MSI N580GTX Twin Frozr II/OC
MSI’s flagship GeForce GTX 580 is the $599 N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition equipped with 3072 MB of GDDR5 memory. But the 1536 MB N580GTX Twin Frozr II/OC we’re testing costs $100 less, making it far more affordable, and is still no slouch. The 800 GPU and 1024 MHz memory clocks are fairly tame compared to the other products in this round-up. However, this this card is also only priced slightly higher than some of the reference models out there. And as you’ll see in the benchmarks, it features some of the best thermal and acoustic performance as well.
MSI leverages a dual axial fan design with a metal guard that covers its Twin Frozr II cooler. The two 80 mm coolers work in conjunction with three 6 mm and two 8 mm heat pipes to pull thermal energy away from the nickel-plated copper base, facilitating a good balance between cooling and noise control. The 11" x 5.2" x 1.8" dimensions turn out to be a little taller than Nvidia's reference design. Fortunately, MSI keeps this card within the space allotted by two expansion slots.
Like Gigabyte, MSI sent us a demo card without the retail packaging or bundle. But MSI's Web site indicates that the card comes with an HDMI mini-to-HDMI cable, a Molex-to-six-pin PCIe power cable, a six-pin-to-eight-pin PCIe power cable, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a driver CD, a manual, and a user guide.
MSI provides three-year warranty coverage for parts and labor.
Just like the reference model, MSI’s offering comes with two dual-link DVI outputs and a single HDMI mini output.
Price at $499 on Newegg, MSI's N580GTX Twin Frozr II/OC is the lowest-priced model in this roundup, only $20 more than typical reference GeForce GTX 580 cards.
MSI’s Afterburner utility is the gold standard by which all other tweaking apps are judged. It enables excellent monitoring and overclocking tools (including voltage settings on most GPUs). Perhaps more importantly, it's not exclusive to MSI. It works across any manufacturer's cards. As such, we're always happy to point out the company’s impressive commitment to the community with this tool.
With the GPU voltage raised to 1.15 V from the stock 1.013, we’re able to take the core to an impressive 980 MHz and the memory to 1225 MHz in FurMark. As mentioned before, though, FurMark no longer represents the extreme worst-case it once did, since AMD and Nvidia both manage power delivery in response to non-gaming workloads more intelligently. As such, we had to back this board down to 940 MHz and 1150 MHz for the core and memory in order to run multiple passes of the Crysis 2 benchmark.
That's an impressive result that manages to keep pace with the other cards in this story, despite a comparatively low price tag.