MSI recently has released the gaming edition graphics cards and is quickly releasing many SKUs based on that series. With success, as the design looks great, the cooling is awesome with low noise and very cool temperatures, but very important, these products are often merely a tenner more expensive opposed to the reference cards.
The release of the GeForce GTX 760 really isn't something new in terms of technology. The GeForce GTX 760 is a GTX 680 GPU with two out of the 8 available shader processor clusters disabled. And from that point of view the release really is more of the same. The interesting thing however is that NVIDIA opened up this level of performance in a 'somewhat' mainstream performance segment. But at 249 USD the performance you gain from a product like this is really interesting. Traditionally a GeForce GTX 460/560/660 and now 760 series product is upper segment of mainstream and as this product show us, it'll eat any game for breakfast and then for lunch and dinner as well. For the reference clocked products, you may expect slightly lower than GTX 670 performance. But with all board partner 'tweaked' products, add another 10% to the performance and all of the sudden these puppies sit in between the GTX 670 and 680 performance wise. The board partners have gone crazy and jumped all over the GeForce GTX 760 with multiple versions and custom cooled solutions.
With the reference cards having a base-clock at 980 MHz, being factory clocked to 1020 MHz the magic is to be found in the boost clock as at that factory tweak the GPU all of the sudden finds its turbo frequency well above 1100 MHz (when the power signature allows it to do so). But mostly that is what we noticed, being that the GPU continously is hovering in the 1100 MHz range during gaming. I'm still taking reference here okay ? Now a card like shown today with its factory tweak, well let me just say that it is absolutely golden for the guys and girls with a 1920x1080 and 1920x1200 range in monitor resolution, there's not a game out there that it can't deal with at this resolution. In Crysis 3 we end at an average of 41 FPS in 1920x1200 with Very High quality settings and that high resolution texture package and FXAA. Battlefield 3 is another example, with all eye candy opened up in game and again at 4xAA the card still pushes 56 FPS at 19x12 and that nearly equal to the GeForce GTX 680. So while this product might have two shader clusters less, the performance really remains exceptionally good and once the dynamic clock aka turbo kicks in.
MSI applied their TwinFrozr cooler solution which dramatically improves cooling performance. it is much better then reference cooling. Even better are the temperatures, we where hovering at give or take 60 Degrees C as highest logged entry after finishing up our entire benchmark suite. Think about it, 60 degrees C, that is just an awesome temperature, specially when you consider that all reference models will do 80 Degrees C.
Oh, and you just know what would be the perfect motherboard for this card eh ? Yeah, the Z87 Gaming edition.
As you have been able to see in our test sessions, the cooler does its job really well. The NVIDIA reference coolers are great, but they follow the temperature target of 80 degrees C. With the TwinFrozr IV cooler however the GPU will get way more cooling power at your disposal. As a result the temperature target might remain at roughly 60 degrees C. An added benefit of that is that the dynamic clock frequency will go higher up to the point it reached its power target. So this is why the card is so close and sometimes a small notch faster then some of the competition. Noise wise it's silent, you can hardly hear the card. Honestly, that's just really good.
The GeForce GTX 760 edition as tested today shows roughly 150 to 160 Watt power consumption at peak utilization with a modern game. Honestly that is pretty good as well. Not far off from reference, of course. But remember the 760 is injected in the graphics arena as a mid-range product, but comes with a high-end class GPU that has been limited a bit.
The MSI Gaming edition in most scenarios maybe is 5% slower than the GTX 670. However it tweaks as well as any other card we tested. And that brings the card at close to 1300 MHz on the boost clock, if you know what you are doing overclocking wise you'll gain another 10% in performance. Drivers wise we can't complain at all, we did not stumble into any issues. And with a single GPU there's no micro-stuttering (if that ever bothered you) and no multi-GPU driver issues to fight off. Performance wise really there's not one game that won't run seriously good at the very best image quality settings. The one title that is a little icky is Metro Last Light, just disable SSAA as the game already applies and enforces in-game AAA. Gaming you must do with a nice 30" monitor of course, at 2560x1440/1600. I mean Codemaster's Grid 2 at high quality and 4xAA is still oozing out 56 FPS there. Or what about Hitman Absolution with 52 FPS at 1920x1200 High quality and 2xMSAA? At these resolutions the GeForce GTX 760 offers just a plenty gaming experience with image quality that you can only get on a PC.
As much of a refresh as the GeForce GTX 760 really is, it is the end-result that counts. The product comes with a GTX 680 chip but was limited in performance by roughly 25% die to two disabled SMX clusters (each 192 Shaders processors). But with plenty of memory bandwidth and the ROP engine left in-tact the GeForce GTX 760 remains to be serious business. The reality remains that last year's most high-end GPU can now be bought at a much better price. The AIB partners from NVIDIA jumped on it, as example today the tested version. Armed with the updated cooler and a really serious factory overclock this product closes in at the GTX 670 and almost GTX 680 performance range. And no matter how you look at it, that is just a good deal for the money. Talking about money, these are the NVIDIA MSRPs (meaning over time you may expect lower prices):
EUR - 199 excl. VAT
GGBP - £209 incl. VAT
USD - $249 incl. VAT
Honestly, that is a lot of card for the money.
Though the MSI GTX 760 Gaming edition was the lowest clocked factory-tweaked product out of all cards we tested to date, the reality remains that we're talking 2-3 frames decreases overall in your framerate. The product however is cheaper, but overclocks just as well as the competition.
The magic is found in the product itself, the Military class components selection, a nice metal top plate making the card very sturdy and preventing it from bending when mounted horizontally in the chassis. Then there's the TwinFrozr IV cooler, gaming at 60 Degrees C without any noise doesn't suck I can tell you. Overall we feel that the MSI GeForce GTX 760 Gaming edition offers tremendous value for money with the quality that MSI offers. Just use AfterBurner, tweak a little and this cure red/black product is as fast or even faster as anything the competition offers. As such graphics card comes highly recommended by Guru3D.com
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