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MSI GEFORCE GTX 680 Lightning 2GB Video Card Review

By: Shawn Baker | NVIDIA GeForce GPU in Video Cards | Posted: Jun 26, 2012 4:37 am
TweakTown Rating: 95%Manufacturer: MSI

The Card




Having a look at the video card we can see that big Twin Frozr IV cooler we saw on the HD 7970 Lightning following the same black and yellow color scheme. The first thing I thought of, though, when we pulled the card out of the box was just how good it would look against the upcoming ASRock Z77 OC Formula which follows a similar black and yellow design.


Having a look at the cooler you can see we've got two 10cm fans and behind them you can see the massive heatsink that takes up most of the card. We can also see the copper heatpipes coming out the bottom and the shroud itself shoots over the top and slightly off the end.






Moving around we've two 8-pin PCIe power connectors at the top which is up on the normal 6-pin / 8-pin PCIe setup we see on standard GTX 680s. In the middle you can see the V-Check points which give you the ability to check out the voltage. And closer to the front there are two SLI connectors.




Looking at the connectivity side of things we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors in the form of a DVI-D and DVI-I connector. Along with that we've also got a full size HDMI port and DisplayPort connector to round off the connectivity side. You can also see a small vent to let hot air escape.




Finally before we move onto the specification and overclocking side of things you can see on the back we've got the GPU Reactor, which is something we've started to see on MSI cards. It's said to bring with it increased overclocking ability due to providing higher power capacity and the removal of power noise.


It's a cool feature, but it feels like something that is going to benefit LN2 overclockers more than people who are using the standard air cooler, based on our testing results so far. All we know, though, is in the end Lightning based cards tend to overclock better than the competition.





Being a Lightning based video card means that it of course comes overclocked out of the box and looking below you can see the default core has been pushed to 1111MHz or 1176MHz via Boost. This is up from the default 1006MHz or 1059MHz via Boost. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that hasn't changed with the same default 6008MHz QDR.




With the card being part of the Lightning series, though, we're more interested in the overclocking side of things and looking above you can see we pushed the core to 1200MHz or 1265MHz via Boost while we managed to push the 2GB of GDDR5 up to 6800MHz QDR.


This is a really strong overclock, especially when compared to the reference clocks. We'll find out what exactly this does for performance in just a moment, but first we need to quickly cover our testbed and the cards that will be in our graphs today.

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