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MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning 2GB Overclocked Video Card Review

MSI GeForce GTX 770 Lightning 2GB Overclocked Video Card Review

The MSI Lightning video card series makes a return with the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770. Let's see just what it can do - we're expecting good things.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Thu, Jul 18 2013 11:03 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 97%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

MSI's Lightning series is simply put one of my most favorite series when it comes to the video card market. MSI have always done a fantastic job with it and I always remember testing cards based under the Lightning series. Of course one of the best things about the Lightning series is that they're based on the highest end GPU options available.

Today the GTX 700 series which has been graced with the new Twin Frozr Gaming Series name finally sees its first Lightning based model. While we'd normally expect it to be the GTX 780, it's the model just below that, the GTX 770. The good news is, though, just the other day, we got a teaser video for a Lightning based GTX 780, which will hit us towards the end of this month or early next.

Let's get into the new MSI GTX 770 Lightning 2GB to see just what MSI are offering with the latest model we're testing. So, let's buckle down and start with the package before moving on from there.

Package

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Being a Lightning based card, we're dealing with quite a large box. As usual, though, the front of the box doesn't give us a ton of information. You can see the model and some of the main specifications in regards to the GTX 770. Once we open up the box, though, we are greeted with a ton of information covering some of the core features.

On the right hand side you can see the main Military Class III features are outlined including Copper MOSFETs, Highly Conductive Capacitors, Golden Solid State Choke and Dark Solid Capacitors, which all help make for a higher quality card that should overclock stronger than others.

Other features include the Unlocked Digital Power, which give us the ability to over volt the Core, Aux and Memory. We've also got the GPU Reactor which is designed to provide a higher current of capacity, hence offering better power support and overclocking stability. The other big feature is the 3x3 OC Kit which is the V-Check Points, Triple Overvoltage we just spoke about and Triple Temp Monitor.

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Looking across the bottom we get our first look at the card. We also have some of the major features that cover the Twin Frozr IV cooler including Dual 10cm Fans, High Density Fins, Nickel-Plated Copper base, Propeller Blade Technology and Super-Pipe Technology. All which make up the Twin Frozr IV, a cooler that has impressed us many times already with this generation. Turning over the box, you can see we get some of the main features in regards to the actual NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770.

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Being a Lightning card, the bundle is larger than other video cards. You can see the Military Class III certificate, manual and driver CD. You can see we've also got a DVI to VGA connector, two 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power connectors, an extra-long SLI cable, which is handy for these large coolers and finally three V-Check cables.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Taking our first look you can see that large Twin Frozr IV cooler with two 10cm fans sitting on top, as well as a massive heat sink underneath and a bunch of heat pipes coming out behind the shroud. Being a Lightning model also means we've got a black and yellow color scheme, which is of course different to the black and red theme, which we've been seeing from the new Gaming Series.

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While we don't normally bother looking at the back of video cards these days, the inclusion of the GPU Reactor on the Lightning series means that it's a bit more interesting. You can also see we've got a shroud over the entire back. This makes for a really great looking product that both looks and feels fantastic.

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Normally we see the V-Check points for MSI cards at the top, but you can see here that the three points are sitting at the back. These are used to measure the voltage of the GPU, Memory and PLL directly. This is one of those features that most people probably won't use as it's aimed for hardcore overclockers who use LN2 and need to keep track of the voltage levels in these key areas at all times.

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MSI has upgraded from the 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connector setup to a dual 8-pin PCIe power connector setup. Moving over to the front you can see two SLI connectors. Due to the large cooler, you can see how a normal SLI connector wouldn't work, so in the event you want to run two or three of these bad boys together, it's great knowing that a longer flexible SLI cable has been included in the bundle for you.

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When it comes to the I/O, it's very standard from a connection point of view. You can see we've got two Dual-Link DVI ports - one DVI-D the other DVI-I. Along with them we've got a HDMI and DisplayPort connector. The big stand out here, though, is the gold plated connectors - something that we've seen on Lightning cards for a while now.

Specifications

Like most companies, MSI has chosen to leave the 2GB of GDDR5 alone, you can see below it carries the default 7012MHz QDR clock. As for the core, though, MSI has given that a nice bump. That's moved from 1046MHz to 1150MHz. These clocks are then pushed even higher via boost with the reference card coming in at 1085MHz and the MSI one being boosted all the way up to 1202MHz.

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Of course Lightning cards are all about overclocking and that's exactly what we intend to do today. You can see we managed to push the core up to 1215MHz, which is boosted even higher to a strong 1267MHz via Boost. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that came in at 7480MHz QDR.

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.

Alongside the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning which we've clocked to 1215MHz on the core and 7480MHz QDR on the 2GB of memory, we've also got the reference GTX 770 2GB and the MSI GTX 770 2GB Twin Frozr Gaming Series video card. This will give us an idea of how the overclocked Lightning card performs against both a reference GTX 770 2GB and a pre-overclocked card in the form of another MSI offering.

Along with these cards, we've also got the reference GTX 780 3GB and the MSI GTX 780 Twin Frozr Gaming that we overclocked to 1020MHz on the core and 6600MHz QDR on the 3GB of GDDR5. We finish the NVIDIA side of things off with the EVGA GTX TITAN SuperClocked.

We've also got a couple of AMD cards with the two usual high-end culprits showing up. We've got the PowerColor PCS HD 7950 2GB, which is overclocked to over 1100MHz on the core, along with the reference AMD HD 7970 GHz Edition to finally around off our collection today.

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.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

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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Over the lower clocked GTX 770s, you can see the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning really offers a strong performance boost. We're not quite at GTX 780 levels, but you can see in the performance preset, the numbers are closing in.

Let's continue on to see how we go.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

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

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark

Buy It Here

Fire Strike is our new showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today. Fire Strike will only be available in the Windows editions of 3DMark initially.

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At the moment we don't have a ton of cards to compare against when it comes to 3DMark Fire Strike, but looking above, you can see we see strong gains over the MSI GTX 770 2GB Twin Frozr Gaming card, with gains of roughly 10% being seen at both presets.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

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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Again we see some very strong gains coming from the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning against the lower clocked offerings. We're not quite at GTX 780 levels, but you can see we're not that far behind at all.

Benchmarks - Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.sega.com/?t=EnglishUSA

Product Homepage: http://www.pso2.com/us/html/index.html

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 and experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven, free-to-play multiplayer online RPG from SEGA. Take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets. Join fellow adventurers and fight against the legions of darkness to banish them from the galaxy.

Score explanation: Less than 2000: Please adjust your game settings because the processing load is quite heavy.

2000 through 5000: The game runs fine at the setting, if you have room, you can adjust some settings.

5001+: The game works wonderfully at this setting.

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PSO2 always sees great gains from overclocking and you can see here we've got enough of a boost to put the Lightning ahead of the reference GTX 780 3GB.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

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 a little more intensive, we can see some fantastic gains. We're sitting extremely close to the GTX 780 when we're overclocked with the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning actually scoring the same as its big brother at 2560 x 1600.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

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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Just Cause 2 sees some great numbers and you can see MSI Lightning sits ahead of the GTX 780 3GB at all resolutions. This is exactly what we like to see when we start overclocking a video card.

Benchmarks - F1 2012

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

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

In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany's famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar.

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At the lower resolutions you can see the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning bounces off the FPS wall that is present under F1 2012. At the highest resolution you can see a bit of a bump which puts us just a few FPS behind the GTX 780 3GB. Overall, though, we see very impressive numbers at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light

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://enterthemetro.com/ /

Metro: Last Light takes place one year after the events of Metro 2033, proceeding from the ending where Artyom chose to call down the missile strike on the Dark Ones. The Rangers have since occupied the D6 military facility, with Artyom having become an official member of the group. Khan, the nomad mystic, arrives at D6 to inform Artyom and the Rangers that a single Dark One survived the missile strike. Khan believes the Dark One is the key to humanity's future, and wants to make peace with it, while Ranger leader Colonel Miller wants to kill the creature due to its potential threat. Miller sends Artyom to the surface with a mission to kill the Dark One; he is accompanied by Anna, Miller's sarcastic daughter and the Rangers' best sniper.

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Like Fire Strike, our pool of video cards is quite limited at the moment when it comes to Metro Last Light.

You can see a good boost over the MSI GTX 770 2GB Twin Frozr Gaming card, though, with some more breathing room at 1680 x 1050. 1920 x 1200 also sees a nice bump, but you can see we still fall just a few FPS shy of the 60 FPS number we want for smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - Dirt Showdown

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

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This is exactly what we like to see when overclocking. Under Dirt Showdown you can see the overclock manages to push our 2560 x 1600 FPS number to an even 60, resulting in a solid experience.

Looking above you can see the other GTX 770s score 52 and 54 FPS respectively at the same resolution.

Benchmarks - Nexuiz

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.alientrap.org/

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

Nexuiz is an Arena First Person shooter coming soon to consoles. Nexuiz is fast paced with extremely competitive game play. IllFonic brings Alientrap Software's Nexuiz to next-gen gaming consoles around the world while staying true to the game play refined over the years through development. IllFonic introduces a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated. Nexuiz for consoles is powered by CryENGINE 3.

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While we do see a little bump in performance across the board, the numbers continue to be way too low for the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning to be playable here.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://sniperelitev2.com/us/age.html

Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

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Sniper Elite V2 numbers across the board look good and you can see nice gains and just overall very strong performance. For the most part you can see the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning is almost on top of the GTX 780 3GB at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://eu.square-enix.com/en

Product Homepage: http://www.sleepingdogs.net/

The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.

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Sleeping Dogs numbers are great, and compared to the reference GTX 780 3GB, you can see that the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning manages to outperform it at all resolutions.

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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Looking above you can see some decent gains in Far Cry 2 in some areas, but as you'd expect, performance is just very strong on all these high-end video cards anyway.

Please Note: We still include Far Cry 2 in our benchmarks (we know it's old) as a way for our readers to get a general representation of how older games perform on new hardware.

Benchmarks - Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.ioi.dk/

Product Homepage: http://hitman.com/

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth game developed by I/O Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on I/O Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise. The game was released on 20 November 2012, which is in the 47th week of the year (in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47).

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At 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050, you can see we're hitting the FPS wall. While we don't see it at 2560 x 1600, you can see a nice performance increase and just very strong performance overall with a solid 63 FPS average being seen.

Benchmarks - Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

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

Product Homepage: http://www.tombraider.com/us/base/agegate?refer=184&

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows to universal critical acclaim.

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Tomb Raider sees a nice boost in performance and at 1920 x 1200, you can see the overclock we get with the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning pushes our average into the 60 FPS realm, while the other GTX 770's are sitting in the 50 FPS range still.

Benchmarks - BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://irrationalgames.com/

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

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game and the third installment in the BioShock series. Previously known as "Project Icarus", it is being developed by Irrational Games and was released worldwide on the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013. BioShock Infinite is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games but features similar gameplay concepts and themes.

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Performance at all resolutions under BioShock Infinite is good and you can see we've got a bit more breathing room at 1920 x 1200, which is always appreciated. While we do get out of the 40 FPS realm at the highest resolution, though, you can see the 52 FPS average is still not quite enough, but pretty close.

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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Some nice gains against the reference GTX 770 2GB are seen, but as you'd expect, the performance numbers are overall very good with some very playable numbers being seen.

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While we do see about a 10% increase over the MSI GTX 770 2GB Twin Frozr Gaming, a 36 FPS and 22 FPS average is just way too low to make Metro Last Light playable with these settings.

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Firing up Just Cause 2 we again see the benefit of overclocking as at 2560 x 1600 the other GTX 770s sit in the 50 FPS range, while the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning when overclocked manages to score a strong 65 FPS.

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While Sleeping Dogs sees some nice performance gains, the numbers overall are still too low with 54 FPS being seen at 1920 x 1200, and much lower being seen at 2560 x 1600.

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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With extra voltage running through the Core, Aux and Memory and then overclocked, the load temperature of 68c is extremely impressive.

Compared to the reference card coming in at 80c, this is an impressive feat for the Twin Frozr IV, which continues to not disappoint us at all.

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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Looking above you can see that noise levels are pretty standard here with a low 60 dB number coming in at load.

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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Even with all that power and extra voltage, you can see that overclocked the load number is a few watts lower than the overclocked reference card.

We do see the idle number jump up by a decent 26 watts, though.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

Coming in at $449.99 at the time of writing, the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning is the most expensive 2GB version of the GTX 770. This doesn't come as much of a surprise, though, considering the amount of work that goes into creating the MSI Lightning models. Compared to other options, though, the next cheapest is $409.99 after rebate and comes in the form of the EVGA GTX 770 2GB SuperClocked with ACX cooling. That's a great video card and we found ourselves extremely impressed with it when we reviewed it.

If you head over to Newegg, you'll see a number of GTX 770's that come in at $449.99 with the most expensive offerings costing $519.99. It's important to remember, though, that these are 4GB models. So, at the cost of the Lightning model, you can grab yourself a 4GB version. While we can't really comment on how a 4GB model compares to a 2GB model due to the fact we haven't tested one yet, we can with confidence say that you should see very little difference, if previous testing of larger memory video cards is anything to go by. We're not talking about a 1GB card moving to 2GB, instead we're talking about 2GB, which is already a very decent amount of memory, and moving to 4GB.

Would we choose this video card over a 4GB version? In a heartbeat. It's really not something that we need to think about at all. If you're happy to spend mid-$400 on a GTX 770, we'd much prefer to go down the path of this Lightning card from MSI verses a 4GB standard version from another company.

Stepping away from the pricing side of things and getting into the actual performance, it's the fastest GTX 770 that we've tested to date, and with the highest core clock. We actually managed to get a 3DMark 11 benchmark run with the core as high as 1250MHz, but it wasn't stable anywhere really outside of 3DMark, though, so it wasn't a number we could use. If you're doing some benchmarking, though, you're bound to have a ton of fun. Crank the fan speed up to 100%, throw on the air conditioners or open up the windows if its winter, and you're going to get some great performance.

Features and build quality wise, the MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning has it. It is really packed to the top with quality components. It's that reason it is the most expensive 2GB GTX 770 currently available and also the reason why it's also the highest clocking one we've tested to date.

The bundle isn't huge, but you do get everything needed to get up and running with no problem. The inclusion of the longer SLI cable is handy if you're going to be running two or three of these cards together. The V-Check Point cables, while very cool, are something that most consumers will more than likely not use.

While a little on the pricier side, the cost is easy to justify. You're not simply paying more money for a strong out of the box overclock and a fancy cooler. You're paying extra money for a video card that is going to perform stronger than the competition because of the high quality components MSI has used. The MSI GTX 770 2GB Lightning is the clear benchmark for what creating a near perfect video card should look like.

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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.

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.

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