Alright, let's get the review started. Below you can see the MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning, this is a 3GB model. We expect the product to retail for roughly 550 EUR/USD, we hope price will drop a bit in the next few weeks.
Above the Lightning bundle. You will receive the card, Molex to 8-pin PEG power converters, Crossfire bridge and a DP to HDMI converter next to the manual and drivers. Also included are small connectors which you can use to monitor voltage with a digital multi-meter.
Overall a nice and dark/grey/yellow themed card is what you may expect from the lightning. The 4.3 Billion transistor encounting 28nm Tahiti XT based core is tied to a nice 3GB memory. You can also see the heatpipes of the cooler a little better, five (!) nice tick 8mm pipes run from the core towards aluminum fins on top, where two fans will blow the heat away.
The reference cards are clocked at an 925 MHz core frequency and the GDDR5 memory runs at 5.5 Gbps (effective data rate as GDDR5 has a quad data-rate, so effectively that quadruples it number). This MSI model however is factory clocked at 1070 MHz (!) MSI left the memory clock at 5500 MHz, however you should not have a problem tweaking it towards a good 6000 MHz.
Here we can see the backside, the card will fit pretty much any chassis as it is 27 cm in length. The backside comes with a nice backplate, it mounted upwards a little leaving spice for airflow to move over the components
Obviously very visible is the blue round GPU reactor. The GPU reactor functions as a power supply module which, when installed on the back of the GPU. It increases current volume by 88%, reduces power supply noise by 13%, and should improve overall overclocking stability. It actually is an add-on board which you may remove. Let's do just that.
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