MSI’s R6970 Lightning and N580GTX Lightning sneak peek

Two big, expensive and powerful cards

AS OF LATELY, MSI has gained a bit of fame with the graphics card overclocking community largely thanks to its N480GTX Lightning and we can now offer you a sneak peek at what MSI has coming next, namely the R6970 Lightning and N580GTX Lightning. Both boards use a much larger PCB than you normally get on a graphics card, akin to the N480GTX Lightning, but MSI has come up with a new cooling solution called Twin Frozr III which aesthetically looks much better than the older card.

Starting with the N580GTX Lightning it doesn’t look like there are any huge changes to the PCB itself, although the new cooling solution does away with the red plastic in favour for a new gunmetal grey finish across most of the shroud. We can’t say if MSI has made any changes to the PCB, as we weren’t able to remove the cooler, although it appears that the rear metal “shielding” is gone and you’re now left with two rather than three power connectors.

The N580GTX Lightning uses a 16 phase PWM design and overclockers can adjust the Voltage for the GPU, Memory and PLL via MSI’s Afterburner software. The card features a pair of DVI-I connectors, an HDMI port and a DisplayPort connector, although you’re limited to using only two of them at one time. We also noticed a BIOS switch at the rear of the PCB, a feature the N480GTX Lightning didn’t have. As for clock speeds we’ll have to wait until the official launch which we expect will take place at CES.

This brings us to the R6970 Lightning, which at first sight, appears identical to the N580GTX Lightning. However, a different port layout including a pair of DVI-I ports, an HDMI port and two mini DisplayPort connectors ups the connectivity options. MSI has used an 18 phase PWM design for the R6970 Lightning and again, there’s Voltage control for the GPU, memory and VDDCI via MSI’s Afterburner software. As with all Radeon HD 6970 cards, this one also has a BIOS switch. [Joke removed at MSI’s request] We’re expecting this model to launch at CES alongside the N580GTX Lightning.S|A

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