Looking at the card, it's very similar to the HD 6970 Lightning we just looked at with the Twin Frozr III cooler taking up the majority of the card. It's a very mean looking cooler with a copper base, a number of heat pipes and that dual fan setup.
Looking across the top, we've got some familiar sightings; power is provided by two 8-Pin PCI-E power connectors and in the center we've got three little ports that are used to measure voltage for the Core, AUX and Memory. This is done via the connectors included in the box and a volt meter.
Closer to the front of the card we've got our two SLI connectors and just next to that we've got a switch similar to what we've seen on higher end AMD cards and the Lightning HD 6970 we just looked at. While the HD 6970 switch helped unlock the OC potential of the card by removing the limit on core and memory….
….on the GTX 580 the switch allows use of a different BIOS which comes in handy if you're going to do extreme overclocking with the help of LN2. What can happen is when a card moves into the negative temperature range, it can think it's overheating and shut down or lower the clocks. The "LN2 BIOS" helps prevent this. On the other side of the fence, if something goes wrong while flashing your BIOS you've also got a backup which will help restore the original BIOS.
On the connectivity side of things we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a single HDMI and DisplayPort connector.
The MSI GTX 580 Lightning of course comes overclocked out of the box and we see it move from a 772MHz Core which offers a 1544MHz Shader clock to a 832MHz core and 1664MHz Shader clock. MSI has also upped the 1536MB of GDDR5 from 4008MHz QDR too 4200MHz QDR.
The Lightning series is all about overclocking, though, and we pushed the core up almost another 100MHz to 930MHz. That in turn pushed the Shader clock to 1860MHz. From the reference 772MHz / 1544MHz setup this is a really nice overclock.
As for the memory, we pushed that another 400MHz QDR which resulted in a memory speed of 4600MHz QDR. This is a very strong overclock and should yield some great performance when compared to the reference GTX 580.
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