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Pros: Runs cool, runs quiet, runs up to 1525mhz. Voltage is unlocked with newest updated Firestorm utility, 1.31volts checked at card with multi-meter. Boost straigh out of box is 1405mhz.
Temps stay low around 52C, fan speed at 62% at 1525mhz while running Folding@home.
Cons: Firestorm utility is mostly broken. Zotac knows this.
I use this card to run Folding@home and nothing more. When clocked at 1525mhz while folding, gpu power usage is around 50 to 60%, gpu voltage is 1.24volts checked with multi-meter. If I try to go to 1535mhz, the power usage throttles to 30% and stays there. That is the bios at work there, Zotac implemented a protection into the bios so it would not go above 1525 mhz. I can actually max out voltage and it will not change. I can run the card all the way up to 1620mhz before I actually get an all out driver crash. So this card is capable of hitting 1600mhz but it won't because power usage protection kicks in above 1525mhz.
Card will also coil whine sometimes if I get a work unit that makes the gpu usage go up to 99% Most work units though has the gpu usage hovering around 50% usage.
Other Thoughts: This card has alot of potential, but is being held back by the bios. I have modded many different bios for this card to try to get around the gpu power throttling issue and have not found an answer yet.
Printed on the back of box the card came in it says''Total Unlocked Access''. Well, that is far from the truth, I have proved it. This card is just screaming to be woke up, and can't.
Zotac is a good company, they have alot of good things going for them over there, they put alot of real great good people working for them. Zotac knows if they do unlock this card, then they run the risk of increased rma's.
A 1525 mhz overclock for this card is actually pretty good, I should not be complaining, but I know I own a product that has more performance left inside of it. And I would like to have access to it when I need it. If Zotac does not release a fixed bios for this then I will be selling this card at the end of the month and picking up something better on black friday.
Pros: Looks nice. Performace is good when it works.
Cons: Have gone through 4 of these since Janurary.
Average RMA time here in US is 3 weeks.
Other Thoughts: Just yesterday my 4th Lightning died. I run stock bios on all of them. The overall performance of these cards is awesome, but they are not reliable, cant trust them to last to long.
I own lots of other MSI products and they are great so by no means am I going to trash MSI in the following paragraphs. I actually enjoy MSI alot, allways have, allways will.
Right before my first two Lightnings died they would artifact alot and I would have to lower my clocks down to stock but then eventually they would die. My 3rd and 4th Lightnings just suddenly shut down and never woke back up. The clocks I was running was between 1280mhz and 1300mhz on all cards. All the cards would work fine for weeks and months at these clocks then suddenly out of no where they would die a quick death. Ran stock bios on all cards, gpu voltage in MSI indicates a lower voltage than what is being shown. I used a multi meter and voltage check points at the cards were never above 1.29 volts. I ran an EK water block also so temps were never an issue.
Also after the 2nd Lightning decided to go to gpu heaven I swapped out my power supply and motherboard because I thought maybe they may be the problem, but I was wrong.
My gut feeling tells me there is a design flaw with some of these cards. MSI added a bunch of fancy electrical contraptions to the card so it could clock high and compete with EVGA's Classified. When you fancy up the circuit board with extra fancy things that increases the chance of more things breaking.
These lightnings are a flop, easily the biggest gpu blunder of this 700 series of cards of all makes and brands.
Also I will add one more thing, I play BF4, thats all these cards have ever seen, I never bench them like some.
Pros: Quiet, keeps things cool.
Cons: When fans ramp up to max speed one of them vibrates sometimes.
Other Thoughts: Currently I have this cooling an Intel 4770k cpu. Cpu is overclocked to 4.4ghz with a core voltage of 1.270. I do alot of gaming. While playing BF4 on ultra settings with mxsaa disabled and the screen resoultion bumped up to 125% Core 1 average temp is 53c.
Core 2 average temp is 51c.
Core 3 average temp is 47c.
Core 4 acerage temp is 43c.
Also I emailed Enermax wanting to know how much fluid this pump can flow per minute. There reply was : 750ml/min. Which is about 1/5 of a gallon. Really doesnt seem like much but it keeps the cpu cool. Highest temp spikes I see in BF4 are 60c.
Also get some good Cpu paste, the stuff it comes with is not very good. I used the stock paste for a few days and then switched to some Gelid Extreme thermal compund and lowered my temps about 6c average per core.
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