MSI R6970 Lightning Video Card Review

MSI's Latest Lightning series, the R6970 Lightning is here, based on an AMD Radeon HD 6970 with 2GB of GDDR5. It is only moderately overclocked out of the box, but its hardware quality may just knock the ball out of the park. Come with us as we test it against the stock Radeon HD 6970 and the GeForce GTX 570.

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Evaluation Method

We evaluate what each video card configuration can supply us in terms of a playable gaming experience while supplying the best culmination of resolution and "eye candy" graphical settings. We focus on quality and immersion of the gameplay experience rather than how many frames per second the card can get in a canned benchmark or prerecorded timedemo situation that often do not represent real gameplay like you would experience at home. Then we will follow with apples-to-apples testing based on real gameplay as well.

Test System Setup

For our test system platform we are using an ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard with an Intel Core i7 920 overclocked to 3.6GHz, and 6GB of Corsair DDR3-1600. For the power supply, we will be using a CoolerMaster Real Power Pro 1250W.

While it might be "overkill," we use the Core i7-920 processor at 3.6GHz in an attempt to prevent our evaluation from being CPU limited. Obviously, we make every effort to not use CPU limited games for video card evaluations, but the i7-920 at 3.6GHz seems to put many peoples’ minds at ease when it comes to that subject.

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For the MSI R6970 Lightning and the reference AMD Radeon HD 6970, we are using the Catalyst 11.4 WHQL driver. For the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570, we are using GeForce driver 270.61 WHQL.

Below is a screenshot of GPU-Z after installing the MSI R6970 Lightning and the Catalyst 11.4 WHQL driver.

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