The GeForce GTX 770 Review: Calling In A Hit On Radeon HD 7970?

MSI GTX 770 OC Lightning

MSI‘s GTX 770 OC Lightning, sporting the TwinFrozr IV cooler, is also quite svelte. However, the card requires an additional 16 mm (0.63 inches) of space due to the “Reactor” mounted on the back of its PCB. It's consequently only viable in SLI if your PCI Express slots are at least three spaces apart. At 30 cm (11.81 inches), it’s also not the shortest board we've seen. Finally, it also weighs a good 3.5 ounces more than Gigabyte’s GTX 770 and almost 5.3 ounces more than Palit’s card.

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Technical Specifications And Dimensions
GPU Clock1,150 MHz
Boost (according to BIOS)1,202 MHz
Actual Boost Under Load1,241.2 MHz
Height132 mm / 5.2 inches
Length294 mm / 11.57 inches
Width (Cooler Side)36 mm / 1.42 inches  (<= dual slot)
Width (PCB side)17 mm / 0.66 inches (including back plate and MSI Reactor)
max. Weight1,084 g / 38.24 ounces
Fans2 x 92 mm / 3.62 inches (fan diameter)

Its massive TwinFrozr IV cooler makes MSI’s Lightning the heaviest card in our line-up, though it also enables the best cooling performance and aesthetics. The metal shroud with its yellow stripes is an eye-catcher, as are the blue lighting effects. We have to point out that the dimensions cited by MSI's marketing material are a little off, erring on the low side. In other words, plan for a little bit of extra space (or use our measurements above as your guide).

MSI equips its card with two eight-pin power connectors, giving the card a martial look, as well as quite a bit of headroom where power is concerned. In fact, MSI quotes a TDP of 260 W, although power consumption only peaks that high in actual games with additional overclocking.

Two 8 mm- and three 6 mm-thick copper pipes transfer heat to the cooler. RAM and VRMs receive their own cooling courtesy of a massive frame that gets sufficient air flow.

The back of the card hosts familiar connectivity options: two dual-link DVI ports, HDMI, and a DisplayPort output.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • jessterman21
    Amazing - this oughtta shake up the market!
  • GMPoisoN
    CF 7970s > All
  • EzioAs
    Thanks for the article.

    Kind of an expected performance increase. Seeing overclocked GTX 680 review was conclusive enough unless you've never seen one. Never expected this card to be getting the Smart Buy award though to be completely honest.

    Hey, how about another title for the review?
    - GTX 680 Gets a New Cooler, BIOS Update and Price Drop! -

    No? I'll think of a better one...
  • CarolKarine
    the fact that every single site is comparing nvidia's next-gen stuff with AMD's current gen stuff kinda sickens me. don't start throwing around "Nvidia's got this gen in the bag" till we see what AMD comes up with. they've had what, 1 1/2, 2 years? I'm hoping for GCN 2 and a die shrink on a new architecture.
  • Memnarchon
    EzioAsNever expected this card to be getting the Smart Buy award though to be completely honest.Better power consumption than 7970GE.
    Less noise than 7970GE.
    Runs cooler than 7970GE.
    Same FPS as 7970GE.
    $50 less cost.

    Yeah indeed, why to get the Smart Buy award I wonder...
  • Novuake
    That is some aggressive pricing right there! LOL
  • rmpumper
    Finally, a card that will drop the prices of hd7000 and gtx600 GPUs.
  • tlg
    Well in the UK the GTX770 is still more expensive than the HD7970.
  • GMPoisoN
    10884687 said:
    When you factor in the 4 games that come with the HD7970 GHz Edition, it is still cheaper than the GTX 770. I find it odd that nVidia had over a year to come up with something to beat AMD in single GPU performance at this price point but failed to deliver.

    Yes, there is a bit of power savings. Yes, multi-GPU performance is better. But, that is nothing new. I also wouldn't expect future drivers to deliver much in the way of performance improvements since this card is essentially a GTX 680 v2.

    Ultimately, I expected more from nVidia. Yes, this is a polished card out of the gate. But I'm not sure the release of this card will affect AMDs bottom line as things currently stand, performance wise.

    Agreed. Sapphire 7970 Ghz ftw <3
  • SiliconWars
    None of Nvidia's partners are using the reference cooler so this is just a scam to get better turbo clock speeds and good scores on quiet and cool operation. You've been had Chris and now you've spread Nvidia's lies to your readership.