Joined on 09/16/10
Pros: Do not be fooled. At the time of writing this review, the 970 GTX is one of the highest performance cards on the market and it is value priced. Do some research, get your hands, and prepare to take the plunge! Pros: 1. Temperature probes confirm cooler idle and load temperatures in comparison to other 970 GTX's 2. Stock fans are quieter than most at idle and load 3. Out of the box heatsink had great contact with PCB 4. Solid connection between the PCB and slot 5. Lower power consumption 6. 4gb as base model 7. Stable FPS across the board 8. Acceptable overclocking room MSI's Twin FROZR V is arguably one of the best air cooling solutions. However a card cooling solution will be negated if your case has poor air circulation to begin with. The 900 GTX series has less electrical components than the 700 GTX series. This means that the 970 GTX cards generate less heat and consume less power. It's reference design is the 770 GTX which is still a superb high performance card. A lower wattage PSU will suffice for a single card plus *some* SLI or overclocking setups. Ideally you should use a quality PSU that is at least 100watts over your power consumption needs.
Cons: There are a few drawbacks with this card but I do not think they are worth subtracting eggs because my build ended up fine and the card was not entirely at fault. #1 Card Length - This card will likely not fit in a mid-tower case because of its length although it is slightly less lengthy than a couple of the special cooling solution cards. The way I setup my system, the card completely covers up my south bridge. #2 Card Height - My case is on the narrow side for a full ATX tower at 9.6" and has a 230mm display panel fan. The power connector for my PSU barely cleared the fan after a fuss with cable management. #3 DVI to VGA Adapter - If you plan on using the included adapter, be aware that it will not securely attach to the port. I had to use it temporarily and it fell out numerous times because the screws were too short. Regardless, using VGA with this card is wasteful. #4 Takes 2 Expansion Slots - Like all high performance cards with special cooling solutions, it will cover the slot immediately below and take two expansion bays. An SLI setup will require a roomy motherboard and case with enough expansion slots.
Overall Review: I was on Newegg shopping for my new game rig build when the 900 GTX series was released. It is the card that brought me back to nVIDIA! I will be honest, MSI was not my first choice. My husband surprise gifted it to me when he saw it was the only one in stock with a special cooling solution. After playing around with it for a few weeks, I am satisfied with MSI and will recommend this card to others. I will likely upgrade to a 2-way SLI setup with this awesome card. Case: Thermaltake Armor+ VH6000BWS Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth 990FX CPU: AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-Core RAM: DDR3 Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1866 (2x 8gb) SSD: Crucial MX100 256gb GPU: MSI Twin Frozr V 970 GTX PSU: XFX TS Series 750watt
AMD Vishera Black Edition 8-Core
Pros: 8 cores are overkill for gaming. Eventually games will utilize all the cores and when that happens I will be ready to reap the performance gains! The Black Edition beats plenty of i7's for a fraction of the cost. The stock cooler is manufactured by CoolerMaster who is very respectable. It is also low profile if you are pressed for clearance. The stock fan is not as loud as some of my stock Thermaltake case fans. From my sources, the Black Edition has superior components over the FX-8320 which grants it better overclocking capabilities and longevity.
Cons: Consumes more power than the Intel's and runs a bit hotter but every AMD user should know this. Might have an excuse to buy awesome looking coolers!
Overall Review: Idled at 38.8-40c from stock on BIOS over 5 hour period. Seems a bit high... although at the time I did not have a lot of my case's optional fans installed... hmmm... I plan on applying a thin layer of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound in place of the OEM when my CPU cooler arrives. Case: Thermaltake Armor+ VH6000BWS CPU: AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-core Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth 990FX RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1866 (2x 8gb) GPU: nVIDIA MSI Twin Frozr V 970 GTX
Mushkin 1866 RAM
Pros: - 1866 @ CAS 8 - 8gb sticks - Dual Channel Kit - Low profile RAM (52nm with heatsink if I recall) - better than CAS 7 @ 1600 The heatsink on this RAM has great heat dissipation properties. Overclocking is straight forward and should not require a dedicated RAM cooling solution. Also this RAM, with the heatsink attached, has a low profile. This is great news if you plan to install a 3rd party CPU cooling solution as the RAM will usually fit under the cooler. Those coolers usually block half or all of the RAM slots unless you got low profile RAM. This is something the G.Skill Trident X cannot do.
Cons: Appearance is not as flashy as the G.Skill Trident X. The difference between CAS 8 @ 1866 and CAS 7 @ 1600 is hardly noticeable, maybe 1-2 FPS gain, and there is a noticeable price difference.
Overall Review: My motherboard supports up to 32gb of 1866 RAM out of the box. I got 16gb because that is more than enough for gaming, my motherboard is dual channel (will not run on 1 or 3 stick configurations), and I wanted the option to have 32gb by just purchasing the same kit. I have had great success with Crucial and G.Skill RAM in the past. I am new to Mushkin and so far it is fine. There are plenty of online resources that cover RAM so I am sparing the rant on CAS and frequencies. Out of the box, my motherboard sets 1866 RAM to 1600. This is not a fault with the RAM, it is a setting on your motherboard that needs to be tweaked in BIOS. Again, there are plenty of online resources already covering this. Case: Thermaltake Armor+ VH6000BWS CPU: AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-core Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth 990FX RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1866 (2x 8gb) GPU: nVIDIA MSI Twin Frozr V 970 GTX
Crucial MX100 265gb SSD
Pros: Crucial is well known for their RAM. SSDs are very similar to RAM. I have used Crucial RAM in the past and cannot recall having a single problem. The manufacturing process of Crucial's SSDs are supreme. They have a very strict quality assurance process that each SSD undergoes before leaving the factory. That is why we enjoy their greater reliability over other SSDs. SSDs are more much more reliable and faster than hard drives. MLC is the best because it is proven to be reliable and withstand greater data writing than TLC. SATA III is becoming a common port in motherboards so the increased data transfer speed capability of the MX100 is relevant. Some manufacturers have higher speeds and performance because they use an unstable platform. The lack of stability is usually what causes failure. The increase in speeds and performance are difficult for an average user to distinguish.
Cons: There is no one single source for comparing the reliability, speed, and performance of SSDs right now. If there were, I think Crucial would be better represented. Mechanical hard drives with higher data storage are cheaper than SSDs. This is where I remind myself why I went SSD: reliability, speed, and performance. A horror story comes to mind when I think about hard drive reliability. I had disconnected and removed an old mechanical hard drive from my laptop so I could do a data transfer. It slipped from my fingers and fell maybe 1" onto the table, landing flat on its side. That was enough to break it.
Overall Review: My home was quite a few builds with MX100's. Never had a fuss with any of them after nearly 3 years. I will be getting more as needed. I am not a space hog so I hesitate to get a larger SSD but that might change with my new gaming rig build because of game storage. I was torn between Samsung, the Toshiba Q Series, and the Crucial MX100 SSDs for my build. I ended up using the Crucial MX100. Case: Thermaltake Armor+ VH6000BWS CPU: AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-core Motherboard: Asus Sabertooth 990FX RAM: Mushkin Enhanced Redline 1866 (2x 8gb) GPU: nVIDIA MSI Twin Frozr V 970 GTX