MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning Edition gets a review
We test and review the MSI GeForce GTX 780 LIGHTNING edition. The MSI team has been hard at work with this product, completely revamping the design, the PCB, the cooler, adding new components (high current chokes, International Rectifier PowIRstage, DirectFET chips, tantalum capacitors) and yeah, to make this amongst the best overclockable graphics cards in the world, MSI put in some extra lovin into AfterBurner.
Now who doesn't like that with a graphics card based on the chip that is embedded in the GeForce GTX titan, eh? Correct as the 780 is making use of the GK110-300-A2 GPU which is packed with 2,304 cores, 192 TMUs and 48 ROPs. The GeForce GTX 780 is NVIDIAs high-end graphics card based off their Flagship product, the GTX Titan. This means it is based on the GK110 GPU and has an whopping 7.1 Billion transistors. That makes it a nice chunk faster opposed to the GeForce GTX 680 GPU. Just like Titan, the GTX 780 is based on the GK110 GPU with the distinctions that the Titan has a GK110-300 GPU and the GeForce GTX 780 a GK110-400 GPU. Same stuff, yet with some things disabled. But we are a bit surprised to see NVIDIA move forward with GK110. See, the GK110 chip is BIG, and that makes it a difficult chip to bake, its recipe is refined though as the product has 2304 Shader Processing Units, 192 TMUs and 32 ROPs on a 384-bit memory interface of fast GDDR5. So yeah, NVIDIA trimmed down that that 45 mm × 45 mm 2397-pin S-FCBGA Titian with its 2688 shader/stream/CUDA processors a bit. Memory wise you are looking at 3GB to over 6GB, that is still a nice amount of memory (384-bit) on there. Combined with GPU Boost 2.0 you will see this product boosting towards the 1100~1150 MHz range once you tweak it. The reference clock is 863 MHz with a boost clock of 900 MHz. Looking at the specs you must think that this product must consume heaps of power, well it's not great, but definitely not bad at all. The maximum allowed board design power draw is roughly 250 Watt, which considering what this product is, is good.
But let's say hello to Titan's little brother first, the GeForce GTX 780 Lightning from MSI, in a black and yellow themed enthusiast flavor. This is the 3GB model that comes factory clocked for you at 980 MHz (Ref 863) with a Boost clock of 1033 MHz (Ref 900). However, MSI increased the power limits a little as it seems, as the during monitoring the card ran steady at 1100+ MHz.
The 780 Lightning has an impressive 19-phase (16+2+1 phases), the VRM design is tied to an updated DrMOS 4 which is more efficient and should run cooler than competing power saving solutions. DrMOS 4 is a 3-in-1 chip, it delivers more power with less components needed. The card connects towards two8-pin power connectors. MSI has implemented what is called: Triple Force architecture. This boils down towards three basic features.
Triple Level Signals - on-board LED that shows real-time load on the card by displaying three colors, Green for Light Load, Blue for medium load and Red for Heavy Load.
Pure Digital PWM control which offers more precise voltage, power/voltage control via MSI afterburner application and faster V response time.
The TriFrozr Cooler.
The one thing that you really can't miss out on is the new design cooler, now known as the TriFrozr it features a total of three fans. Two of the fans to the left and right are large 86mm black fans, while a smaller yellow 70mm fan rests right in the middle. The yellow fan also has a somewhat denser fin arrangement. The fans can be programmed independent from each other. For the heatsink itself MSI is using a large dual fin-stack heatsink connected to seven 8 mm-thick heat pipes. The GPU is connected towards 7 GT/s Elpida-branded memory chips for its framebuffer. Interesting is that the card will also have three BIOSes. One functions as a failsafe (with reference firmware), the secondary BIOS is used as stock factory OC BIOS, and one BIOS is an LN2 BIOS for liquid-nitrogen cooling based overclocking.
But have a peek at the product we test today and then lets head onwards into to review.
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