First I bought a news case: the Fractal 3000 which is a steal at 60$, eventhough you have to change the fans (to Noctua's in my case (pun intended)). It has loads of grids to dissapate the heat. You'll meed it.
When setting up the Anarchy I was shocked at the noise. But the fan was at 50% so I quickly dropped it to 20%, which is possible without a bios flash with this card. A nice plus. After this I changed the case fans to lessen the noise and get better airflow: 580's are hotheads.
This allowed me to drop de fan% at idle at 10%, after -yes- a bios mod. Now my set up is silent at iddle, love it. The beast is tamed at a nice 39C at iddle. Nore fans to be added soon, so this should improve.
Under load the card is audiable. But the fan never gets over 24% and temps never over 74C. But, you have to make your casefanse work for it. So you will end up with a very powerfull set up with this card, and under full load all you'll hear is a slight breeze (mostling the wooshing sound of the Noctua's). Very pleasant on the ears, just like a good mid end card (compared to my MSI 6870 Hawk).
The build quality is ok, yet it didn't wow me as much as the MSI products usually do. Looks of the card are fine, but nothing spectacular, but I have a closed case anyway. Gotta hide the yucky Noctua's
All in all I am very pleased with the product. With an airy case and quiet yet powefull casefans this is about as silent as air cooled high end gaming gets.
Bonus: it OC's like a charm, running stable at the 920 mark.