MSI R7970 Lightning Graphics Card: A Quick Review

Published on March 18th, 2012

MSI has officially released its latest graphics card based on AMD’s 28nm Radeon HD 7970 GPU, the MSI R7970 Lightning. The MSI R7970 Lightning features an all new unlocked Digital Power Architecture capable on unlocking BIOS, military class III components, an Enhanced Power Design to make overclocking better and faster, and a Digital PWM Controller. Before we proceed with this quick MSI R7970 Lightning Review, let’s take a look at the R7970 specs first.


MSI R7970 Lightning Specifications

Graphics Engine: ATI Radeon HD 7970 (Tahiti)
Technology: 28nm
Interface: PCI Express x16 3.0
ROPs: 32
Shader units: 2048 Unified
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Size: 3072 MB
Memory Interface: 384 bits
Core Clock Speed: 1070 MHz
Memory Clock Speed: 5600 MHz
DVI Output: 2
Mini DisplayPort: 4
HDCP Support: Yes
HDMI Support: Yes
Display Output (Max Resolution): 2560×1600
RAMDACs: 400
DirectX Version Support: 11
OpenGL Version Support: 4.2
CrossFire Support: Yes
Card Dimension: 305×135.5x40mm

Looking at the front, the MSI R7970 Lightning is cooled by Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design that features Dust Removal Technology. It has a two 10cm PWM fans with Propeller Blade technology. The Dust Removal Technology works by running the two 10cm fans in reverse for 30 seconds after booting to remove dust from the heat sink. But the down side is, it will blows the dust in other parts of your computer instead. One solution to prevent this is to have a good exhaust fan close to the MSI R7970 Lightning.

Beneath the Twin Frozr IV aluminum body is a two form-in-one heat sink. The first heatsink located on the front of the MSI R7970 Lightning cools the memory modules and power supply modules. The other heatsink located at the back of the GPU reinforces and protects the card structure.

The MSI R7970 Lightning features the GPU Reactor power supply module, which can be installed easily. This GPU Reactor reduces power supply noise by 13% and increase current volume by 88%, thus increasing the overall overclocking stability.

The MSI R7970 Lightning is built with Military Class III components such as; the tantalum core Hi-c CAP, CopperMOS, Golden SSC, moist and rust proof Dark Solic CAP, are all MIL-STD-810G certified military standards.

To give you a better picture of the MSI R7970 Lightning’s feature, watch this video below:

At the port area of MSI R76970 Lightning, we see two DVI ports and four mini-DisplayPorts. MSI has removed the HDMI and DisplayPorts for this GPU. The multiple output ports found at the back of the card enables us to make use of the standard 5760×1080 Eyefinity resolution and enhance configurations like three 2560×1600 plus two 1920×1200.

On the Side of the MSI R7970 Lightning, you can see two 8-pin connectors which will power the GPU. On the middle side, there are three small plugs or the 3×3 OC Kits, these are voltage read points which enables the user to check the Memory, VDDCI, MOSFET and GPU temperature and can all be configured using the MSI Afterburner software.

The MSI R7970 Lightning could reach temperatures from 31°C up to 72°C depending on the current configuration (stock or OC) and the system’s (or the PC’s) cooling performance itself. MSI R7970 Lightning power consumption could go from 130W uo tp 308W, also depending on the current configuration (stock or OC and idle or load). Overclocking the MSI R7970 Lightning could reach from 1070MHz/1400MHz (stock) up to 1200+MHZ/1500+MHz (OC) values. Note: these figures are based from Harwareheaven’s review of R7970.

Generally speaking, the MSI R7970 Lightning is a great and promising graphics card. It’s even better than NVIDIA’s GTX 580, but I dont’ think it could match NVIDIA’s latest GPU, GTX 680.

As of the moment, I don’t have information yet regarding the MSI R7970 Lightning price, neither its release date or availability. You may want to check out other Radeon HD 7970 graphics card below.


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