The gaming edition R9-270X from MSI is impressive. See, with the R9-270X being a beefed up Radeon HD 7870 I was inclined to state that it is just another boring refresh, however the more I test these cards the more I start to like them. Honestly at 1920x1080/1200 monitor resolutions these cards do make a lot of sense as all modern games produce average framerates in the 40 to 50 FPS with pretty heavy image quality settings. That combined with a sub 200 USD price tag does make the cards really attractive. But sure, fact remains that this card is a beefed up Pitcairn based product (R7870). It's interesting to see what AMD can do with this card performance wise in the long run. Realistically when you enable good image quality settings and restrict yourself to 2x or 4x Anti-aliasing then gaming at 1920x1080P is a sweet-spot for this card (for the money). Performance wise you should imagine this card to be just under or above the R7950. That brings in good value for money at an MSRP of 199 USD. So withing a few weeks shave off another 10% maybe 20% and yeah, that's a good deal. Competition wise, realistically though it is not able to compete with say a GeForce GTX 760. Then again the GTX 760 is a few tenners more expensive.
So, fact remains though that the AMD R9-2700X is a very capable card with its 2GB graphics memory partition. You can play games quite easily at FullHD and that does make the a sweet-spot product.
Armed with the latest revision of the Twinfrozr cooler the card is a hefty 20 degrees Celsius lower opposed to the reference cooler whist remaining silent. This revision is a dual-slot solution with 10cm fans, which I think just looks great. The PCB is customized and I can spot merely quality components ensuring a longer lifespan of this product, lovely. The looks, well the cooler in its all black design, the two subtle and silent fans combined with a hint of red makes this a good looking package alright. Great looking and very sturdy I must state as well. There is a metal plate at the top of the card so the card can not bend when seated horizontally in the PC, missing however is a full cover back-plate.
When you look at the Radeon R9-270X overall, performance, some new Eyefinity features, PCIe gen 3 compatibility and all other stuff then we can only conclude that we like these cards belong in the mainstream to lower segment of the high-end graphics card arena. This product is cooling fairly well, expect roughly 60 Degrees C under heavy GPU load in a proper ventilated PC. Top notch however are the noise levels as really, there aren't any. The card is VERY silent.
The board is rated with a 180 Watt TDP, that means when you completely stress it, that's the power consumption. Our measurements indeed show a board TDP at roughly 175~180 Watt, its reasonable for this kind of performance especially when you take into account that the product is factory overclocked for you. Just as impressive is the board's IDLE power state, in desktop mode when not in use it can throttle down and disable huge segments of the GPU allowing it to draw 10 Watt only. Once your monitor jumps into energy saving / sleep mode then the power draw drops towards 2.7 Watt. Since you do not game all day ling, that's where the most power saving can be found.
Overclocking then, we see average results. We could set the card at 1175 MHz, but passing that number became an issue. That said, MSI we are awaiting voltage control for this product after which we expect to reach 1300 MHz. Despite many regulation from NVIDIA, AMD is leaving the voltage bandwidth threshold much wider. Up-to 1.3 Volts, and that really is enough for a nice air-cooled overclock experience. I'll say this once, NVIDIA took away the fun from proper overclocking, AMD still is allowing a lot of stuff. Though slowly they are getting on the same path with power, load and voltage limiters. With voltage tweaking and some more time we think 1200+ MHz can be achieved. A little disappointing but overall tweaking this card should get you anywhere from 5 to 15% additional performance out of the card.
There is very little to conclude other then the obeservation is simple, the MSI R9-270X gaming edition is solid a product. It is a sturdy build with great components quality, it's darn fast in performance for the money. It does so while hardly making any noise and very low stress temperatures. Honestly our of the refresh products I find the R-280X product really good for the money, however the R9-270X cards certainly are growing on me. I can not deny that for less than 200 USD you can game extremely well at Full HD monitor resolutions and that is value for money.
MSI wise the TwinFrozr model IV model cooler does its job very nicely as well, the card runs steady at 60 Degrees C under full load. Overall it offers good performance and has all variables right + leaves some room for overclocking albeit a little. AMD's reference product is already really good though in terms of performance, noise and heat levels. As such, it will be a bit more difficult for the board partners to improve on that. MSI definitely succeeds in that. The cooler keeps the GPU at roughly 60 Degrees C under gaming load. The noise levels are a complete non-issue thanks to the cooler. And remember, this card comes pre-overclocked for you at 1120 MHz and that's quite a nice clock frequency.
Concluding then, the Gaming edition is going to sell at roughly 189 EUR / 200 USD. The overall build quality of the product is exceptional, the looks are fantastic and it is a silent product with very respectable thermals. If you are seeking a product in this class, well the Gaming definitely delivers on all fronts and comes recommended by Guru3D.com, and for those that need a little more boom boom pow, check out the MSI HAWk edition of this very same model.
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