MSI R7970 Lightning - A Powerful Card with Some Great New Ideas

9/15/2012 3:04:12 PM

There’s something about getting to unbox a piece of awesome hardware. Even when reviewing (seeing as how we don’t get to keep most of the stuff we look at) there’s a moment of awe when that really great item is revealed; a moment when you can’t help but saying “whoa”, even under your breath. The latest top-notch Radeon chip graphics card from MSI had that exact effect on us.

Description: MSI R7970 Lightning

MSI R7970 Lightning

We see a lot of graphics cards, but the MSI R7970 Lightning is one that has really made an impression on us, in all aspects. Aside from the blazing fast performance it delivers, even the actual physical aesthetic of the card sets it apart.

Performance wise, it is excellent. The 7970 chipset is complemented by 3GB of GDDR5 RAM, which allows 5 for very quick performance under all kinds of load, from "5 intense gaming to... well, that’s really where it counts, isn’t it?

What MSI have done with this particular graphics card - like they do with most of their graphics cards, in truth - is take the reference model (the base card issued by the chipset manufacturer) and improve on it. This is how different brands using the same chipsets distinguish their products, and MSI have done a fantastic job in this regard.

Heat dissipation, for example, is taken care of by a great system of high-density fin heat sinks, extra thick heat pipes and a pair of Twin Frozr IV fans. These fans are a bit bigger than the average, and even have been set-up to reverse direction for the first thirty seconds of operation, which takes care of dust build up on the heat sinks. They use propeller blade set-ups, too, which increase airflow.

In addition, they have taken their expected Military Class III components a few steps further with this brand new card. Copper MOSFET, highly conductive capacitors, golden solid state chokes and dark solid capacitors all for part of the component line up, the overall result is quieter operation, increased stability and longer lifespan.

And, vitally important to a card of this specification, MSI have made sure that it is extremely overclockable. The Triple Overvoltage system allows for every aspect of the card to be pumped with more juice. In addition, a GPU Reactor built onto the back of the card allows for more overclocking space, as well as improved stability under strain.

Description: MSI R7970 Lightning

MSI R7970 Lightning

With four DisplayPorts, 2 DVI ports and components that usher in a degree of new thinking, the MSI R7970 certainly is a card for enthusiasts to pay attention to. It’s fast. It’s reliable. And it is expensive, yes, that too. But with this kind of card, you would expect a higher price, and the performance it delivers is well worth the cost.

At a glance

Summary: Powerful fast and full of new ideas - this card is perfect for enthusiasts and overclockers…

Tech Specs: Radeon 7970 chipset, 3GB GDDR5 RAM, Military Class III, Triple Overvoltage tech, GPU Reactor, 4 DisplayPorts

Manufacturer: MSI

Distributer: Pinnacle Africa


RRP: R6 899

Pros: Very quick, Nice new ideas, Quiet

Cons: Costly, Fairly large


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