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MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning 3GB Overclocked Video Card Review

MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning 3GB Overclocked Video Card Review

We step away from the new R Series video cards from AMD for a moment and check out the GTX 780 Lightning from MSI.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Mon, Oct 21 2013 8:01 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 38 IMAGES

While most of our coverage regarding video cards lately has been focused around the release of the new R series from AMD, we wanted to take a step back and test a video card that popped up recently from MSI. The GTX 780 Lightning 3GB was a model that we were excited to look at, and today we're finally getting the chance to see just what it's capable of.

Before we start to see the new AMD R9 290 and 290X video cards arrive, it seemed like now was the perfect time to test the card out. The GTX 780 is really going to have to prove itself in the coming weeks, as not only do we see companies send reference versions of the new R9 290 and R9 290X, but also custom non-reference designs that are bound to follow in the weeks and months after.

With the model being part of the Lightning series, it means one of the main things we want to focus on today is the overclocking side of things. Before we do that, though, we need to check out what's going on with the package and then move onto a closer look at the card.

Let's not delay any longer and just get into it and see how NVIDIA's top GTX 700 series based card is performing today as we prepare for an onslaught of models from AMD.

Package

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Normally when it comes to the Lightning boxes, we expect something that opens up and gives us an absolute wealth of information. Looking above, though, you can see we have just a standard box setup here. The front gives us the model and mention that it's part of the Lightning series. Turning the box over, you can see some of the main features that are offered.

Those main features include the Tri Frozr cooling solution, Pure Digital PWM Control, SuperPipe Technology, Dust Removal Technology, along with Military Class 4 Components which include DrMOS 4, Copper Mosfet, Hi-C CAP, New Super Ferrite Choke and Dark Solid Capacitors.

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Opening the box up, you can see the packaging is a little fancier than usual. We've got the inside box that opens up giving us a look at the card and below that you can see we have a draw that holds the accessories. This reminds us of one of the very first HAWK cards we saw many years ago, which had a box with this kind of design.

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Moving into the package, you can see all the usual suspects including the Military Class 4 Certificate, Quick user Guide, extra-long SLI bridge, two 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power connectors, DVI to VGA connector and three V-Check point cables. We'll talk about using these when we take a closer look at the card.

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Outside of that, you can see we've got an extra bracket. If you're going to be using LN2 cooling on the card, you'll have to remove the cooler and the bracket for the card that cools the memory and PWM.

Because of that, MSI has included another bracket that can be installed with your LN2 pots that will help cool those two areas. On the back we have thermal tape installed to help transfer the heat off both the memory and PWM area.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Taking a look at the card, you can see we've got a massive cooler on hand which comes as no surprise. We've got three fans, and you can see, we've got two larger ones on the outside, while a smaller one is seen in the middle. Behind it, we've got a massive heatsink and a number of heat pipes that run throughout the card.

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If we turn the card over, you can see a plate that covers almost the entire card with just a small portion of the PCB being seen. Just above our PCIe slot, you can see the GPU Reactor that is something MSI introduced a while ago. The extra PCB directly behind the GPU brings with it cleaner power. For the most part, we have always felt this is something that comes in handy for more extreme overclockers.

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As we start to make our way around the card, you can see at the back of the card we have three V-Check points. In conjunction with the cables we saw in the bundle, you're able to get the voltage levels of multiple areas of the card. Again, this is something that extreme overclockers will make more use of than regular overclockers.

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Continuing to work our way around the card, you can see that power comes in the form of two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Staying across the top and moving closer to the front, you can see two SLI bridges that give the ability to run up to four of these cards together in SLI.

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Finishing up with the I/O side of things, you can see we've got two Dual-Link DVI connectors - one being DVI-D, and the other being DVI-I. Along with the two DVI ports, you can see we've also got a HDMI and DisplayPort connector.

Specifications

Being a Lightning video card means that we're dealing with an overclock out of the box. Our of the box, a reference GTX 780 carries with it a core clock of 863MHz, which is then boosted to 900MHz. Looking below, you can see that MSI has pushed the base clock to 980MHz and then pushed the Boost clock to a strong 1033MHz. As for the 3GB of GDDR5, like we see most companies do, MSI has chosen to leave that alone.

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Being a Lighting card, we ultimately want to see what happens when we overclock the card ourselves. Looking above, you can see we pushed the core up to 1020MHz, which is then boosted even higher to 1073MHz. As for the 3GB of GDDR5, we managed to also push that from the default 6008MHz QDR to 6540MHz 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.

While we're still a week away from the launch of the highest-end AMD offerings, we've still got a number of cards that we're going to be comparing our Lightning GTX 780 against today.

On the NVIDIA side of things, we've got the lower-end MSI GTX 660 HAWK, Colorful GTX 760 iGAME 2GB OC and the GTX 780's younger brother, the reference GTX 770 2GB.

As for the AMD side, we've got the new reference R9 270X, along with the older HD 7950 2GB overclocked to over 1100MHz. Along with that, we've also got the reference HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, and finally the new Sapphire R9 280X 3GB TOXIC.

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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At the moment, the GTX 780 continues to be an extremely strong video card. Starting off with 3DMark 11, you can see the Lightning overclocked really has no problem leaving its mark here.

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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We're slowly building the list of cards in Fire Strike and we're looking forward to seeing how the new AMD cards handle it.

For now, though, you can see the overclocked GTX 780 Lightning from MSI has a good jump on everything else.

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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Tessellation has always been a strong area for NVIDIA, and you can see here that the overclocked GTX 780 Lightning continues to put out some impressive numbers.

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 performance is huge - you're really not going to run into any problems playing this game at any setting here.

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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Lost Planet 2 numbers are fantastic across the board. You can see we've got extremely playable numbers at all resolutions, including those who are looking for a solid 120 FPS for that 120Hz screen they bought.

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 like Lost Planet 2, you can see that performance is fantastic across the board, and we're ahead of all other setups here.

Again, though, we're really looking forward to seeing how the new AMD video cards handle our benchmark line up in the coming weeks.

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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Firing up F1 2012, you can see we hit an FPS wall at around the 135 FPS mark.

While we're never happy to hit an FPS wall, we're not too worried about it here since it does come at such a high number, a number that is even good for those with 120Hz monitors.

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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Metro Last Light is one of our more recent benchmarks, and you can see a lot of cards struggle on it. Our overclocked MSI GTX 780 Lightning manages to give some impressive numbers at both 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050.

Only at 2560 x 1600 do we see the card fall under the 60 FPS number we're always on the hunt for to provide a solid gaming experience.

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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Dirt Showdown looks good, but this is a game that's always favored AMD offerings.

While you can see the MSI GTX 780 Lightning scores quite close to the much cheaper Sapphire R9 280X 3GB TOXIC, the main fact is that we've got playable FPS at all numbers, including the higher 2560 x 1600 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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Nexuiz sees a strong number at 1680 x 1050, and at 1920 x 1200 we must say the 59 FPS average is impressive.

Moving to 2560 x 1600, the FPS is just too low with an average of just 32.

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 are strong at all resolutions coming out ahead of everything here, and more importantly, just offering fantastic playable numbers at every resolution.

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 seems to hit a wall at around the 135 FPS number with NVIDIA cards and because of that you can see it falls behind the cheaper R9 280X 3GB TOXIC from Sapphire at the lower resolutions.

At the highest resolution, though, when the FPS wall doesn't come into play, you can see it manages to come out ahead by a strong 10%. Most importantly, though, is the fact we've got playable FPS 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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As you'd expect, we've got strong numbers across the board here - let's move onto Hitman Absolution to see what's going on there.

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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You can see we're hitting a bit of an FPS wall here again. The good news is it's at least at a good level.

A 60 FPS minimum and averages in the 70s and 80s is perfectly fine.

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 some great performance at both 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050.

Even for the high-end GTX 780 Lightning, which is overclocked, you can see that 2560 x 1600 is a struggle with an average of just 53 FPS.

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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Looking at BioShock Infinite, you can see some great numbers and 2560 x 1600 manages to sneak in a 61 FPS average, which is exactly what we like to see.

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 turned on, of course this high-end single GPU video card has no problems dealing Far Cry 2.

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As strong as we've seen the overclocked GTX 780 Lighting from MSI perform so far, you can see as soon as we crank up the AA and AF under Metro Last Light, the card really comes to its knees at both resolutions.

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Turning on AA and AF under Just Cause 2 isn't a problem for our overclocked MSI GTX 780 Lightning, with some strong FPS being seen at both resolutions.

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Finishing up with Sleeping Dogs, you can see that we manage to sneak in 62 FPS at 1920 x 1200 with AA and AF turned on. You can see that moving to 2560 x 1600, though, the 37 FPS average that we have here isn't going to be much fun.

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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While we're overclocked and overvolted all over the place, you can see the tri-fan cooler does a seriously good job of keeping the core at a reasonable temperature, with the card sitting in the middle of the pack.

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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What's even more impressive, though, is the fact that the card runs so quiet.

If you wanted to mess around with the fan manually and were happy to accept some higher noise levels, you'd probably find yourself with even higher clock speeds than what we managed.

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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Coming in a little under the 450 Watt mark the power draw number is fairly standard.

A good quality 650 Watt power supply isn't going to run into any problems powering a setup like this.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

Coming in at $769.99 at the time of writing, the MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3GB isn't cheap by any standard. Only two GTX 780s come in more expensive than it, and both are from EVGA with water blocks. At the end of the day, though, performance talks and at the moment the MSI GTX 780 Lightning is a fantastic video card. Against the more expensive TITAN, we'd choose it every time.

The real problem lays in the coming weeks as we see what AMD bring to the table with its new R9 290X. Both the price of the new model and the performance are going to be so important. Along with that, the overclocking aspect of the card is also going to be important, which is something that we haven't looked at on any of the R series video cards yet.

Outside of the actual performance numbers, though, we've got a really well built card, which is exactly what you would expect not just from a Lightning based card, but just an MSI one in general. MSI really do put together some amazing video cards, and this is one is no exception.

No matter what, though, the MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3GB is going to continue to have a place for people. If you want to go down the path of an NVIDIA card, and want something special, this is going to be the kind of video card you buy - especially if you don't want to spend the money associated with the TITAN.

The MSI GTX 780 Lightning, while catering for the most extreme overclocker, is also an excellent option for people who have no intention of ever removing the heatsink. It seems a little silly to not overclock this model with the help of Afterburner, because it's really what it's designed to do. The simple fact, though, is that MSI offer us an awesome overclock out of the box, with a massive boost to the core, which brings with it a really strong bump in performance.

If you don't ever overclock the card, you can still feel happy with the fact that you're buying what is probably one of the best quality GTX 780s on the market that is going to perform extremely well out of the box. Testing the model, though, does certainly wet our taste buds as we wait to see what AMD is going to bring to the table over the next several weeks. Stay tuned!

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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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