There's no such thing as the perfect product because something can always be improved upon. The problem is I think what would make the MSI HD 5870 Lightning better than what it already is doesn't exist at the moment.
It's what MSI haven't done that makes this card so great. MSI haven't just slapped an overclock on a reference card; MSI haven't just slapped a new cooler on a reference card and MSI haven't just given us Afterburner on a reference card. MSI have thought outside the box again to make one of the most impressive cards on the market.
We've only touched the surface with this card. If you water cooled the card or strapped something more extreme to it you'll be able to push the voltage even further and achieve an even higher core clock.
At $499.99 over at Newegg the card is going to set you back $80 more than the standard HD 5870. But this isn't just another HD 5870; this isn't a reference card with a bit of fancy software, or a fancy cooler. This is a fully redesigned HD 5870 that MSI have clearly put their heart and soul into.
Extreme overclockers can't even put a price on what the MSI HD 5870 Lightning is able to do when it comes to voltage adjustments. As for regular users there's still huge value there because you'll find yourself hopefully achieving 1GHz or more on the core. On the other hand, if you're not going to use the software you'd be better off with the standard HD 5870 from MSI or from most other companies.
MSI aren't here to play with the big boys, they are one of the big boys. MSI have shown us that they're a serious competitor in the VGA market with this video card. MSI have aimed for perfection and the only reason they don't have it is because there's no such thing as the perfect product. The MSI HD 5870 Lightning is about as close as we've seen a video card get to it, though, with the only other product being the HD 5770 HAWK which is also from MSI.
If overclocking doesn't interest you, pass GO and do not collect $200. If it does, though, and you're happy to pay the premium for one of the highest quality cards we've had the pleasure of using, you'll be happy, oooh so happy!
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