MSI R7970 Lightning Review
Here we have the MSI R7970 Lightning in its full naked glory. As we can see, the PCB looks mostly identical to the reference design but it has been extended height wise to accomodate the additional power circuitry (14+2+1 phases of power, as compared to 6+2 phases on the typical HD 7970).
A familar 256MB Hynix GDDR5 BGA memory module widely used in cards released in 2012, with twelve of them placed in a 384bit ring bus configuration on this board.
The CHiL CHL8228G Digital PWM also appears on this board, providing i2c software control for voltages.
MSI has decked out the card with their trademark Military Class III components, featuring gold plated SSCs (solid state chokes), tantalum core Hi-c CAP and CopperMOS.
Like the ASUS HD7970 DirectCU II, the R7970 Lightning also features dual 8-pin PCIe connectors, which allows the board to draw up to 375W of power (150+150+75) in extreme scenarios. We are also pleased to report that the native PowerTune limits are raised to 180% and OCP limits relaxed, making this a better proposition than reference designs for overclockers.
At the middle of the board, we have multi-meter probe points for monitoring the card's active PLL/VDDCI, memory and core voltages.
MSI has preloaded two BIOS settings (normal and LN2), which can be selected from a DIP switch next to the CrossfireX connectors.
MSI's Twin Frozr IV cooler – 5 heatpipes connected to a dense array of fins over the card
MSI calls their fans "Propeller Blades", and they will run in reverse during startup for 30 seconds to remove dust from the heatsinks
The two 10cm fans are rated at 0.55A@12v