When our home was Delphi, I was nudged into finding out why this is. So, I wrote Xtasy, Abit, BFG, and ATI. Every response back was the same: This is the standard, and no it isn't going to change. Just plain vague in terms.
The Video community seems way too passive while the chipmakers decide standards they'll have to live with. BTX is a standard being pushed by Intel. nVidia should have jumped in with their own thoughts and added their changes. BTX is focusing on the CPU, and little more. It's putting it in the airflow, so why shouldn't this new form add in the GPU heat as well? Nope. They'll just take it and keep running this way because they're told to.
It's just a flip of the hardware. The design is the same everywhere, just mirrored. As long as they adhear to the CPU's keep-out zone, they should do whatever they want. If I were buying a card, I wouldn't care very much at all if one would break the standard and flip it over. We, as builders, already do a lot of research into what HS will fit what board. What's a little more research?
This would also kill off this entire debate about taking up two PCI slots. Looking at all my past boards, the only thing in the way is the northbridge. The 850E, 865, 875, 925X, and 925XE all have themselves sitting right in the way of this change and would hit the GPU cooler. BUT, with the 925XE (Asus), the PCIe slot lines up with PCI hole #2. The #1 slot in the case isn't being used with anything you throw in there! Nothing will ever use that case slot. But it would if they'd flip the card's layout.
The fact that some of these cards are making these huge HS's that take up that much room is because they can. If they were given the chance to run mirrored, they could still come up with some creative design to get them back in check. The end result would be all the obvious faults fixed. Even more so if OTES actually became a standard. The top of the fan would be the intake, the heat would be ejected right out so it wouldn't even bother the CPU, The I/O could use PCI slot #2, and the heat would eject slot #1. All it'd have to do is dodge the NB chip, and that's no big feat to tackle. The GPU is already out of the way as it is.
Damn..."the man" is holding a good idea back. Damn the man!