MSI R7970 Lightning Review

Equipped with their brand new Twin Frozr IV cooling system and various other overclocking-oriented components, is the MSI R7970 Lightning the best graphics card that money can buy?

First unveiled at CeBIT 2012, the heavily souped up MSI R7970 Lightning is one of the best looking cards we ever had in our labs. If you still don't know what a Radeon HD 7970 is or how it performs, read this article first.

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At the back of the card, we get a large black metal backplate with a plastic blue orb-like cap placed behind the GPU core (more on that later)

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Unlike the reference design, we actually get six physical display outputs for an immersive Eyefinity setup – 4 x mini-DP and 2 x DVI (single link) ports

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Box, documentation and bundle – besides the mandatory manual and driver CD, we have a "Military Class MIL-STD-810G" certificate touting its durability, handy probe wires for the voltage check points, mini-DP to DP convertor, DVI to HDMI dongle and two 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe convertors (rare).

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When the card is in operation, there are attractive blue LEDs at the front and back, and 14+2+1 of them at the VRM area behind actually indicates how many power phases are in use.

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By default, the core speed of the MSI R7970 Lightning is factory overclocked at 1070MHz, 16% higher than the reference design (925MHz). This is not surprising as most Radeon HD 7970s that we've played with can run at that frequency without a voltage bump.

gpuz MSI R7970 Lightning Review