MSI GeForce GTX 580 Lightning Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: May 1, 2011
Product Name: MSI GTX 580 Lightning
Part Number: N580GTX-Lightning
Warranty: 3 Years
Share |

Flipping the Lightning…DIP Switches Aplenty

Turning the Lightning over reveals a PCB that is far from the reference design in every way possible. Instead of lengthening the PCB to incorporate their high end components, MSI has added extra width by incorporating a small ˝” lip on the card’s leading edge.

MSI has gone the same route as Gigbayte does with their Super Overclock series by equipping the Lightning with a quartet of NEC / Tokin Proadlizer. Laid out in a 3+1 GPU to memory configuration, these chips provide high capacitance and low ESR to ensure the cleanest power possible gets to each section of the graphics card while providing 1000 uF of capacitance.

Along the PCB’s edge are three DIP switches with a fourth being located near the PCI-E slot connector. The main grouping of three includes an OPC Unlocker that allows the core to ignore any power limiter that has been placed upon it, a V-Switch for quick voltage tuning and a PWM Clock Tuner which essentially overclocks the PWM clock to 310Mhz from the reference 260Mhz. The fourth switch is dubbed XtremeCool for working around the GTX 580’s “cold bug” and should be used when overclocking with LN2.

Next to the three main DIP switches is a toggle used for quick BIOS switching. The Lightning holds two BIOSes onboard; one of which houses the standard overclocked file and another which is tailor-made for high end cooling solutions since it implements aggressive voltage presets. When used in conjunction with the XtremeCool toggle, this should allow extreme overclockers to completely bypass the dreaded GF110 cold bug.

Naturally, these are only the most visible features which hint at the Lightning’s overclocking prowess. Below the heatsink, there is a long list of upgraded components that will allow overclockers to really push this card to its absolute limits.

Latest Reviews in Video Cards
November 24, 2015
After finally getting some hands-on time with AMD's new Radeon Software Crimson, we have come to respect it in a big way.  Could this be the one thing that makes people rethink AMD's drivers?...
November 18, 2015
AMD's R9 380X is meant to fill the gap between the R9 380 and R9 390 but with prices ranging from $230 to $260, this new card will need great performance to differentiate itself....
November 12, 2015
They may be two very different cards at wildly separate ends of the price spectrum but AMD's R9 Nano and ASUS' GTX 970 Mini find themselves competing in the same ITX bracket. Is one really "better" th...