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Pros: Still love this thing. Just still figuring out the MSi App software, and it pros and cons. See update below. Finally got around to testing The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. I wouldn't say the best in the world, but still better than my GTX 670 PE ran it. With it's puny 2 GBs of VRAM. I'm using the latest Game Ready drivers (WHQL), and I think the game is updated to the latest update (Update 5 or something...). nVidia Geforce Experience auto optimized it, but I still went in and tweaked it a little more. Still doesn't utilize all 4 GBs of ram. Only a little over 3.6 GBs. Running the card with a custom overclock of 1550 MHz, memory clock of 7035 MHz. It's still not getting any hotter than 66c. I think I also didn't have room to mention in my other reivew that this has a 3 year warranty. 3 years for parts and 2 for labor. Not bad at all.
Cons: Me and my quick-draw review I posted last night. This thing really has no cons in this nerd's opinion.
Other Thoughts: In my last review I stated that this card idles in the high 50s. Well what my, let's just say, altered state of mind didn't piece together is that I was idling in Game mode on MSi App. If you just turn on MSi App and let Afterburner run like normal in the background, leave everything alone, and don't select a profile, this GPU under-clocks itself like all nVidia cards do. I was just watching a show on Netflix in high def with no profile selected, fans were at zero RPM. Afterburner reports that the base clock dropped to 405 MHz, memory clock dropped to 1620 MHz, and the temperature dropped to 32-34c at idle - or idle-ish (just streaming a TV show ). Granted it's cold and rainy today, 68-72F, and all of the windows are open. So yeah...that heatsink really gets the job done, almost all by itself when in low power mode. What are you still reading this for. BUY ONE NOW!!! DO IT!!! COME ON!!! What have you got to lose? These things are a steal at less than $400. Also they overclock up to the speeds of the more expensive brands/models. You're not going to get a better deal for such a wide array of features. Sure you can spend $250 more and get to brag that you have a 980, but why would you want to brag about being so unintelligent that you spent more money than the person who got the best bang for the buck? Wouldn't you want people to be more astonished that you were able to spend less and get a card that performs at about 95% of it's more expensive counterpart? I certainly would. So that's what I did.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Where do I start? This card is an absolute delight. Let's start with the aesthetics of the card. Green on black may not match the color scheme of the build that this went into, but the color is a real eye-catcher. Also the green LED lit MSi logo is a really nice touch. You normally don't see stuff like that except on the flagship line of graphics cards from some vendors. The included, pre-installed backplate is the icing on the cake. Not only adding rigidity, but also giving the card a more "high-end" look. All in all a great limited addition look to it.
Now onto the performance side of things. Base clock is at 1113 MHz. Don't know why it's listed wrong on the newegg website. That's what I got from Afterburner after first boot with no tinkering done. When the MSi App software is used you can easily overclock the card 200+ MHz while in game mode. In fact it's so easy because it overclocks itself. While in gaming mode the clock jumps to 1329 MHz. Fast enough for most of the newest titles out there as of the date of this review. Not sure about OC mode, because I instantly starting manually overlocking to see if the rumors were true. After overriding the MSi App software and just going straight into Afterburner, I started increasing the clock speed by 25 MHz intervals and checking temperatures (more on that in a minute). Without any increase in voltage I was able to start increasing by 50 MHz and ended up at a clock speed of 1529 MHz. It will probably go higher, I just didn't want to fry my new investment the day I got it. It tears through almost anything I throw at it. 4 GBs of GDDR5 with an effective memory clock of 7010 MHz ensures the 2 year period before I'll need to upgrade again is well looked after. 1664 Cuda Cores mean video encoding is going to be super fast. PCI Express 3.0 and DirectX 12 compatible.
*GTAV & Shadow Of Mordor GOTY were used for testing clock speed and temps
* Using nVidia Geforce Experience optimal settings, set to quality with latest drivers
*116 FPS peak 35 FPS at it's lowest
*60 FPS AVG - on both titles - some dips here and there on GTAV
Now, onto the cooling aspect of things. These fans are huge compared to the Twin FROZR IV. I replaced my old MSi GTX 670 Power Edition with this, and that has the Twin FROZR IV. That thing sounds like a hair dryer. It also runs in the high 60s-low70s. The GTX 970 never got above 66c. WOW! The fans, in comparison to the TWIN FROZR IV are almost inaudible, even when at 100 percent they are at least 10-15dB quieter. AS very noticeable difference. Not to mention with the zero RPM technology, the fans don't even turn on until the card reaches past 60c. Idle's around 58c when all of my fans are turned down to low and the zero RPM is active. Mind you it's 85-90f outside right now. I'm not running air conditioning yet....If that tells you anything about it's cooling performance. The heatsink does most of the work, the fans just spin up when it needs a little help.
Cons: The only con I can come up with is just a pet peeve of mine. I like total control over any LED set in my case. Unless you have the MSi App software running, the LED reverts to static. You can't turn it off or have any effects running. I think I'm getting spoiled by Corsair with all of their custom stuff I have bought recently. Becoming a control freak over every aspect of lighting effects. Also I'm not one to worry that much about how loud a GPU is. So the zero RPM kind of worries me. Having the card idle at almost 60c makes me wonder how long it will last. When I shut off the App software it uses my user-defined fan curve from Afterburner and the thing idles at 37c. I suppose it could help keep the card free of dust, only needing to turn the fans on every once in a great while. Oh well, who knows what time will tell right?
Last con is people need to stop complaining "ehhhh it's only really got 3.5 GBs of VRAM, nerrrr!". I am so sick of this discussion. Look up what is really going on. Linus from Linus Tech Tips explained the whole thing on YouTube. If you actually go in depth and research this, you will see it really does have 4 GBs of GDDR5, It's just built with a new memory technology, and dumbed down from the GTX 980. Most games don't even utilize more than 3.5 GBs of video memory anyway. So you'll be fine.
Other Thoughts: I was nervous about upgrading from my uber-dependable GTX 670. That has lasted me over three years now. With the whole controversy with nVidia, you don't know what to believe. I almost went with 290x. Then I came to my senses. They just don't stack up against the nVidia 900 series of GPUs. Sure they get a couple higher benchmarks, but AMD was just waiting for nVidia to make a mistake like this. Then they can jump in and save the day by lowering the prices on their high end cards and cash in. Sorry AMD, I love your CPUs with all of heart, but nVidia is my wicked mistress.
Since my last MSi card lasted 3+ years and is still working as good as the day I got it, I decided to give them another chance to prove themselves. It was between this, one of the Gigabyte Tri-fan cards, or the ASUS Stryx. This one was prettier. I know that's not a good reason to pick something, but they all basically have the same GPU, just different cooling styles/solutions/stock clock speeds. Also the Gigabyte was a tank (over 12 inches long I believe). Very happy with this one so far. Registration was a snap on the MSi website, like always.
I'm very impressed with the performance of this card. I have thrown a lot of games at it for testing purposes. All ran great without any hiccups as far as I can tell. GTAV looks amazing, and only stutters a little when using a screen capture program, such as FRAPS or Open Broadcaster. I picked up Middle Earth - Shadow Of Mordor GOTY Editon today, and it ran it on Ultra. No hiccups or anything. Ran perfectly with a constant 60 FPS average. Still have yet to test it on The Witcher 3. I'll do that when I get home tomorrow. Great that you get a free copy of Batman Arkham Knight with it. Not even gonna try to DL that on launch day. It's best to wait a day or two, and let all the geeks get their candy first. All topped off with a 3 year manufacturer's warranty - that's 3 years for parts, and 2 years for labor. Not bad all things considered. Build stats are listed below....cause it's 5:30 am and I'ma getting tired.
*Corsair Graphite 600t mid tower (White/Black) all white leds - white/black braided cables
*Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 MB
*AMD FX 6300 Vishera - overclocked to a constant 4.7 GHz
*Corsair H80i AIO LC - stock fans replaced with white LED Corsair SP120s
*16 GB Corsair Vengeance Pro 1866 (4x4GB)
*MSi Gaming GTX 970 100ME
*250 GB Corsair Force GT SSD - 555 MBps Read/425 MBps Write - system drive
*500 GB Western Digital Blue - 7200 RPM - For downloads/temp storage
*2x300GB Western Digital Velociraptors - 10000 RPM - work drives - gaming/video encoding/etc
*4 TB Seagate Backup - external drive - USB 3.0 - For backup
*Pioneer BDR-2209 BluRay burner - Flagship drive - BDR-XL - 16x write speed
*Rosewill Photon 1050 Fully Modular Power Supply - Single 12v rail - 850 watts continuous - 1050 watts peak
*Corsair Gaming K70 RGB Mechanical KB
*Corsair Gaming M65 RGB Mouse - White/Black
*BD&A X-Box One Controller - LED backlit - 17 col
Pros: 1050 watts of power, plenty of headroom for whatever you may be building. Tons of wires for powering any type of setup. Enough PCIE connections for two or even three way SLi or Crossfire. Wires are long enough to install this PSU in a mid or full tower with a lot of extra slack left over. Fully modular, meaning less clutter and increased airflow even in a cramped type of case. Nice Proton stamp on the side, if you mount it in that fashion, to show off what you have installed in a windowed side panel case. Each sata power cable comes with 3 plugs instead of the normal two meaning less cables have to be run for hard drives or SSDs. 5 year warranty! Lastly a single 12 volt rail, which is perfect for high end/gaming setups. Overall a really great PSU.
Cons: As other have stated, the wires are very stiff and not that easy to run for a totally well rounded cable management system. The 24 pin and CPU 8 pin cables should be sleeved all the way to the connection. They are not, causing my build to look unfinished, ugly even. That's why I deducted an egg. Also the sata power cables come with 3x sata power and a molex power at the end. Not that well thought out in my opinion. The molex should come as their own cable. Being that I only needed one molex connection (for my fan controller) I now have 3 sata power connections just sitting there, serving no purpose. Made cable management much more hard than it should have. Think things through Rosewill.
Other Thoughts: I needed more power for my system. I kept getting BSODs and shutdowns when playing graphically, power hungry games. Narrowed it down to being the power supply's fault. As I was only running a dual rail 700 watt PSU. I was looking at the high end power supplies, Corsair, Fractile Design, EVGA. They were all way out of my price range. I've owned Rosewill PSUs in the past and figured I might give one of these a try. The old 550 watt Stallion series PSU I have running in my daughter's PC and it's been running flawlessly for over 5 years. I also noticed that this is one of the only PSUs out there with a 5 year warranty. That is just totally unheard of in the PSU market. The cables are really stiff, and not that easy to route. This made cable management really hard, even in my Corsair Graphite 600t mid tower. Which is kind of ginormous and usually really easy for cable management. I found myself cussing and swearing at the computer when trying to force the cables to bend in ways that they are not supposed to be bent. That is the main reason I deducted an egg. Otherwise this thing is top notch. No more BSODs and shutdowns. Worked great right out of the box. Hope it continues to run like it is right now. Something I forgot to mention in the pros section is the fan. It's temperature controlled, so it powers up and down when power is not needed. Runs almost silent even when under a full load. (Phrasing!)... My only real complaint besides the stiff wires is the fact that they went ahead and put a molex at the end of every sata wire. Why? Every other modular PSU I have owned has it's own dedicated molex wire. I only needed 1 to power my fan controller and now have an unneeded wire just sitting there. Kind of annoying after forking out over a hundred dollars for this PSU. Now would I buy it again? Yeah, in a heart beat. For something this nice, at it's low price tag, you really can't go wrong. I will however be buying some white extension cables to cover up the ugly unfinished 24 pin cable. System build info is listed below.
Gigabyte GA-990XA-UD3 MB
AMD FX 6300 Vishera running @ 4.5GHz
Cosair Hydro H80i AIO liquid cooler
16 GB Cosair DDR3 1866
MSi GTX 670 PE OC running at 1250 MHz
Corsair Force GT 128 GB SSD
WD Caviar Green 500 GB
2x WD 10,000 RPM Velociraptor 300 GB
Seagate Backup 4 TB external HDD
Rosewill Photon 1050 watt PSU
Cosair Graphite 600t midtower Case
Logitech Z623 2.1 audio system
EVGA Torq x10 Gaming mouse
AZIO MGK1 mechanical gaming KB