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How Overclocking Affected The MSI Cards

The Fastest 3D Cards Go Head-To-Head
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The first table shows an overview of clock speed. The profile with low-power 3D was introduced by Nvidia, as the GTX 200-series card switch from 3D mode to an intermediate level before finally switching to 2D on the Windows desktop. The 3D profile does not apply to the overclocked MSI test cards, as these are running with modified values.

With the Radeon HD 4870 from AMD, the memory is usually clocked at the same rate in both 2D and 3D mode. For a standard card, the correct clock specification would be 500/500/1,800 MHz, and the 2D table specification refers to the overclocked MSI version with a 2,000 MHz memory rate. As you can see, all cards clock back in 2D mode.

Clocking rates MHz 2D Low Power 3D 3D normal 3D OC (MSI)
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 300/600/100 400/800/300 602/1296/1107 700/1400/1150
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 300/600/100 400/800/300 576/1242/999 620/1296/1080
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 500/500/2000 0 750/750/1800 780/780/2000
Radeon HD 4850 (512 MB) 500/500/750 0 625/625/993 0

Order of the clocking specifications: GPU/shader/Memory
Otherwise, memory rate is given doubled

This is how the overclocked speeds of the MSI cards affected the individual benchmarks. All test values were recorded at a resolution of 1920x1200, with anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and maximum image quality activated:

Assassin’s Creed
4xAA, Game AF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 46.0 46.3 0.7
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 47.8 49.2 2.9
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 46.3 46.3 0.0
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 41.1 43.5 5.8
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 43.7 43.9 0.5
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 43.5 44.0 1.1

Call of Duty 4
4xAA, 8xAF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 135.9 132.9 -2.2
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 103.2 111.8 8.3
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 122.5 123.4 0.7
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 87.4 92.7 6.1
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 111.7 111.6 -0.1
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 94.7 98.4 3.9

Crysis
4xAA, 8xAF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 22.4 22.0 -1.8
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 16.3 17.7 8.6
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 21.6 22.2 2.8
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 12.6 13.2 4.8
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 14.5 17.2 18.6
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 10.8 12.2 13.0

ET: Quake Wars
4xAA, 8xAF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 73.8 74.6 1.1
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 81.2 84.2 3.7
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 73.1 74.6 2.1
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 80.5 81.1 0.7
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 52.9 55.1 4.2
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 64.1 66.8 4.2

Half Life 2 Episode 2
4xAA, 8xAF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 77.7 79.6 2.4
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 99.0 99.0 0.0
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 77.0 79.3 3.0
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 96.5 98.8 2.4
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 96.2 98.3 2.2
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 100.1 100.2 0.1

Mass Effect
8xAA, Game AF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 74.6 74.0 -0.8
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 60.6 70.3 16.0
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 72.8 77.8 6.9
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 49.3 56.3 14.2
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 72.2 76.5 6.0
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 37.8 39.6 4.8

Microsoft Flight Simulator X SP2
Game AA, Game AF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 26.5 25.1 -5.3
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 31.3 30.5 -2.6
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 26.0 25.9 -0.4
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 30.3 28.8 -5.0
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 25.3 23.9 -5.5
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 25.6 24.8 -3.1

World in Conflict
4xAA, 4xAF
fps normal fps OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) 45.6 44.2 -3.1
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 32.8 35.8 9.1
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 43.3 44.5 2.8
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 27.6 29.5 6.9
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 44.6 46.8 4.9
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 34.8 36.3 4.3

AMD displays the highest values in Crysis, but the frame rates still drop to unplayable levels below 25 fps. The MSI cards with Nvidia GPUs increase considerably with the UT3 Engine in Mass Effect. The increase with the GTX 260 may have a positive effect on the game. In Flight Simulator, negative values caused by overclocked 3D cards is normal, as less graphics performance relieves the CPU of load so the net effect can be higher.

Overall results, OC Percent
GeForce GTX 280 SLI (1024 MB) -1.1
GeForce GTX 280 (1024 MB) 5.8
GeForce GTX 260 SLI (896 MB) 2.2
GeForce GTX 260 (896 MB) 4.5
Radeon HD 4870 CF (512 MB) 3.8
Radeon HD 4870 (512 MB) 3.5

The MSI GeForce GTX 280 Superclocked has great potential with a 5.8% overall improvement. With normal overclocking, 3% is normal, and a 4-5% increase in overall results is a very good result. With a faster CPU, the SLI and CrossFire combinations should be able to achieve even greater increases. The test computer reaches its limit with the faster dual-card combos, as can be seen from the negative test values.

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