Review Index:

MSI GTX 670 Power Edition: When Reference is Not Reference

Author: Josh Walrath
Manufacturer: MSI

Initial Impressions

MSI usually makes a really nice package for its video cards. With that said, the boxes are a bit big–probably larger than they really need to be. This makes shipping a little tougher and more expensive, but the cards are very well protected. Also, there is plenty of room for all those extras that we often crave. The contents in this case are pretty minimal as compared to what we have seen in the past from MSI. If there was one thing I did miss, it was the bevy of games that MSI used to include in its bundles. These might not have been the very latest and greatest, but chances were that users did not have all of them already. I think I still have two copies of Sacrifice which were bundled with the GeForce 4 4600 Ti cards, for example.

View Full Size

The board itself is well built. We have seen the very short GTX 670 PCBs on some reference boards, but this is obviously not one of them. I am guessing that it is essentially the higher TDP enabled GTX 680 PCB that MSI uses on its higher-end products. It still only has the two six-pin PCI-E connections, but that should be plenty of power for the GK104 chip resting on the board. Quality components are used throughout the design, and the actual manufacturing looks to be pretty solid. In the last few years I have only had one MSI board really fry on me, and that looked like it was due to a very small manufacturing defect (some random solder blob shorted it out). It will happen from time to time, but my overall experience with MSI boards has been good.

The cooler is just plain big. It is packed nicely with aluminum fins, 5 heatpipes (two of which are the 8mm “Superpipes”), and the nickel-plated copper heatspreader. The two 80 mm fans can push a lot of air through the unit. The board also features the “Form-in-one” heatspread which also acts as a stiffening unit for the PCB. The back of the board does not currently feature the “GPU-Reactor” that is present on the Lightning and HAWK, however.

View Full Size

2GB of memory should be good enough for most users. It might be a bit troublesome compared to a higher-clocked HD 7950 in multiple screen resolutions, but anything up to 1920x1200 should not be adversely affected by having “only” 2GB of memory onboard. My first hard drive was a 20 MB unit and the entire system came with 720KB of memory. Heck, my first ATA-33 drive was a whopping 4GB.  The 1.6 GB drive that it replaced was PIO Mode 5 (PIO represent!).

Internal documentation is limited, but the box pretty much says it all anyway. Lift up the flap and the user is greeted by the salient features of the card. Everything is explained nicely there with some pleasant looking graphs that outline why this card is better than the rest. The box comes with a four pin molex to PCI-E power connector, some basic documentation, a driver CD, and the nearly ubiquitous DVI to VGA adapter. This is again a fairly weak bundle, but I do not expect to see any active DP to DVI adapters anytime soon from any manufacturer.

August 24, 2012 | 08:29 AM - Posted by mdevos (not verified)

I was wondering how much of a performance gain is seen versus a reference GTX670. Unfortunately, this is not included in the graphs of the game testing. Too bad..

I don't understand the last part of the article, where you mention that MSI's default overclock, is actually causing crashes when put into benchmark / torture test. This would mean MSI's overclock is unstable?

August 27, 2012 | 10:34 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

You are looking at most at about a 4% increase over a stock clocked GTX 670.  The differences are not all that great.  You are primarily getting this card for the cooling and unique design/voltage control rather than it being a much, much faster product than the stock GTX 670.

The last part actually reads, "At no time was this card unstable during benchmarking and torture tests..." So basically it was perfectly stable even with the boost speed up to 1170+ right out of the box.  The card performed without issue.

August 29, 2012 | 10:49 AM - Posted by Davin (not verified)

Hey Josh, I wanted to say thanks for the article. I have been on the fence about upgrading from my old xfx radeon 5870. I had been hunting the various 670/680 cards and the amd 7970 and so forth. After all is said and done I got this card yesterday for $395 with borderlands 2 and mafia 2. I have overclocked it an have the core at 1170 mhz and my boost has been anywhere from 1250-1350mhz. This is of course with a voltage bump and such. Anyway, thank you again for a quality article that has resulted in a massive performance bump for me. Temperatures are still low even under load and even at 50% fan the card is still nice and quiet. :D

September 1, 2012 | 05:59 PM - Posted by Gambler (not verified)

Josh, I was comparing the BF3 at 2560x1600 Ultra results in your article to those from the Galaxy GTX 670 GC 4GB article. Your results for the MSI GTX 670 PE card are 48fps min and 63.8fps avg. The results for the Galaxy card at the same settings are 26fps min, 41fps avg and 66fps max.

Can the BF3 results for the MSI and Galaxy cards from the two articles be compared? If so, why pay more for the extra 2GB of memory on Galaxy card? Any chance the results for the MSI card are avg and max?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote><p><br>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.