MSI GeForce GTX 580 Lightning Review
The GTX 580 may be priced beyond most people’s budgets, but for all intents and purposes it has been selling quite well due to a resurgent interest in current and future DX11 titles. NVIDIA’s partners have also recently jumped on the bandwagon by introducing their own versions with custom designs and higher than reference clock speeds. ASUS is currently selling the DirectCu edition while their Matrix branded card will soon be available and Gigabyte’s Super Overclock is slowly becoming available at more retailers. The subject of this review however is MSI’s eagerly anticipated Lightning-branded GTX 580 that packs an absolute ton of features.
Back when the original GF100 cards were released, board partners had some serious issues when it came to introducing pre-overclocked versions. Power consumption and heat output was just too high to even contemplate increasing clock speeds past a certain point but the revised GF110 cores have been able to somewhat overcome both of these limitations.
MSI’s GTX 580 Lightning sports a core speed which was almost unthinkable on the previous generation alongside memory speeds that have been increased by a not so insignificant amount. While MSI seems to have introduced a GTX 580 that will offer a good out of the box performance increase, the real selling points lie with its overclocking abilities.
At the heart of this highly overclockable card beats MSI’s Military Class II components. In short, the high end component choices MSI has made should allow for increased life expectancy and the capability to push additional current towards the GPU and memory. Think of this as an overbuilt power distribution fire hose in place of the reference version’s water pistol approach. We’ll get into all of the components a bit later in this review but for the time being let’s just say that some serious engineering has gone into the Lightning.
These components alongside MSI’s legendary Twin Frozr III heatsink should make this one hell of a card; one which certain looks to have the ability to be pushed even further with a bit of voltage and clock speed massaging. MSI’s 3 year warranty (which also happens to cover overclocking) is also a major selling point though with a price of over $500, we’d expect nothing less than perfection.
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