I didn't expect much in the way of packaging from the GTX 980 Ti Lightning, but boy was I wrong. The box is around one-third bigger than most GTX 980 Ti boxes, but the inside packaging will blow you away. This is a premium product, through and through.
The front of the box teases the usual fighter jet that has donned previous Lightning edition cards from MSI, with the top right hand corner showing that this is an 'OC series' product. In the bottom right, we see that this is a GTX 980 Ti, duh - and it features various NVIDIA technologies: GameStream, GameWorks and G-Sync as well as DirectX 12 with Windows 10.
On the back, we have quite the slew of details. Starting with the 'Mystic Lights' which lets GTX 980 Ti Lightning users completely customize the lights on the top of the card - which are yellow by default. This is a great touch. We also find out the various cooling technologies that MSI has deployed onto the GTX 980 Ti Lightning.
Inside, we have a swish box that the GTX 980 Ti Lightning and all of its bits and pieces are found in.
Once again, with the drawer at the bottom pulled out. In here, are the PCIe power connectors, and the LN2 part.
Awesome packaging, right?!
This is the 'extra heat sink for LN2' that MSI includes in the package. Only super-enthusiasts using liquid nitrogen cooling will make use of this.
You also get a certificate of quality & stability from MSI in the box.
I'm going to come right out and say it: the MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning is one of the, if not, the best looking video card on the market right now. It is simply gorgeous. The front of the card has yellow accents that just scream 'beauty', while the yellow accents also double as the letters 'OC' for OC series. It's not something you notice right away, but once you look at it twice, you see it.
The front of the card, with the triple-fan cooler and 'OC' yellow accents. We have 'Lightning' branding at the top, with MSI branding at the bottom.
MSI has used a backplate on the GTX 980 Ti Lightning, with a few lightning bolts to the left and right of a fighter jet on the backplate.
The MSI GeForce GTX 980 Ti Lightning requires 2 x 8-pin + 1 x 6-pin PCIe power connectors.
One thing I was hoping to see was MSI sticking with the usual display connectivity of the Maxwell cards from NVIDIA, where we are not disappointed. We have 3 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI 2.0 and 1 x DVI out.
As we said before, this is a card for enthusiasts - with some connectivity for LN2 and voltage regulation/monitoring.
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