I've also heard good things about the aftermarket accelero GPU fans, both quiet and cool.
They're reasonably good, but removing the original cooler to install one will void your warranty, and honestly I think they get more sales as replacement coolers rather than as "upgrades".
Some of the factory-fitted multi-heatpipe, dual or triple fan coolers are superior to most of the Accelero models anyway. The one that is interesting is the watercooled/air hybrid, but it's really expensive and doesn't make sense on a lower-tier graphics card;
The next question being "do you really want to invalidate the warranty and risk damaging a brand-new, $400 graphics card just to change the (reasonably decent) air cooler?"
Remember, $400 cards are already using heatpipes, fans with fluid-dynamic bearings, intricately soldered fins and usually include a measure of custom baseplates that act not only as RAM and VRM coolers, but also provide extra structural support to the circuit board.
Check out this image
After kissing you warranty goodbye, they expect you to hang 2lbs of metal and plastic solely off the clamping points around the GPU; A manufacturer's shroud is usually supported by anything up to 16 screw points and sometimes multiple plates on the front and back.
Also, any brand known to have uefi/GOP bios on it?
I think most modern cards support it now (it's been a good while since I saw a VGA BIOS at boot) Possibly my GTX460 used to have one.
Even if a card doesn't have one I really
wouldn't worry about an extra 2-3 seconds once every reboot - and good luck
trying to find that info on any manufacturer's webpage
You didn't have an XFX "Double D" open air cooler on the 7950 did you? Those are known to be pretty lackluster.
I've come across several of XFX's coolers, including their DD's (I probably build 150 PC's a year still) and I now only buy them when there's a stock issue or ridiculous price advantage.
Their coolers are noisier than most of the Sapphire/Asus/MSI/Gigabyte ones I've come across, and I keep stumbling across cards that have agressive fan profiles to multiply the effect even further.
I don't know if the coolers are good but XFX get cheaper, lower-binned parts that need more voltage, or whether the coolers just aren't well designed. I think one of those two statements must be true though - based on my limited experience.
If your experience with blowers is mainly with AMD's reference coolers, I can understand why you'd think blowers aren't great. Nvidia makes much better blowers (as plenty of reviews using reference hardware will attest) and the titan is just the pinnacle of that.
Is the Titan blower better than the best open-air cooler? Unlikely - as you said, the physics of larger fans and more surface area gives open cooling the advantage.
Is the Titan blower better than your average open cooler built down to a price to keep that model fiercely competetive? Yeah, most likely. And this is why I like the 770 - it's using a cooler that's abnormally expensive and high-quality for its TDP, without the grossly inflated cost.