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MSI GEFORCE GTX 670 Power Edition 2GB Overclocked Video Card Review

MSI expand the Power Edition by introducing the NVIDIA based GTX 670 to the family. Let's check it out and see what it can do when overclocked.

@TweakTown
Published Tue, Jun 19 2012 12:36 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:01 PM CST
Rating: 94%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 31 IMAGES

I know I've said it before, but I really love MSI video cards as the company offers us such an awesome range that really stands out against the competition. And let's be honest, the video card competition is extremely tough with some fantastic models from a lot of different companies.

Outside of the standard models that we see from MSI, we've got three series that have stood out for some time now. The HAWK series has a focus on making mid-range models from both AMD and NVIDIA strand out while the higher end Lightning series focus on the top single GPU models from both sides.

The Power Edition, though, sits in between those cards and really helps fill out the gaps. Recently we've seen the HD 7770 and HD 7850 get the treatment and we've found ourselves impressed both times. Today, though, it's time for an NVIDIA based model to get that Power Edition treatment in the form of the GEFORCE GTX 670.

As always, though, there are a number of things we've got to do before we get into the performance side of things and the first is to check out the package and bundle of the card. Once we've done that we'll move onto the video card itself to see just what the GTX 670 Power Edition looks like.

From there we'll move into the specification side of things and because we're dealing with a Power Edition card we'll be shifting our focus to the overclocking side of things so here we'll see just what kind of clocks we could get out of the model. Finally we'll quickly look over our testbed before we get into the fun stuff and see just what we can get out of this video card here today.

Package

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Looking at the box which opens up we can see a lot of the main features that the Power Edition card brings to the table with Triple Over-Voltage by MSI Afterburner being one of the big ones.

Along with that we've got Military Class III components, an enhanced PWM design and of course the Twin Frozr IV cooler, which is a cooler that we've always been a huge fan off including the previous Twin Frozr iterations.

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Inside the package there is not a lot to speak about. We've got the normal line up of paperwork alongside a driver CD. We've also got a DVI to VGA connector and two dual Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connectors included in the bundle.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Pulling the video card out of the box there's nothing all that different to it compared to other similar MSI products. We've seen the Twin Frozr IV cooler for a while now and looking above you can really only see the cooler and a bit of the PCB across the bottom.

Of course the dual fan cooler is the highlight and you can see the massive heatsink that sits behind the fans along with a number of heatpipes coming out the bottom to help keep the GTX 670 core as cool as possible.

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Moving around a little bit we've got two 6-pin PCIe power connectors at the back while closer to the front we've got two SLI connectors which give us the ability to run up to three of these video cards in SLI.

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Checking out the I/O department you can see we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors - one in the form of DVI-D and the other DVI-I. Along with that we've got a HDMI port and a full sized DisplayPort connector.

Specifications

As we mentioned earlier we have intensions to overclock the MSI GTX 670 Power Edition ourselves, but out of the box, we've already got an overclock that sees the core come in at 1020MHz, which is a nice increase on the stock 915MHz clock. With Boost, we see the clock move from 980MHz to a fairly impressive 1098MHz. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that hasn't changed coming in at 6008MHz QDR.

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Looking above, though, you can see we've pushed the core higher again. We've got 1090MHz here which with boost bumps it up to 1168MHz while the memory has been pushed up to 6584MHz QDR.

This is a nice increase over the reference numbers and we should see some excellent performance.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

Since there's no change when it comes to the testbed side of things we'll simply get straight into the video cards we'll be using in our graphs today.

The two models we want to compare the overclocked MSI GTX 670 to is the reference clocked GTX 670 alongside the reference clocked GTX 680.

Along with those two cards, though, we've got a 4GB GTX 680 along with a pre-overclocked GTX 680 from Gainward. To round it all off we've also included the HD 7950 and HD 7970 in the graphs.

Let's get started!

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Kicking off with 3DMark 11 we can see some great performance out of the overclocked MSI GTX 670 Power Edition here with it coming out ahead of everything, but the pre-overclocked GTX 680 from Gainward.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Heaven paints almost an identical picture as 3DMark on the previous page coming out ahead of most our setups here. In this case, though, we do see it pretty much even with the 4GB GTX 680 at 1920 x 1200.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx

Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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Getting into some games we start with H.A.W.X. 2 and we can see that the overclocked MSI GTX 670 Power Edition manages to sneak ahead of everything else here.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/

Buy It Here

Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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Mafia II is also looking extremely strong with the pre-overclocked GTX 680 from Gainward being the only video card here that manages to offer slightly better performance.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Getting into something more intensive we can see that the overclocked MSI GTX 670 Power Edition here manages to give us playable FPS across the board, even at 2560 x 1600.

Compared to the other video cards here we're behind the overclocked GTX 680 and 4GB version at 2560 x 1600 only. Every other time the MSI GTX 670 is ahead of the competition.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/

Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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Alien vs. Predator is one of those games where we see the GTX 600 series fall back a little. Like the overclocked GTX 680, though, we see the MSI GTX 670 Power Edition manages to just break that 60 FPS average at the highest resolution which is the FPS level we consider to offer a solid gaming experience.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.0.2

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Looking at Just Cause 2 numbers you can see we're pretty much lined up with the GTX 680 OC from Gainward which means we manage to sneak ahead of all our other setups.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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Metro 2033 numbers look good, but you can see at 2560 x 1600, we fall just shy of that 60 FPS number that we're looking for to provide a solid gaming experience. Overall the numbers are similar to the 4GB GTX 680 in this case.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.dirt3game.com/

DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009's hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

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Dirt 3 numbers also look really strong and the only video card that manages to sneak ahead again is the pre-overclocked GTX 680 from Gainward making the MSI Power Edition video card continue to look extremely strong.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/

Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Far Cry 2 numbers as you'd expect are really strong across the board and you can see we're sitting between that 4GB GTX 680 and the pre-overclocked GTX 680.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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With AA and AF on we can see that we've got some strong numbers out of Mafia II at 1920 x 1200, but fall shy of that 60 FPS number at the 2560 x 1600 resolution like all of the other video cards here.

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Unlike Mafia II we can see across the board the only video card that is able to break the 60 FPS mark is the HD 7970 at 1920 x 1200. Every other result from our line up sees we're under that 60 FPS number that we want to be at for a smooth gaming experience.

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Far Cry 2 numbers with AA and AF on are strong and we manage to get over that 30 FPS minimum at 2560 x 1600 with our overclocked GTX 670 Power Edition video card here from MSI.

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Like Mafia II we can see some strong performance at 1920 x 1200 here, but when we move to 2560 x 1600, like all the other video cards, we're below that 60 FPS average that we want to be at for our game to be considered playable.

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Finally we finish off with Just Cause 2 and we see some great performance at 1920 x 1200, but again at 2560 x 1600, we fall below that 60 FPS average, like all of the other video cards here. Mind you we're only 2 FPS from it which lines us up with the pre-overclocked GTX 680 again.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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Overclocked we can still see our temperature numbers are pretty good. Our idle numbers are strong while load numbers see we're around the same level as the 4GB GTX 680 JetStream offering from Palit.

Sound Test

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).

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Noise levels look strong with the TwinFrozr cooler, even when overclocked quite high.

Power Consumption Test

Using our 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 SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal 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.

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Power draw numbers like most models in this generation are extremely impressive as we see the overclocked GTX 670 from MSI fall below 400 watts at load.

Final Thoughts

In typical fashion we find ourselves extremely impressed with what MSI is offering us with the Power Edition version of the NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 670. It's overclocking ability and cooler help separate it from a lot of other video cards that try to stand out these days. One of the cool things, though, about the Power Edition here today is that outside of its overclocking ability, the clocks that MSI offer out of the box are one of the strongest on the market, which we have seen so far.

If you're not interested in doing the overclocking yourself and you just want something that is going to be faster than a reference video card out of the box, this is a really good option thanks to that 1019MHz core that comes out ahead of so many other brands. Combined with the Twin Frozr cooler, you've got yourself a really strong video card.

On the topic of the cooler, as you'd expect, the latest iteration of the Twin Frozr cooler, the Twin Frozr IV, is a strong option. With the latest line up of GPUs running cooler than ever, these high performance cooling options from companies do a fantastic job of keeping our temperatures at reasonable levels, even when more voltage is pumped.

As for pricing, you're going to pay slightly more than the $399.99 price tag we see for a regular GTX 670. Instead you're looking at $429.99 in this case and it's not a price that we have an issue justifying. The quality of the Power Edition model combined with the Twin Frozr cooler means that this is a really well valued product that can easily be justified sitting slightly more expensive than lower clocked offerings.

Like most video cards these days, we see that the weakest area for the MSI GTX 670 Power Edition is the bundle. Also like most companies, these days, though, MSI really let the video card do all the talking and it does a good job of doing that.

If you're looking for a GTX 670 that's going to offer fantastic performance out of the box thanks to a strong overclock this is a fantastic option. If you're looking for one that also is going to offer strong overclocking headroom thanks to it being part of the Power Edition series, this is again a fantastic option for you to consider.

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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.

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