Subject: Graphics Cards | August 3, 2012 - 05:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: MSI GTX680 Lightning, LN2 BIOS, factory overclocked, gtx 680, MSI Afterburner, overvolting
[H]ard|OCP recently tested the highly overclocked MSI GTX 680 Lightning, but because of the new release of the MSI Afterburner 2.2.3 tool they decided to retest to see if the new Afterburner will raise the ceiling on their maximum overclock. This new version allows voltage control of the GPU, the memory, and the PLL which ought to help push the card to higher frequencies. That did certainly turn out to be the case as they saw noticeable increases to all of the clocks on the card and more importantly translated into improvements in game play. When they used the LN2 BIOS the improvements were even more impressive. Remember that volt modding will shorten the lifespan of the card, but what a life it will have while it survives.
"Today we are revisiting the MSI GeForce GTX 680 Lightning video card. with its long-promised GPU and RAM voltage tweaking Afterburner software. We test both the stock BIOS and "LN2 BIOS" to find the best possible gaming experience the Lightning has to offer, and determine if the performance justifies the price."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- EVGA GeForce GTX 680 Classified 4GB with EVBOT @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte GTX 680 Super Over Clock 2GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 690 SLI @ Hardware.info
- ASUS GeForce GTX 670 DirectCU II TOP@Bjorn3D
- NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 660 Ti 2GB @ Tweaktown
- KFA GeForce GTX 680 LTD OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- ARCTIC Accelero Hybrid AIO Video Card Cooler @ Tweaktown
- Arctic Accelero Twin Turbo II VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Arctic Accelero Xtreme III VGA Cooler Review @ Hardware Secrets
- A New Dawn DX11 Demo Compared to the Old Dawn @ [H]ard|OCP
- XFX Radeon HD7850 2GB Black Edition Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Club3D HD 7850 Royal Queen 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Super OverClock @ TechSpot
- HIS Radeon HD 7970 X IceQ X2 Turbo 3GB Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte HD 7970 Super OC 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- Sapphire TOXIC 7970 GHz 6GB Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
Will it Strike Again?
It can now be claimed that we are arguably in our 4th generation of Lightning products from MSI. It can also be claimed that the 3rd generation of products really put that brand on the mainstream map. The R6970 and N580GTX (and XE version) set new standards for enthusiast grade graphics cards. Outstanding construction, unique pcb design, high quality (and quantity) of components, and a good eye for overall price have all been hallmarks of these cards. These were honestly some of my favorite video cards of all time. Call me biased, but I think when looking through other reviews those writers felt much the same. MSI certainly hit a couple of homeruns with their three Lightning offerings of 2011.
Time does not stand still. Resting on laurels is always the surest way to lose out to more aggressive competitors. It is now 2012 and AMD has already launched the latest generation of HD 7000 chips, with the top end being the HD 7970. This particular product was launched in late December, but cards were not available until January 9th of 2012. We are now at the end of March where we see a decent volume of products on the shelves, as well as some of the first of the non-reference designs hitting the streets. Currently Asus has its DirectCU II based 7970, but now we finally get to see the Lightning treatment.
MSI has not sat upon their laurels it seems. They are taking an aggressive approach to the new Lightning series of cards, and they implement quite a few unique features that have not been seen on any other product before. Now the question is did they pull it off? Throwing more features at something does not necessarily equal success. The increase in complexity of a design combined with other unknowns with the new features could make it a failure. Just look at the R5870 Lightning for proof. That particular card tread new ground, but did so in a way that did not adequately differentiate itself from reference HD 5870 designs. So what is new and how does it run? Let us dig in!