With MSI's release of the MSI N260GTX Lightning 1792 MB cards you can certainly say that MSI pushed real hard to introduce something special. MSI wanted to put a product out their stuffed and loaded with enthusiast features and options. As such they created the Lightning series.
The card we are testing today is definitely not your average GeForce GTX 260 SP216, no Sir. The board (PCB) design is customized and has voltage measure points (V-check points), they didn't fit 896MB on there, planted 1792MB of memory on it. The card design is Phase PWM, with 8 phases reserved for the GPU and 2 phases for the memory.
Then they slapped a nearly military class (at least it feels that way) cooler on it. The cooler is a a Twin Frozr cooling with heatpipes, dual slot heatsink and two big fans.
That's still not enough as the card itself is pre-overclocked for you at default. Then, for the Black Edition (which we are testing), you even receive a little drive bay breakout box (AirForce panel) allowing you to control GPU and memory frequencies and voltages on the fly. This little unit (AirForce Panel) is touch sensitive, so you are not messing around with software. If you like to enable a different performance mode, or overclock the card a little, you touch the panel and make that so.
Once you do that and press 'Lightning' a small software suite will appear (displayed to the right) showing you primary functions like voltage and clock frequencies. After three seconds it fades away again.
The features all by itself sound stunning. MSI released two versions of this product. Both are similar with on exception. The Lightning Black Edition is paired with the company's AirForce Panel, an external touch panel that can change the card's voltages and clock speeds on the fly. It is not included in the Lightning edition.
Some non standard features:
Flying OC Panel
AirForce Panel Inductive overclocking control panel.
Dual Fan Thermal Design Dual fan design for enhanced heat dissipation.
We spilled the beans already but the N260GTX Lightning has its memory doubled up to an astonishing 1792MB GDDR3.
GPU and memory clock frequencies then: there is one difference in-between the 'normal' and black edition you need to be aware of. The cards are shipped with factory default frequencies of 650/1404/1000 MHz (core/shaders/memory), yet the black edition with Airforce panel allows you enable 680/1458/1053 MHz (core/shaders/memory) on the fly.
Now that was still not enough, so MSI implemented three connectors as well:
Dual-link DVI-I x1
VGA (D-Sub Output) x1
With the fact in mind that the reference clocks of the GeForce GTX 260 SP216 are 576/1242/999 MHz (core/shaders/memory) you can understand that the Lightning edition cards will be a good chunk faster. So all these factors combined should make this product from A to Z a very interesting product. Let me walk you through the MSI N260GTX Lightning 1792 MB BE with the help of a photo-shoot.
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