MSI R7970 Lightning Review
Software and Overclocking
MSI Afterburner, developed by Unwinder of Rivatuner fame and currently at version 2.20 Beta 14, is the de-facto GPU overclocking utility that most enthusiasts turn to even with non MSI graphic cards. Besides offering the ability to monitor and adjust clock speeds and voltages, it features advanced screenshot and video recording functions (à la Fraps).
On the MSI R7970 Lightning, we have the ability to push the core voltage up to 1.35v (usually 1.3v or less) without encountering any screen blackouts caused by OCP (nanny state overclocking protection). We can also adjust the Aux Voltage (PLL) for an additional 30mV boost on the PCIe bus to stabilize high frequencies.
Methodology: We set the fans to 100% and looped Unigine Heaven 3.0 on extreme settings for 10 minutes and took the maximum temperature from the ondie sensor. Ambient temperature was 18 degrees.
Stock Voltage Load Temps: 33 degrees celsius (WTFBBQ?!!)
We rechecked this result over and over and even the classic finger test proves its accuracy – the latest Twin Frozr IV cooler has crazy levels of efficiencies
1.35v Voltage Load Temps: 70 degrees celsius (Very Good!)
At this level of voltage on our other cards, we would have gone deaf from the screaming fans and still wouldn't get such a good result. It is worth noting that at this point the card is pushing out over 300W++ of heat so this result exhibits the Twin Frozr IV's voodooish cooling performance
|CPU:||Intel Core i7-3960X @ 4817MHz 1.52v|
|Motherboard:||ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (Bios 1103)|
|Memory:||G.Skills ARES 2133Mhz DDR3 16GB Kit|
|Power Supply:||Antec True Quattro Pro 1200W|
|Storage:||Intel 520 series 250GB SSD|
|Graphics Cards / Drivers:|
8.960 beta drivers:
MSI R7970 Lightning 3GB
AMD Reference Radeon HD 7970 3GB
Sapphire Radeon HD 7950 OC Edition
296.10 WHQL drivers:
ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II 1.5GB