MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card

MSI have got their hands on the GTX 280 and decide to give it a bump in core and memory speed. We see how it goes.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Aug 7 2008 11:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:27 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card




While the GTX 280 might be the most powerful single cored graphics card on the market at the moment, it didn't seem to be greeted with welcomed arms. A high price tag and small to no gains over its older dual GPU brother, the 9800 GX2 meant that people didn't get all that excited about it.

Today we're going to take the time to see what MSI have done to the card. We know they've decided to overclock the card, but we wonder if they've done anything else with it to let it stand out from the pack.

While we haven't fallen head over heels for the GTX 280, there's no denying that it's a very fast single core card and it's difficult not to be impressed by the performance the single GPU puts out. Prices have dropped and availability has risen; now might just be the time to pick up a GTX 280.

The Package




There isn't too much going on with the front of the box here. Across the top we see that it is of course an MSI card, while the top right corner gives us some NVIDIA logos. Across the bottom we have the "Game with MSI" logo along with another sticker that mentions the card is overclocked.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


The picture on the box is some kind of Orc while to the right of that we have the model which is of course the GTX 280. Below that we have the mention of 1GB of GDDR3, support for 3-way SLI and support for PhysX.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Turning the box over, we go into some more detail of the features that the GTX 280 offers. We also have a bit of a blurb that gives us a run down on the card. We see mention that we can get both audio and video through the DVI port with a HDMI convertor.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Moving inside the box, in the cable department we have a component/s-video out dongle, s-video cable, DVI to VGA connector, DVI to HDMI connector and a loop back cable so you can get audio through the HDMI connector.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


As far as paper work goes, we have two quick user guides along with a driver CD that also includes a few exclusive MSI utilities which you may or may not choose to use. All in all, there isn't anything out of the ordinary in the package department with the DVI to HDMI adapter probably being the only real stand-out inclusion.

The Card




With the package out of the way, it's time to move onto the card. Out of the box it looks like every other GTX 280 with the reference cooler managing to take up the whole card.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


We can see that the only thing MSI has done to the card is place its own sticker on it. We have a branded sticker of the fan along with another sticker that shows what we saw on the front of the box along with the brand and model. We also again see the "Game with MSI" logo at the bottom.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Turning the card over, there isn't a whole lot going on. We have some vents to let the hot air out, but apart from that it's a sea of black.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


As you would expect, looking around the card we have the two power connectors located at the top of the card; one being a 6-pin and the other an 8-pin. Next to these connectors we have another port for the loop back cable included in the box so that you can get sound through the HDMI convertor included.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Continuing across the top of the card, we have our two SLI connectors which of course give us support for up to three cards if your budget stretches that far. Don't forget, though, you of course need a motherboard that supports Tri SLI to use them.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Getting to the I/O department, we have two Dual Link DVI connectors and a TV-Out port. We also have some vents for the hot air to escape and a light up the top that lets us know that the card is up and running.


Specifications

As we have mentioned before, the card is of course an overclocked one like we saw mentioned on the front of the box. Instead of the stock 600MHz core, MSI have chosen to bump this to 650MHz. The 1GB of GDDR3 memory has moved from 2200MHz DDR to 2300MHz DDR.

It's not a huge overclock, but should give us a little boost in performance compared to a card based on stock clocks.

Test System Setup and 3DMark06


Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3GHz (333MHz x 9)
Cooling: Corsair Nautilus500 (Supplied by Corsair) with Arctic Cooling MX-2 Thermal Compound (Supplied by Arctic Cooling)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE X48-DQ6 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 2 X 1GB Kingston PC6400 DDR-2 3-3-3-10 (KHX6400D2ULK2/2G) (Supplied by Kingston)
Hard Disk(s): Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA-2 7200.10 (Supplied by Seagate)
Operating System: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows Vista SP1
Drivers: ForceWare 177.41 (GTX Series), ForceWare 175.19 (9 Series)


Today we will have a look at the MSI GTX 280 OC against a stock clocked GTX 280 along with a 9800 GX2 and 9800 GTX OC.


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Straight away we can see a nice little bump from the overclocked GTX 280 from MSI.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Vantage


3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


We again see the MSI GTX 280 get a little bump in performance over the stock clocked model.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea


PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage: http://en.akella.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.pt-boats.net/





PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Under PT Boats we again see a little bump in performance. The GTX 280 from MSI also manages to beat out the dual GPU 9800 GX2.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Under CINEBENCH we can see that the overclock doesn't do anything for performance; it actually sits a little behind the stock clocked offering.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com





World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Under WIC we can see a slight performance boost across the board with it outperforming the dual GPU 9800 GX2 again.

Benchmarks - Crysis


Crysis

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.2.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom time demo
Developer Homepage: http://www.crytek.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.ea.com/crysis/
Buy It Here





From the makers of Far Cry, Crysis offers FPS fans the best-looking, most highly-evolving gameplay, requiring the player to use adaptive tactics and total customization of weapons and armor to survive in dynamic, hostile environments including Zero-G.

Real time editing, bump mapping, dynamic lights, network system, integrated physics system, shaders, shadows and a dynamic music system are just some of the state of-the-art features the CryENGINE 2 offers. The CryENGINE 2 comes complete with all of its internal tools and also includes the CryENGINE 2 Sandbox world editing system.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Under Crysis we can see that at the lowest resolution the 9800 GX2 actually sneaks ahead of the GTX 280. As we move up in resolution, though, the OC GTX 280 sneaks ahead.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


We again see at the lower resolution the 9800 GX2 sneaks ahead of everyone. As we climb up in resolution, though, the GX2 falls back and the GTX 280 OC comes out in front.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF


High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.


3DMark06

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


With AA and AF on under 3DMark06, we can see the 9800 GX2 just sneaks ahead of the overclocked GTX OC from MSI. We can also see a nice little bump in performance against the stock clocked model.


World In Conflict

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


With AA and AF on under WIC, we can see a good performance increase over the standard clocked model.

Benchmarks - 3DMark06 - XP


3DMark06

Version and / or Patch Used: Build 110
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmark06/
Buy It Here





3DMark06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.

3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


We again see the overclocked GTX 280 from MSI just sitting behind the 9800 GX2 and offers a little bump in performance against the stock clocked GTX 280.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10 - XP


CINEBENCH R10

Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
Developer Homepage: http://www.maxon.net/
Product Homepage: http://www.maxon.net




CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Under CINEBENCH we can see that all four cards sit quite close to each other.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict - XP


World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.5
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.massive.se
Product Homepage: http://www.worldinconflict.com




World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10) and the Xbox 360.

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


In the minimum department we can see that the cards all sit quite close to each other. When we look at the averages, though, we see a different picture with the MSI GTX 280 OC coming out ahead.

Benchmarks - Unreal Tournament 3 - XP


Unreal Tournament 3

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used:
Developer Homepage: http://www.epicgames.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.unrealtournament3.com/
Buy It Here





Following the formulae that made Unreal Tournament so great the third installment to the series has hit us recently with better than ever graphics. The games uses the latest Unreal Engine which like most modern day games when maxed out puts the pressure on our lineup of graphics cards.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Under UT3 we see some good gains from the MSI GTX 280 OC. At most resolutions it comes out ahead with it only falling behind at 1920 x 1200 against the 9800 GX2.

Temperature and Sound Tests


Temperature Tests



With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Temperatures between the single GPU cards are less then 1c. The dual GPU 9800 GX2 sits considerably warmer.


Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Noise levels between the top three cards are very similar with the 9800 GTX making the most noise.

Power Consumption Tests






Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.


MSI GeForce GTX 280 OC Graphics Card


Between the two GTX 280s, we can see the OC model from MSI uses a few more watts at both idle and load.

Final Thoughts




MSI's decision to offer an out of the box overclock straight away is great. The extra MHz on the core and memory give us a nice little bump in performance, making it constantly faster than the stock model and faster than the older 9800 GX2 in most situations.

While it would have been nice to have seen a full version game in the package for such an expensive card, it isn't the end of the world. We get everything we need to get up and running along with the inclusion of a DVI to HDMI adapter.

The thing that we really have to think about is if we looked at this card a few weeks ago we wouldn't have liked it as much as today, for the plain fact that it would have been too expensive.

Today, though, paints a different picture. With aggressive price drops and the same fast performance, the GTX 280 looks like a better option for people who are willing to stretch their budget and don't want to go a dual-card solution.

If you find yourself looking for a GTX 280 that packs a bit more punch out of the box over the standard GTX 280, the MSI looks to be a good option with an aggressive price tag and great out of the box performance.

What do TweakTown awards and ratings mean? Click!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription

Latest News

View More News

Latest Reviews

View More Reviews

Latest Articles

View More Articles