The Card

Front of Card – we see the iconic MSI Twin Frozr III dual 80mm fan heatpipe design which is much less audible and achieves cooler temperatures than the reference GTX580 blower design.

P1010958 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

Back of Card – filled with NEC Proadlizer*4, Copper MOS and other engineering niceties to improve power regulation and extreme overclocking. There is also a dual bios switch for those who need consequence-free bios flashing experimentation.

P1010961 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

Gold Plated Display Connectors –  Dual-link DVI x 2, HDMI x 1 and DisplayPort x 1.

P1010968 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

The card takes up two slots (instead of three on some non-reference designs by other manufacturers) and there are three voltage measuring points for vGPU and vMem.

P1010956 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

Requires 2x 8pin PCIe Connectors – which implies up to 300W of power pull in addition to the 75W from the motherboard.

P1010976 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

Blue LED lights while in operation. Also, during initial cold boots, the fans will spin in reverse for a few seconds to try to remove dust build up in the heatsinks.

P1010975 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

 

Test Setup

 Buyers Guide: MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition 3GB    The Fastest Single GPU for BF3?

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-2600K @ 4.8GHz
  • Motherboard: MSI Z68A-GD80 B3 (our review)
  • RAMs: 2 x 4GB G.Skills RipJawsX 1600Mhz 9-9-9-28 1T
  • HSF: Thermalright Silver Arrow with 2 Fans
  • SSD: Corsair X128 SSD
  • PSU: CM Silent Pro M 1000W
  • OS: Windows 7 x64 with SP1
  • Nvidia Driver: 285.38