Announcing the MSI R7970 Lightning Graphics Card with Unlocked Digital Power Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 16, 2012 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: MSI R7970 Lightning, msi, factory overclocked

MSI is taking full advantage of AMD's permission to wander away from the reference design with their brand new 7970 Lightning Edition.  Instead of putting a stable overclock on it and selling it at a mark up, they've completely redesigned the power architecture as well as replacing the cooler with one that is quieter and more effective.  From the proprietary "GPU Reactor" which increases the amount of current available for your GPU to a significantly higher maximum setting on Power Tune, this card is for the serious overclocker who is experienced with over-volting.

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Leading international graphics card and mainboard maker MSI today announced the release of the MSI R7970 Lightning, the new heir to the throne of Lightning graphics cards. Equipped with AMD's 28 nm Radeon HD 7970 GPU, the MSI R7970 Lightning features an all-new Unlocked Digital Power Architecture that incorporates an Unlocked BIOS, Digital PWM Controller, and Enhanced Power Design to boost overclocking potential to new heights and make overclocking easier than ever. In an industry first, the proprietary "GPU Reactor" power supply module reduces power supply noise and also boosts overclocking stability as well. To keep this beast cool, the MSI R7970 Lightning utilizes the latest Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design equipped with Dust Removal Technology. The dual 10 cm fans with Propeller Blade Technology generate massive airflow for fast heat dissipation while remaining whisper silent. The two form-in-one heat sinks improve cooling for memory and the power supply module as well ensure structural integrity. The R7970 Lightning uses Military Class III components which have passed rigorous third-party testing to meet MIL-STD-810G standards, guaranteeing the card's stability and reliability under actual use conditions. Moreover, the "3X3 OC Kits" are designed to simplify overclocking, which makes it easier than ever for enthusiasts to fine-tune the performance of their graphics cards. For both professional users and gaming enthusiasts alike, the R7970 Lightning's ability to simultaneously run 6 displays makes it the natural choice!

Unlocked Digital Power Provides Record-Breaking Potential
The R7970 Lightning boasts an all-new Unlocked Digital Power architecture that provides record breaking potential. The key components involved include the Unlocked BIOS, digital PWM chipset, and an improved power supply design. Unlocked BIOS removes CCC overclocking limits, Power Tune limit is increased by 180%, and OCP limits are relaxed to completely unleash the graphics card's overclocking potential. The digital power supply signal provides voltage signals that are more stable and accurate than conventional analog designs, meaning the voltage can be adjusted more quickly and precisely during overclocking. The improved power supply design provides double the power of the reference board and consists of 17 power supply parameters, dual 8-pin power supply connectors, and the Lightning Power Layer (LPL) design. For true overclocking enthusiasts, the R7970 Lightning with Unlocked Digital Power is simply a dream come true!

GPU Reactor for the Ultimate Power Core
The MSI R7970 Lightning implements the innovative "GPU Reactor" power supply module which, when installed on the back of the GPU, increases current volume by 88%, reduces power supply noise by 13%, and improves overall overclocking stability. MSI GPU Reactor is easy to install and has built in safety features that make it easy even for ordinary users to install and remove.

Extreme Cooling Design for Better Cooling and Structural Strength
The MSI R7970 Lightning incorporates the next-generation Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design. The striking design of the new Twin Frozr IV comes from the two large 10cm PWM fans with Propeller Blade Technology that cool the advanced cooling body of the Twin Frozr IV. Under the aluminum Twin Frozr IV body, you can find a high density fin grid array that provides heat dissipating area that is fed by heat-pipes featuring MSI's SuperPipe technology. MSI has also incorporated its exclusive Dust Removal Technology. Fans are running in reverse for 30 seconds after booting to remove dust from the heat sinks and keep the graphics card's cooling performance running at optimum levels. The R7970 Lightning also boasts two form-in-one heat sinks. One heat sink is located on the front of the graphics card to cool the memory and power supply modules, while the second heat sink on the back of the card helps to protect and reinforce the card structure. This extreme cooling design provides the R7970 Lightning with the best cooling performance and the most reliable structure.

Premium Materials and User-friendly Overclocking Design
MSI has always led the industry thanks to its unyielding commitment to product stability and quality and made sure that the R7970 Lightning was equipped with Military Class III components certified to MIL-STD-810G military standards in seven different categories by a third-party laboratory. Be it tantalum core Hi-c CAP around the graphics card, the CopperMOS cooling design, the form-in-one Golden SSC, or as the card's moisture/rust-proof Dark Solid CAP, all work together to provide the MSI R7970 Lightning with the best possible stability.

For overclocking enthusiasts, MSI has developed the 3X3 OC Kits: V-Check Points enable GPU, Memory and VDDCI voltage to be monitored while Triple Overvoltage and Triple Temperature Sensor enable overclockers to quickly fine-tune and track the performance of their graphics card using enthusiasts favorite Afterburner overclocking software. The 4 Mini DisplayPorts and 2 DVI ports on the R7970 Lightning enable AMD Eyefinity technology to drive 6 screen output with just one card, providing just the kind of performance industry professionals and gaming enthusiasts need.

Source: MSI

Sapphire overclocks the HD7950

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 20, 2012 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, hd 7950, hd 7950 OC, factory overclocked, cape verde, amd

There are a lot of custom Cape Verde boards to chose from, with varying clock speeds and custom coolers which is great for those who like something unique out of the box.  X-bit Labs received an overclocked HD7950 board from Sapphire which sports both a 100MHz overclock on the GPU and a custom low noise cooler.  The back of the card is fairly normal, with a dual-link DVI-I port, one HDMI 1.4a connector and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports available.  Overclocking potential on the card was impressive, with a final 1.15 volts allowing stable performance at 1100MHz GPU and 7360 MHz effective on the memory and a temperature of 74C at full load thanks to the cooler.  Even better is the fact that the cooler operates relatively quietly even at that high overclock.

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"Today we are going to review a graphics accelerator with phenomenally efficient cooling system with very low noise, high performance and superb overclocking potential, which even some Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards could wish for."

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Source: X-bit Labs

Meet the new mid-range; AMD's HD7770 and HD7750

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2012 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: xfx, southern islands, hd 7770, hd 7750, cape verde, amd, radeon, factory overclocked

The days of the HD 6870 are numbered as today we see the arrival of the new sub-$200 GPUs from AMD, the HD7770 and HD7750.  The stock HD 7770 run at 1GHz with 640 stream processors, 40 texture units and 16 ROPs and the 1GB of memory rides on a 128-bit bus at 4.5GHz.  The stock HD7750 has a slower core, running at 800MHz and a lower stream processor count of 512 as well as only 32 Texture units, with the memory subsystem unchanged from the HD7770.

Those who were disappointed by the lack of custom coolers and factory overclocks at the release of the HD 7970 will be happy to see the variety of HD7700 series cards.  For instance [H]ard|OCP reviewed the XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked which has a custom cooler, a 120MHz overclock on the core and a 300Mhz on the memory, effectively 5.2GHz.  [H] proved that there is more memory headroom available in this card, adding another 1.1GHz without needing to adjust the voltage.  For those who are willing to risk upping the power there might be even more speed possible from this card. 

You can also catch Ryan's review of the same card as well as an MSI version and a stock HD 7750.

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"Today marks the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 7700 series of GPUs in the sub-$200 bracket. We've got a retail XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked video card just itching to show us what it can do. Will this Radeon HD 7770 based video card hold up to the likes of the Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti? You may be surprised."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte's non-standard HD 7970

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2012 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: hd7970, gigabyte, factory overclocked

The most noticeable difference on Gigabyte's HD 7970 is the custom cooler, with three fans and a nice shroud, which should keep this card cool and quiet.  This is a good thing as the card sports a moderate overclock of 1000MHz on the core though the memory remains at stock speeds.  It doesn't need to stay at that speed however, [H]ard|OCP got the card up to 1305MHz for the core and 1605MHz for the memory, 6.42GHz effective.  That overclock is quite noticeable in games over both the GTX580 and the stock HD7970 though the performance comes at a price as the card pulls over 100W more than the stock card at full load.  For those drooling over the performance remember that these cards are intended to power multiple screens; [H] tested at 2560 x 1600 and if your setup is not of that resolution or higher you are tossing away money at a product you will not be using to its full potential.

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"GIGABYTE has a custom cooled and overclocked version of the Radeon HD 7970. We examine how well GIGABYTE's Windforce 3X cooling technology allows us to overclock this next generation video card. Find out how this GIGABYTE GV-R797OC-3GD monster compares to a GeForce GTX 580, a Radeon HD 6970, and reference HD 7970."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

A best of three HD 6950 battle royal

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 26, 2011 - 05:36 PM |
Tagged: hd 6950, amd, gigabyte, msi, xfx, factory overclocked

Heading to The Tech Report will bring you to a round up of HD6950's including Gigabyte's GV-R695OC-1GD, the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III 1G/OC and the XFX HD-695X-ZDDC.  The GPU clocks range from 830MHz to 870MHz and RAM ranging from the stock 1250MHz to 1350MHz, with the MSI and XFX offering their own overclocking tools and Gigabyte relying on the Catalyst Control Center for further overclocking.  MSI's offering came out looking very good, with the best performance and the best power efficiency and thanks to a mail in rebate it picks up the best ratings in the round up.  It is a close race though with the cards performing very similarly, as you can see in the review.

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"We've gathered three souped-up Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards from Gigabyte, MSI, and XFX. Which one delivers the most bang for your buck?"

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Trim the memory and crank the voltages; MSI's R6950 Twin Frozr III PE

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 17, 2011 - 12:09 PM |
Tagged: R6950 1GB Twin Frozr III Power Edition, msi, hd6950, factory overclocked

The MSI R6950 1GB Twin Frozr III Power Edition is a bit of an odd duck.  While it comes with MSI's custom cooler, the Twin Frozr III, and a 50MHz overclock on both the RAM and GPU, it sports only 1GB of GDDR5 which is half of what a reference card possesses.  On the other hand MSI has given you direct control over the voltages being fed to the GPU, memory and VDDCI, overclockers might find themselves more interested than they might have thought at first.  [H]ard|OCP compared it to a reference 2GB HD6950 and only saw issues with the smaller memory size when enabling anti-aliasing on games which did not support FXAA or MLAA, apart from that there was little real impact from having 1GB of RAM.  On the other hand the overclocking showed a lot of potential, though [H] did feel that they could have pushed the card further with updated MSI Afterburner overclocking software.

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"Today we will be looking at a 1GB Radeon HD 6950 from MSI sporting its latest cooling innovation, the Twin Frozr III. Will 1GB of VRAM constrain the Twin Frozr III, or will Triple Over-Voltage support give it enough boost to soar past a 2GB HD 6950 and GeForce GTX 570?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

A platinum monolith, ASUS' overclocked GTX 580

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 18, 2011 - 11:14 AM |
Tagged: asus, GTX 580 Platinum, factory overclocked

The ASUS GTX580 Platinum is an overclockers dream, from the hand picked cards and components to the Mod Zone area of the PCB which has solder points that allow you to turn off overcurrent and overheating safeguards and turn up the voltage.  You don't have to be an extreme overclocker to enjoy the card, right out of the box the GPU runs 44MHz above stock at 816MHz and [H]ard|OCP hit 891MHz without changing any settings but the frequency ... they also passed 1GHz with some extra voltage.  At $529 it does cost you quite a bit to purchase but it surpasses even the MSI Lightning Xtreme Edition that so impressed Josh.  As you can see below, it is also larger.

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"ASUS has launched the new ROG MATRIX GTX580 Platinum video card that can be described as the pinnacle enthusiast GeForce GTX 580 GPU. Will all of this customization and new features mean you get fast video card? If this overclock doesn't impress you we suggest trading in your computer and finding a new hobby."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI's Cyclonicly powerful HD6850

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2011 - 05:41 PM |
Tagged: msi, cyclone, factory overclocked, hd6850

While here at PC Perspective we have been busy with Hawks and Lightning, OCIA went for a Cyclone.  The particular whirlwind in this case being the MSI R6850 Cyclone PE/OC, which as the name implies sports a custom cooling solution and a factory overclock.  The custom cooler really makes this card stand out, instead of the full shroud we are used to seeing there is a 90mm PWM-controlled 9-blade fan with the card its self being fully exposed.  The overclock, 85 MHz on the GPU taking it to 860MHz and the memory bumped 100MHz to 1.1GHz, 4.4GHz effective, which OCIA made even more impressive by overvolting the card with MSI's Afterburner software.  To MSI's credit, the card is priced similarly to other HD6850s unlike many other factory overclocked cards which carry a premium price tag.  If you have less than $200 to spend on a GPU, this card might be for you.

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"Discrete computer graphics are one of the toughest markets to keep current with. New graphics cores are released on a pretty frequent basis from both ATI and NVIDIA and with naming schemes that change nearly as often, it can be difficult to determine where each card stands in relation to others in the same price range. Today we will be taking a look at the MSI R6850 PE / OC graphics card, a mid-range GPU that was launched at the end of last year. Codenamed Barts, this GPU is built on a 40nm process with support for DirectX 11 & Open GL 4.0. Other notable features include HDMI 1.4a & DisplayPort 1.2 support as well as AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology and CrossfireX support."

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Powercolor's take on the ultimate HD6970

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 24, 2011 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: powercolor, amd, HD6970, factory overclocked

Head over to [H]ard|OCP to meet the PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 6970 with a 60MHz bump on the CPU to 940MHz and memory of 1425MHz which is a 50MHz bump, along with an improved cooler.  They also added some extras to the back of the card, a dual-link DVI-I port, a single-link DVI-I port, one HDMI port, and two mini-DisplayPort jacks which will make setting up EyeFinity a breeze.  The boosted speed helped in overcoming the GTX 570  in almost every single benchmark, pity that the same can be said of the price as it costs more than NVIDIA's card and doesn't surpass it in performance enough to justify the increased cost.

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"PowerColor's highest-end Radeon HD 6970 is on our test bench today. The PCS+ Radeon HD 6970 has a respectable out-of-the-box overclock, a custom cooler, and a free game, but does it offer value for its price premium?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Big, blue and overclocked, the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 3, 2011 - 01:25 PM |
Tagged: factory overclocked, his, hd6870

The HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X is a card you will recognize in a lineup as not many manufactures have been making their GPU shroud out of translucent blue plastic.  Benchmark Reviews reports that the "IceQ X cooler, which performs better than it looks", should not discourage you from picking up this card.  HIS placed extra temperature sensors on the card to help enthusiasts push the already overclocked card even further, which is very possible as long as you change the fan profiles which are not aggressive enough on default settings.

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"HIS first introduced its IceQ coolers in 2003 to its Radeon 9800PRO series of video cards, eight years later HIS return with the IceQ X cooler, which thankfully performs much better than it looks. In this review the IceQ X cooler is strapped onto a HIS HD6870 Turbo X video card which comes factory overclocked at 975MHz GPU and 1150MHz Memory. Pushing clocks this far on a factory overclocked video card takes some guts, but HIS know that they have nothing to worry about, their IceQ cooler is up to the job. Benchmark Reviews aims to provide you with an unbiased review of the HIS HD6870 IceQ X Turbo X and report back our findings, keeping you informed on the latest technologies available on the market today."

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