Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts
Coming in at $769.99 at the time of writing, the MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3GB isn't cheap by any standard. Only two GTX 780s come in more expensive than it, and both are from EVGA with water blocks. At the end of the day, though, performance talks and at the moment the MSI GTX 780 Lightning is a fantastic video card. Against the more expensive TITAN, we'd choose it every time.
The real problem lays in the coming weeks as we see what AMD bring to the table with its new R9 290X. Both the price of the new model and the performance are going to be so important. Along with that, the overclocking aspect of the card is also going to be important, which is something that we haven't looked at on any of the R series video cards yet.
Outside of the actual performance numbers, though, we've got a really well built card, which is exactly what you would expect not just from a Lightning based card, but just an MSI one in general. MSI really do put together some amazing video cards, and this is one is no exception.
No matter what, though, the MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3GB is going to continue to have a place for people. If you want to go down the path of an NVIDIA card, and want something special, this is going to be the kind of video card you buy - especially if you don't want to spend the money associated with the TITAN.
The MSI GTX 780 Lightning, while catering for the most extreme overclocker, is also an excellent option for people who have no intention of ever removing the heatsink. It seems a little silly to not overclock this model with the help of Afterburner, because it's really what it's designed to do. The simple fact, though, is that MSI offer us an awesome overclock out of the box, with a massive boost to the core, which brings with it a really strong bump in performance.
If you don't ever overclock the card, you can still feel happy with the fact that you're buying what is probably one of the best quality GTX 780s on the market that is going to perform extremely well out of the box. Testing the model, though, does certainly wet our taste buds as we wait to see what AMD is going to bring to the table over the next several weeks. Stay tuned!