MtSpokane, thanks for your words of wisdom. It turns out you're not telling me anything I don't already know. I disagree with your sentiment that they all work the same way. The object of noise reduction, is not to blur detail. It is to preserve detail and eliminate noise. They certainly do not all work the same way. Some are better with chrominance, others with luminance. If all they did was blur detail, then we could get the same results by simply applying softening to the image. The results are not the same at all, though. So for you to assume there will be no further advancement in noise reduction algorithms, or approaches, is rather absurd and wrong-minded. No offense. You might as well just suggest that deleting the image would be the simplest and best way to clean it. There's always a better mousetrap. As for changing to a better performing camera, I'm already planning to add a terrific one to my tool collection. But as a fan of low-light photography, and shooting at ISO higher than the base level...new noise reduction is especially interesting to me. Since noise reduction does not interest you, perhaps you need not even waste your time commenting.
You can believe anything you want, that does not change the fact that NR blurs detail, its just a matter of which detail gets blurred.
Apparently you missed the part where I said that "some of it has better algorithms to decide which pixels to smear, but that's how its done, smearing pixels to reduce detail and eliminate the grainy look."
Undoubtedly, there will be more and better algorithms as more powerful computers are able to handle it, but you can also apply what there is today selectively to make the best use of what is out there.
NASA has super computers that are able to do a much better job of noise removal than we can. I believe that our computers are the limiting factor, someone editing 500 images may not want to wait if NR takes a excessive time. With my low light D800 images, I had to wait far too long for NR to complete with a ISO 12800 image, I just could not spend the time for a large shoot.
I also do a lot of low light photography and use NR, so I'm quite interested in NR, and have tried them all. I have also read all their hype, and find it to be just that. You have to try it, and when they limit you to 8 bit trials, the results are not usable for me.
In general, I have found that the different software packages do a good job with certain types of images, and poor with others.