MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC Graphics Card Review
Today I will be taking a look at the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC Graphics Card, this particular GTX 780 features a completely new custom cooler the Twin Frozr IV (Advanced). This custom cooler allows the card to run both cooler and quieter than the NVIDIA reference design. According to MSI the Twin Frozr IV cooler provides a 14 degree drop in operating temperatures and a 12 dB decrease in operating noise levels (under full load), when compared to the NVIDIA reference design.
This particular card from MSI is from their GAMING range meaning that the card not only has a custom cooler, but also comes with a pretty hefty factory overclock. With a base clock of 954MHz, a Boost Clock of 1006MHz and a memory speed of 6008MHz (effective), this is the fastest (on paper) GTX 780 we have seen to date.
The front of the box sports the somewhat familiar Dragon of MSI’s GAMING series products. There’s not much given away on the front of the box, but worth noting is the OC (overclock) logo in the bottom left corner.
The back of the box lists the specifications and features (see below) and also highlights many of the TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC’s technologies, as follows:
|Gaming Mode – Tune up core clock and fan speed to get good gaming experience.|
|Eco Mode – Reduce core clock and fan speed to get comfortable environment and save power.|
|Default Mode – Back to original settings.|
|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.|
|MSI’s Twin Frozr has been the industries 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.|
|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 captures and record your coolest, goofiest and most awesome gaming moments on your PC!|
On opening the box we get to see the inner-box adorned with the MSI GAMING Series logo. Lifting out the inner-box allows you to see the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC Graphics Card for the first time.
The card itself was well packaged with thick soft-cell foam.
Within the inner box we find a Quick User’s Guide, DVI-VGA Adapter, Power Adapter, 6-pin to 8-pin adapter, and a Drivers & Utilities disc.
At the time of this review the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC Graphics Card is retailing for approximately £560 and comes with a 2 year warranty.
courtesy of MSI
|Graphics Engine||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780|
|Bus Standard||PCI Express x16 3.0|
|Memory Interface||384 bits|
|Core Clock Speed(MHz)||954 (Boost Clock: 1006) (OC mode)|
|Memory Clock Speed(MHz)||6008|
|DVI Output||2 (Dual-link DVI-I x 1, Dual-link DVI-D x 1)|
|HDMI-Output||1 (version 1.4a)|
|DisplayPort||1 (version 1.2)|
|Display Output (Max Resolution)||2560×1600|
|DirectX Version Support||11.1 API (feature level 11_0)|
|OpenGL Version Support||4.3|
|Card Dimension(mm)||266x129x38 mm|
First impressions are good, the card itself looks great, 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. As you can see from the image below the new Advanced Twin Frozr IV Thermal Design is vastly different to the GTX 780 reference design, this cooler looks a little more purposeful but maybe not quite as elegant. The card is basically the same size as the reference cooler (266x129x38 mm) apart from an increase in height of around 18mm.
The front of the card is dominated by the two 11 blade intake fans, these fans help the MSI GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC run 20% cooler than the reference design.
The back of the card is relatively featureless and as you can see there’s no additional back-plate which is a shame for such a high-end card.
Looking at the left of the card we no longer see that lovely GEFORCE logo from the reference design, which is a shame. It would be nice if manufacturers spent a little more time on the design of this side of the card, as if your case has a window, this is the most you’re likely to see of your Graphics Card. Here we see and MSI logo and a heat-pipe, with the two power connectors at the far end (x1 8-pin & x1 6-pin).
It does appear that the heat-pipe is very close to the power connectors, it may be difficult to get those cables in and out, we shall see…
There’s not much to see on the other side of the card, but in the image below you can clearly see the four large heat-pipes and the heat-sink within the frame of the card.
Looking at the outputs from the card we can see that the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC has x4 ouputs (x2 DVI-D, HDMI & DisplayPort). In addition to this we can see the exhaust vents, although unlike the reference design this card’s cooling design means 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.
Installation into our Test Rig (see blow) and into the MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING motherboard was simple enough, made a little simpler by the card’s relatively short length at 266mm (1mm less than the reference design). Cabling was easy with just x1 8-pin and x1 6-pin power connections needed. The power connectors were easy enough to insert, but far more difficult to remove as the clip that needs to be depressed is too close to the heat-pipe, meaning that you risked flexing the card when trying to press the clip down.
|Case||CM Storm Stryker||Power Supply||Corsair AX860|
|Motherboard||MSI Z87-GD65 GAMING||CPU||Intel Core i7-4770K|
|CPU Cooler||Cosair H100||RAM||Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz|
|Graphics Card||MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GTX 780 (OC Edition)||SSD (mSATA – on-board port)||ADATA SX300 (64GB)|
Our Test Rig was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 Home Premium 64Bit (Service Pack 1) with all associated drivers also installed. Version 320.49 of NVIDIA’s GEFORCE R320 GAME READY DRIVER was installed and used throughout testing.
First a quick word about NVIDIA’s GPU Boost 2.0 as it works slightly differently to other Boosts that we have seen in the past. The main goal of GPU Boost 2.0 here is to keep the card within its TDP of 250W and keep the card at less than 80 degrees Celsius. What this means is that if the card begins to draw more than 250W or if the card tries to exceed 80 degrees then the card will begin to throttle itself (wind the core clock speed down!).
In the case of the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC the card will always run at a minimum (apart from thermal overload!) of 954MHz (that’s a 11% increase over stock) and Boost to 1006MHz. But in practice while the TDP is low, you’ll see the card boosting at up to around 1032MHz, maybe more. But if the card heats up and gets to 80 degrees the Core Clock will slowly but surely drop back towards 954MHz.
OC Mode – Switching the Card into Gaming Mode via the MSI Gaming App forces the Boost Clock up to 1084MHz, it’s a simple single button press. Setting the card to Gaming Mode forces the card back to its default overclocked (1006MHz) setting.
Using MSI Afterburner we were able to overclock the MSI GTX 780 OC even further, by increasing the Power Limit to 103%, the Boost Clock by an additional 100MHz and the memory by a massive 500MHz! This gave us a real world Boost Clock of 1124MHz and a Memory speed of 3500MHz (7000MHz effective). That’s some pretty impressive numbers, especially the 1GHz increase in memory speed (and it shows in the benchmarks (red))! This was done with no increase in voltage and the temperature of the card remained below 76 degrees at all times, despite an ambient of 26 degrees. That’s impressive stuff and really proves that the Twin Frozr VI design is working extremely well.
|3DMark (Fire Strike 1.0)||UNiGiNE Heaven 4.0||UNiGiNE Valley 1.0||Tomb Raider (1.00.722.3)||Metro Last Light|
- Blacklight Retribution
- Metro Last Light
- Ghost Recon Online
- Battlefield 3
- League of Legends>
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||25.50||68.00||42.50||8708|
|3DMark (Fire Strike – EXTREME)||25.50||68.00||42.50||4431|
|UNiGiNE Heaven||25.00||68.00||43.00||FPS 53.4 Score 1340|
|UNiGiNE Valley||25.00||68.00||42.00||FPS 63.2 Score 2644|
|Tomb Raider||25.50||69.00||43.50||76.9 FPS (average)|
|Metro Last Light||25.50||68.00||42.50||64.00 (average)|
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||25.50||69.00||43.50||8991|
|3DMark (Fire Strike – EXTREME)||26.00||70.00||44.00||4587|
|UNiGiNE Heaven||25.50||70.00||44.50||FPS 55.8 Score 1406|
|UNiGiNE Valley||25.50||69.00||43.50||FPS 64Score 2678|
|Tomb Raider||25.00||69.00||44.00||80.3 FPS (average)|
|Metro Last Light||25.50||70.00||45.00||66.33 (average)|
|Benchmark||Ambient Temperature||Max GPU Temp||Delta Temp||Result|
|3DMark (Fire Strike)||25.50||75.00||49.50||9526|
|3DMark (Fire Strike – EXTREME)||25.50||75.00||49.50||4850|
|UNiGiNE Heaven||25.00||75.00||50.00||FPS 59.6 Score 1503|
|UNiGiNE Valley||25.00||75.00||50.00||FPS 69.7 Score 2916|
|Tomb Raider||25.50||75.00||49.50||84.5 FPS (average)|
|Metro Last Light||25.00||76.00||50.00||70.67 (average)|
Only a few weeks ago I was writing the words ‘the fastest Graphics Card’, well now that card has been bested by the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC. In all of the tests (apart from Metro LL) the MSI card beats the EVGA GEFORCE GTX 780 SC tested only a few weeks ago. I would imagine a Driver update has caused the Metro Last Light scores to dip a little.
I like the one click overclocking feature, via MSI’s Gaming App, although this would be more welcome if it were a button on the card itself, similar to the OC Genie button found on MSI’s Z87 GD-65 GAMING motherboard. The card overclocked well and behaved itself when it failed/crashed. As you can see from the scores above in the Overclocked test (Red), the card really comes to life when the memory is given an extra boost. Going from 6GHz to 7GHz is impressive, although it seems most GTX 780’s are capable of this.
More importantly though, not only is the MSI GTX 780 OC faster, but it’s both cooler and quieter than the EVGA card with its reference design. The highest temperature we saw, even when overclocked to the max was around 76 degrees, well within the card’s thermal limits. From a Gaming standpoint, the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC is the best card yet tested; as far as the design, cooling, noise and performance levels go the card’s as close to perfect as you’re likely to get…
Not only is the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC the fastest Nvidia GTX 780 that we’ve tested here at pcGameware, but is also the fastest card we’ve tested full stop! It’s also cool, quiet and looks good to boot…
The card came well packaged in an MSI GAMING series box, adorned with their Dragon logo of course. The card itself with its Twin Frozr IV design looks pretty good too and with the splash of red should go with a good deal of rig builds. The card is about the same size as the Nvidia reference design, but is about 18mm taller, although this is unlikely to bother most modern cases.
This Gaming card from MSI is all about performance of course and even straight out of the box this GTX 780 sports some pretty impressive specifications with a 954MHz Base Clock and a 1006MHz Boost Clock. Even more impressive is that the Boost Clock can be boosted further via MSI’s Gaming App to 1084MHz. Add to this the fact that we found we could overclock that Boost Clock even further to 1124MHz and the Memory to 7GHz (effective) via MSI’s own Afterburner application! And if stellar performance isn’t enough for you, then maybe the fact that the card also remained cool (less than 76 degrees) and quiet during testing can only be the cherry on the top of an already tasty cake.
The only thing that I would have liked to have seen is the overclock to the Boost Clock being made via a button/switch aboard the card itself instead of via software. As it stands you have to run up MSI’s Gaming App each time and manually select OC Mode, which is a little frustrating. But it’s a small price to pay for what is obviously a great performing Graphics Card.
While on the subject of price, although the price of Nvidia GTX 780s has dropped since launch the MSI TWIN FROZR GAMING GEFORCE GTX 780 OC is still an expensive Graphics Card. But with a street price of close to £530 at the time of review, it’s still good value for money for probably one of the best Gaming Graphics Cards on the market today.
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Many thanks to MSI for providing this sample for review