MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) Graphics Card
   
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MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) Graphics Card Review

March 31st, 2014 James Leave a comment Go to comments

Overview

 

Today I will be taking a look at the Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) Graphics Card, the 270X could be considered the budget option (for Gamers) from AMD’s current lineup of GPUs based upon the Tahiti and Hawaii Cores. As some of you may be aware this card is effectively a AMD HD 7870 with a slighting higher Core Clock speed of 1050MHz. This particular example from MSI is the OC Edition (912-V303-020) sporting a factory overclock with a Core Clock of 1120MHz, 70MHz more than a stock card. The card comes equipped with 4GB of GDDR5 memory (a 2GB version is also available), with the memory running at 1400MHz (5600MHz effective). The card supports both DirectX 11.2 and PCI-E 3.0.

 

MSI 270X GAMING OC - box (front) MSI 270X GAMING OC - box (back)

 

As with all of the MSI GAMING branded products the front of the box features the synonymous Dragon, giving the box a great overall look, note the endorsement from Fnatic and the OC Edition labels.

The back of the box lists the specifications and features (see below) and also highlights many of the MSI Radeon R9 270X OC Edition GAMING Graphics Card’s features and technologies, as follows:

  • GAMING APP / EASY TUNE, EASY PLAY
  • OC Mode – Tune up core clock and fan speed to gain a best performance
    Gaming Mode – Provide a stable Gaming experience with higher core clock
    Silent Mode – The best operating environment with extremely low noise
  • MILITARY CLASS 4 – TOP QUALITY & STABILITY
  • One of the deciding factors in performance is the quality of the components used. That is why MSI only use MIL-STD-810G certified components for its Gaming cards because only these components have proven to be able to withstand the torturous circumstances of extreme gaming and overclocking.
  • ADVANCED THERMAL DESIGN / COOLER & QUIETER
  • MSI’s Twin Frozr has been the industry defining graphics card cooler. The first Twin Frozr kicked of the dual-fan trend and today MSI stays true to its dual-fan dual slot design where others have to resort to less effective means, for instance triple-slot cooling.
  • EXPERIENCE – PREDATOR / SHARE FOR FUN
  • A built-in screen and video capturing tool named Predator which captures your screen as still images or videos with the push of a button and allows you to capture and record your coolest, goofiest and most awesome gaming moments on your PC!

     

    MSI 270X GAMING OC - box (open) MSI 270X GAMING OC - box (contents)

     

    On opening the box we get to see the inner black box section within, there’s a thick lid section that is again adorned with MSI’s Gaming Dragon logo. Within the lid itself is where all of the additional accessories can be found. The card was well packaged, sealed in an anti-static bag and protected by soft-cell foam.

    Within the inner box lid we find a Quick User’s Guide, DVI-VGA Adapter, Power Adapter x2 and a Drivers & Utilities disc.

    At the time of this review the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) Graphics Card is retailing for approximately £170 and comes with a 3 year warranty.

     

    Specifications/Features

    courtesy of MSI

    Graphics Engine AMD Radeon™ R9 270X
    Bus Standard PCI Express x16 3.0
    Memory Type GDDR5
    Memory Size(MB) 4096
    Memory Interface 256 bits
    Core Clock Speed(MHz) 1030MHz Core (Boost Clock:1120MHz) (OC mode)
    1030MHz Core (Boost Clock:1080MHz) (Gaming mode)
    1030MHz Core (Boost Clock:1050MHz) (Silent mode)
    Memory Clock Speed(MHz) 5600
    DVI Output 2 (Dual-link DVI-Ix1, Dual-link DVI-Dx1)
    HDMI-Output 1 (version 1.4a)
    DisplayPort 1 (version 1.2)
    HDCP Support Y
    HDMI Support Y
    Dual-link DVI Y
    Display Output (Max Resolution) 2560×1600
    RAMDACs 400
    DirectX Version Support 11.2
    OpenGL Version Support 4.3
    CrossFireSupport Y
    Card Dimension(mm) 260x129x38mm
    Weight 757g

    * Additional details available here

     

    First Impressions

    MSI 270X GAMING OC

    First impressions are good, the card itself looks great (but of course we’ve seen this design before (here) and here), therefore I’m going use the same write-up as I’ve used before as there’s no point reinventing the wheel, so to speak: The colouring is good (red’s always a good choice!) and the fans look really rather cool too. I rather like the new MSI GAMING Series emblem in the centre of the card, lending the overall design a touch of class. The card’s design looks purposeful and more than capable of doing the job, I guess we shall see soon enough! The card’s (dual slot design) isn’t large either with an overall length of only 260mm.

     

    MSI 270X GAMING OC - front MSI 270X GAMING OC - back

     

    The front of the card is dominated by the two 11 blade intake fans, these fans help the MSI Radeon R9 270X OC Edition GAMING to run almost 10% cooler than the reference design, while also remaining quieter.

    It’s also nice to see a back-late fitted to the back of the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition), enhancing not only the card’s rigidity but also its looks. Note the CrossFire connector on the left corner and also the stickers (warranty void if removed) on one of the main heatsink screws. Meaning that should you want to water cool this card, then MSI are not going to honour the warranty, which of course is a shame as some other manufacturers do…

    MSI 270X GAMING OC - left MSI 270X GAMING OC - right

    Looking at the left of the card we see the MSI logo and a heat-pipe, with the two power connectors at the far end (x2 6-pin).

    There’s not much to see on the other side of the card, but in the image above you can clearly see the three large heat-pipes and the heat-sink within the frame of the card.

    MSI 270X GAMING OC - outputs MSI 270X GAMING OC - end

    Looking at the outputs from the card we can see that the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) has x4 ouputs (x2 DVI-D, x1 HDMI & x1 DisplayPort). In addition to this we can see the exhaust vents meaning that the warm air is exhausted both inside and outside of the case. This is often better for the cooling of the cards, but it also means that you’ll want to make sure that the warm air the card generates within the case is also exhausted via a case fan/s.

    The far end of the card reveals very little, apart from giving you an idea of the cooling design within.

    MSI 270X GAMING OC - power & BIOS switch

     

    In the image above you can see a small switch (left of the power connectors) on the side of the PCB. This is the card’s dual BIOS switch, handy should things ever go awry when flashing the BIOS.

     

    Hardware Installation

     

    Installation into our Test Rig (see below) and into the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING motherboard was simple enough, made a little simpler by the card’s short length at 260mm. Cabling was easy with just x2 6-pin power connections needed.

  • Test Rig Setup

  • Case Cooler Master HAF XB Power Supply Corsair AX760i
    Motherboard MSI Z87-G45 GAMING CPU Intel Core i7-4670K
    CPU Cooler Raijintek Themis RAM Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz
    Graphics Card MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) SSD (mSATA – on-board port) ADATA SX300 (64GB)

     

    MSI Radeon R9 270X OC Edition - installed MSI Radeon R9 270X OC Edition - installed (side)

     

    Testing Methodology/Setup

     

    Our Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all associated drivers also installed. AM​​D Catalyst™ 13.12 Driver was installed and used throughout testing.

    For testing purposes we used both MSI’s Gaming App (here) and MSI Afterburner (here), both of which are included with the card.

     

  • Overclocking the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) via the MSI Gaming App
  •  

    MSI Gaming App - description MSI Gaming App - Modes

     

    As you can see there are 3 modes available, obviously we would choose OC mode as opposed to Gaming to ensure maximum performance. Unfortunately if you do use the software to set the mode, the next time you reboot the option has been reset. Which really, in my mind, renders the software next to useless. I’m not a fan of having to install software to get a specific level of performance that I have already paid for! Best just forget about the MSI Gaming App and install MSI’s own Afterburner instead… ;)

     

  • Overclocking the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) via the MSI Afterburner
  •  

    Overclock via Afterburner - Settings

     

    Using MSI Afterburner we were able to overclock the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) even further, by increasing the Power Limit to 120%, the Boost Clock by an additional 60MHz and the memory by 150MHz. This gave us a real world Boost Clock of 1180MHz and a Memory speed of (6200MHz effective).

    The additional overclock on the Core (60MHz) is not that high, but we must consider that the card already sports a factory overclock of an additional 70MHz! The memory overclock on the other hand is much more impressive with an additional 150MHz. When used in conjunction with the additional Core overclock the MSI 270X really began to come to life…

     

    Hardware Performance

     

  • MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) – GAMING MODE (Core: Core: 1120MHz / Mem: 5600MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 22.50 64.00 41.50 84.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 22.50 64.00 41.50 46.4 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 22.50 67.00 44.50 40.33 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 21.50 66.00 44.50 702
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 22.50 63.00 40.50 5371

     

  • MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) – OC MODE (Core: Core: 1080MHz / Mem: 5600MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 22.00 64.00 42.00 86.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 22.00 65.00 43.00 47.70 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 22.50 67.00 44.50 41.00 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 22.50 67.00 44.50 717
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 22.00 64.00 42.00 5490

     

  • MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) – AFTERBURNER OC Settings (Core: Core: 1180MHz / Mem: 6200MHz)
  • Benchmark Ambient Temperature Max GPU Temp Delta Temp Result
    Batman Arkham Origins 22.50 64.00 41.50 92.00 FPS (average)
    Tomb Raider 22.50 64.00 41.50 50.60 FPS (average)
    Metro Last Light 22.50 67.00 44.50 44.00 (average)
    UNiGiNE Heaven 21.50 66.00 44.50 762
    3DMark (Fire Strike) 23.00 63.00 40.00 5792

     

    Comparative Test Results:

     

    Batman Arkham Origins

    Batman Arkham Origins - Benchmark Settings Batman Benchmarks 29-03-14

    Tomb Raider

    Tomb Raider - Benchmark Settings TombRaider Benchmarks 29-03-14

    Metro Last Light

    Metro Last Light - Benchmark Settings Metro Benchmarks 29-03-14

    UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0

    UNiGiNE Heaven - Benchmark Settings UNiGiNE Benchmarks 29-03-14

    3DMark (Fire Strike 1.0)

    3DMark - Benchmark Settings 3dMark Benchmarks 29-03-14

     

    Well the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) may be cheap and it may well be at the bottom of all of our Comparative test results, but all things considered it still packs quite a punch. In its stock Gaming Mode @ 1120MHz the MSI 270X Gaming is able to play Games such as TitanFall and Battlefield 4 at maximum settings at a resolution of 1920×1080! Don’t think about turning Anti-Aliasing on or upping the resolution though as that’s going to push things too far. The extra performance on offer via an additional overclock (I was able to get Core: 1180MHZ / Mem: 6200MHz stable) gave us a far better boost than messing with MSI’s Gaming App…

    You can also see from the benchmarks that the MSI 270X GAMING provides playable framerates in all of our Game based benchmarks (Batman Arkham Origin, Tomb Raider & Metro Last Light). Don’t forget to check out our benchmark settings above and have a go yourself. ;)

    The obvious benchmark anomaly is Batman Arkham Origin; running at 124 FPS on a Nvidia GTX 760 and only 86 FPS on the MSI R9270X! Damn those Drivers! But this is often (and probably always will be) the case, some Games run better with the Green team and some with the Red team. I guess we pays our money and takes our choice…

     

    Final Thoughts

     

    The Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) Graphics Card is another great looking Card from MSI, they really seem to have nailed it with the current range of gaming cards. Not only does the card look good it performs pretty good too, especially when you consider the current street price of around £170.

    There’s even a little more head room for some further overclocking too, I was able to get the card stable with a Core of 1180MHz and a Memory speed of 6200MHz. These overclocks also netted some real world performance increases in Games such as Batman, Tomb raider and Metro Last Light. Amazingly the card not only remained cool (never went above 68 degrees Celsius during testing), but was quiet too. I never really heard the GPU fans above my case fans even when it was under full load, leaving no doubt that the MSI TWIN FROZR IV cooler is more than up to the task.

    There’s very little here to pick fault at to be fair, from MSI’s point of view the only thing I would say is, drop that MSI Gaming App as it’s a little pointless as it stands. But other than the obvious that’s it; but what’s the obvious I hear you ask (you did ask, right!?). Well the performance is obviously not spectacular (i.e it’s no R9 290), but to expect that would be foolish. The AMD Radeon R9 270X is a card aimed clearly at HD resolutions only, you’ll also want to steer clear of those Anti-Aliasing options too.

    But factor in the price and it all begins to make perfect sense. If you can find the 2GB version of this card then even better, as unless you’re running above HD resolutions (and I wouldn’t!) or you’re planning to CrossFire the cards, then the 2GB version will be more than adequate and save you another £10-£20!

    If you’re in the market for a good looking, cool, quiet GPU with enough grunt (just!) to power today’s games at 1920×1080 or less, then the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) should definitely be on your list…

     

    Verdict

    Please Share, Like & Comment below, we really value your thoughts and opinions…

     

      Design/Quality pcGameware awards the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition) a Gold
    Performance
    Value
    Overall

    Many thanks to MSI for providing this sample for review

     



    1. Kārlis Vilks
      April 1st, 2014 at 03:35 | #1

      Please add style line: z-index: 9999!important;
      in your css file, located at: /carcharias/wp-content/plugins/lightbox-2/Themes/Black/lightbox.css line 1, right below line-height: 0;.
      So we can look at zoomed images without the ‘share button slider’ over every image.
      Thanks.

      • James
        April 1st, 2014 at 07:59 | #2

        Thanks man… ATB pcG James