What's new
  • Please do not post any links until you have 3 posts as they will automatically be rejected to prevent SPAM. Many words are also blocked due to being used in SPAM Messages. Thanks!

MSI GTX 670 Power Edition OC Review

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
MSI has been making their competition a bit worried as of late. With a combination of excellent performance, advanced features, the highly regarded Twin Frozr heatsinks and rock bottom pricing, customers have been flocking to the MSI banner. The GTX 670 Power Edition OC is one of their many cards that have been making their way into the hands of enthusiasts and gamers alike. Its focus is primarily upon delivering an affordable custom-designed card to end users that don’t have the money for a GTX 680 but still want a high performance gaming experience.


As with many other overclocked GTX 670 cards, the Power Edition OC’s performance benefits come from a higher base clock, an increased Power Limit in the BIOS and a boost clock that’s been given a bump of just over 10%. Unfortunately, once again, the GDDR5 clocks have remained at their default levels but they can still be easily overclocked with MSI’s AfterBurner. Supposedly, memory overclocks have been curtailed by many of NVIDIA’s board partners in an effort to decrease binning time and increase GDDR5 yields.

After our experiences in previous reviews, an “Average Clock” row has been added to the chart above, which essentially shows the typical core speed achieved throughout our testing suite. Luckily, the MSI GTX 670 Power Edition OC didn’t exhibit any odd characteristics in this area as its in-game speeds typically hit a certain level and stayed there without fluctuating much. With that being said, the OC’s clock speeds will likely put its performance at a point somewhere between ASUS’ TOP edition and Gigabyte’s own WindForce OC.

Currently, the GTX 670 Power Edition OC is going for $409 with a $25 mail in rebate, making it only $384. On top of that, for a limited time all NVIDIA GTX 600-series cards come with a free download code for Borderlands 2, which happens to be a $60 value provided you haven’t already purchased it. This should make MSI’s card one of the least expensive GTX 670s currently on the market, even without the game’s inclusion. Against AMD’s new HD 7950 Boost Edition, the price / performance ratio does fall by the wayside a bit but the PE’s other features and higher clock speeds add a value of their own to this equation.

MSI’s 3 year warranty (no registration required) is par for the course in this industry but with localized RMA facilities in Canada and the United States, the actual return experience should be relatively smooth.

 
Last edited:

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
A Closer Look at the MSI GTX 670 Power Edition OC

A Closer Look at the MSI GTX 670 Power Edition OC



For those who have seen MSI’s other cards from the last few generations, the GTX 670 Power Edition’s design is déjà vu all over again. Like past designs, it uses the Twin Frozr IV heatsink, a predominantly black fan shroud and a touch of blue to distinguish it from the Lightning series.


The Twin Frozr IV is currently one of the most highly regarded heatsink designs on the market, and with good reason. It uses five large heatpipes that make direct contact with the core to conduct heat towards the fin array, which is then cooled by the two large 80mm fans. MSI has also included secondary cast aluminum heatsinks over the VRM components to enhance heat distribution and hopefully allow for additional overclocking stability.

While the Twin Frozr IV may use an enviable design, its large internal components cause it to project past the custom PCB’s edge by 1”, making the GTX 670 Power Edition OC about 10.5” long. MSI actually adapts this basic heatsink layout for lower end and premium cards (like the Lightning) by upscaling or downgrading a few elements.


The Power Edition’s fans are programmed to counter rotate at high speeds for about 30 seconds at system startup in order to remove any dust that’s been accumulating on the heatsink fins. This “dust removal technology” is supposed to keep the Twin Frozr IV heatsink operating at peak thermal efficiency so temperatures don’t deviate over the card’s lifetime.


As some of you may remember, the reference GTX 670’s PCB is extremely short but MSI has expanded upon this to ensure compatibility with the Power Edition’s upgraded components and enhanced 5+2 phase PWM design. Unfortunately, the PCB’s faintly brown color may be a turn-off for some people.





As with every “Power Edition” card, the GTX 670 version incorporates a number of items which are meant to enhance overclocking and longevity while also ensuring the utmost stability when using MSI’s unique Triple Overvoltage feature. Unfortunately, we can’t conclusively test any of these claims here.


MSI has been talking about Military Class III components for some time now and most of their high end graphics cards ship with a certificate proclaiming this status. Military Class III is simply a marketing term that means MSI chooses the highest quality components, all of which are MIL-STD-810G certified. While this may not mean all that much for your run of the mill layman, it should (hopefully) lead to increase ASIC longevity.


The frugal power requirements of NVIDIA’s Kepler-based GTX 670 allow the Power Edition OC to use a pair of 6-pin connectors while still retailing enough overhead for overclocking. In the picture above, you can also see how MSI utilizes a full-length retention / stiffening strip to reinforce the PCB against flex.

Every one of NVIDIA’s board partners seems to be content using the reference design’s video outputs. They consist of two DVI connectors, a HDMI and finally a DisplayPort connector, which –when properly used- allows for 3+1 NVIDIA surround configurations.
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Test System & Setup / Benchmark Sequences

Main Test System

Processor: Intel i7 3930K @ 4.5GHz
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 32GB @ 1866MHz
Motherboard: ASUS P9X79 WS
Cooling: Corsair H80
SSD: 2x Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
Monitor: Samsung 305T / 3x Acer 235Hz
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 SP1


Acoustical Test System

Processor: Intel 2600K @ stock
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB 1600MHz
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68V-PRO Gen3
Cooling: Thermalright TRUE Passive
SSD: Corsair Performance Pro 256GB
Power Supply: Seasonic X-Series Gold 800W


Drivers:
NVIDIA 304.48 Beta
AMD 12.7 Beta

***Note that the GTX 660 Ti used in the following tests is an EVGA Superclocked version that has received a BIOS flash with reference specifications. Unfortunately, downclocking a Kepler-based pre-overclocked card WILL NEVER result in performance that replicates a reference design as the only way of modifying the base clock is through a modified BIOS.

Application Benchmark Information:
Note: In all instances, in-game sequences were used. The videos of the benchmark sequences have been uploaded below.


Batman: Arkham City

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Oia84huCvLI?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Oia84huCvLI?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Battlefield 3

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/i6ncTGlBoAw?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/i6ncTGlBoAw?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Crysis 2

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bc7_IAKmAsQ?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Bc7_IAKmAsQ?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Deus Ex Human Revolution

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GixMX3nK9l8?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GixMX3nK9l8?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Dirt 3

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/g5FaVwmLzUw?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/g5FaVwmLzUw?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Metro 2033

<object width="480" height="360"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/8aZA5f8l-9E?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8aZA5f8l-9E?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480" height="360" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Shogun 2: Total War

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/oDp29bJPCBQ?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/oDp29bJPCBQ?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Skyrim

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/HQGfH5sjDEk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/HQGfH5sjDEk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Wargame: European Escalation

<object width="640" height="480"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/ztXmjZnWdmk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/ztXmjZnWdmk?version=3&hl=en_US&rel=0" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="480" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​


Witcher 2 v2.0

<object width="560" height="315"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/tyCIuFtlSJU?version=3&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/tyCIuFtlSJU?version=3&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="560" height="315" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"></embed></object>​

*Notes:

- All games tested have been patched to their latest version

- The OS has had all the latest hotfixes and updates installed

- All scores you see are the averages after 3 benchmark runs

All IQ settings were adjusted in-game and all GPU control panels were set to use application settings
 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
3DMark 11 (DX11)

3DMark 11 (DX11)


3DMark 11 is the latest in a long line of synthetic benchmarking programs from the Futuremark Corporation. This is their first foray into the DX11 rendering field and the result is a program that incorporates all of the latest techniques into a stunning display of imagery. Tessellation, depth of field, HDR, OpenCL physics and many others are on display here. In the benchmarks below we have included the results (at default settings) for both the Performance and Extreme presets.


Performance Preset



Extreme Preset

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Batman: Arkham City (DX11)

Batman: Arkham City (DX11)


Batman: Arkham City is a great looking game when all of its detail levels are maxed out but it also takes a fearsome toll on your system. In this benchmark we use a simple walkthrough that displays several in game elements. The built-in benchmark was avoided like the plague simply because the results it generates do not accurately reflect in-game performance.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Battlefield 3 (DX11)

Battlefield 3 (DX11)


For this benchmark, we used a sequence from the Rock and Hard Place mission. The results may seem lower than normal and this is due to the fact that after playing through the game multiple times, this one are was found to be the most demanding on the GPU. As with all of the tests, we try to find a worst case scenario in order to ensure a given card can properly play through the whole game instead of just a “typical” section.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Crysis 2 (DX11)

Crysis 2 (DX11)


Crysis 2 with the DX11 and Texture Package installed not only looks great but it is a strain on any GPU. For this benchmark, we used a classic runthrough which includes far views, explosions, combat and close-in knifing; basically every hallmark of gameplay.

1920 x 1200



2560 x 1600

 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX11)

Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DX11)


Deus Ex: Human Revolution may not be the hardest game for today’s high end gaming rigs to render. While the game mostly takes place indoors, it is the few outdoor areas that put additional strain on graphics cards. So for this test, we use one of the more involved outdoor sections: the Sharif Manufacturing Loading Docks.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Dirt 3 (DX11)

Dirt 3 (DX11)


Dirt 3 isn’t all that much different from its predecessor but the developers have added a few more visual touches but boost image quality. In this case, we used the Michigan Rally track since it features some of the hardest to render features of the game: expansive vistas, water, dirt effects, trees and many other items.

1920 x 1200





2560 x 1600



 

SKYMTL

HardwareCanuck Review Editor
Staff member
Joined
Feb 26, 2007
Messages
12,857
Location
Montreal
Metro 2033 (DX11)

Metro 2033 (DX11)


For this test we use a walkthrough and combat scene from The Bridge level which starts at the beginning of the level and lasts for about 3 minutes of walking, running and combat. Famerates are measured with FRAPS and Advanced PhysX is turned off.

1920 x 1200



2560 x 1600

 
Top