MSI GTX 670 Power Edition: When Reference is Not Reference
System Setup and Notes
I am still using the overclocked Phenom II X6 1100T, and at 3.7 GHz it is still faster than the FX-8150. I will continue using this processor for a while, at least until Vishera-based FX processors hit the streets. A stock clocked X6 1100T is in the same overall performance range as the Intel Core i7 940, but it is pretty seriously outperformed by the i5 2500 (Sandy Bridge) series and beyond. Still, I do think that it is good to see these video cards reviewed on a platform that is simply not covered by other sites. Not everyone has a high end desktop, so it is a valid comparison to view these products on what is most definitely a midrange platform.
I tested the GTX 670 against the MSI R7870 HAWK (overclocked out of the box to 1100 MHz) and the MSI R7950 OC (again overclocked out of the box to 880 MHz). The R7870 retails in the $319 range (though it could receive a price cut here pretty shortly), while the R7950 is not far off at $329. This makes the GTX 670 around $100 more expensive before rebate. The results that you are about to see make this a very interesting comparison.
I tested these boards in a closed case. I am not entirely fond of testing thermals and power in an open test bed, as it is not entirely representative of what the average user will utilize. I use the Enermax Fulmo GT, which is a full size ATX case with an obscene amount of fans. Cooling will not be an issue with this particular product, but it is honestly closer to the realities of most applications.
The full test system configuration is as follows:
- Phenom II X6 1100T @ 3.7 GHz
- Asus SABERTOOTH 990FX Motherboard
- 2 x 4GB GSKill DDR-3 1866 Modules @ 1600 MHz 126.96.36.199 timings
- Samsung 120 GB SSD
- WD Caviar Black 1TB HD
- Lite-On BD Drive
- Corsair AX1200 Power Supply
- Enermax Fulmo GT Case
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit
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