Taste The Lightning: MSI Reveals Two New Graphics Cards

This week, Micro Star International; the world leader in the manufacture of computer components, released what may be two of the best graphics cards on the market: the Geforce N580GTX Lightning and Radeon R6970 Lightning. These are some nice cards here, folks.

It might be worth mentioning that the two different 'models' of Lightning hail from two different companies: specifically, Nvidia and ATI. Most of you have probably already noticed this. In case you were wondering,. Both of the "Lightning" cards will have very similar capabilities- though it looks as if the 6970 might be just a touch more powerful than the N580 GTX. 

The Specs

Looking at what this piece of tech can do, it's no small wonder that the word "Lightning" is part of its name.  The Nvidia Card's specs are as follows: 

  • 1536 MB Memory
  • 832 MHz Core Clock Speed
  • 4200 MHz Memory Clock Speed
  • 384 Bits Memory Interface

 And the ATI Radeon card: 

  • 2048 MB Active Memory
  • 940 MHz Core Clock Speed
  • 5500 MHz Memory Clock Speed
  • 256 Bits Memory Interface

It might be worth mentioning that the N580 GTX features Nvidia's trademark SLI technology. This gives it a bit of an edge over the R6970. As well, the N580's got a more powerful memory interface- meaning it can rely more on the RAM of the computer system, rather than its internal memory. Both cards also support GPU/Voltage adjustments. 

A full list of the specifications can be found on MSI's Website.

The Hardware

Make no mistake- these are some high quality graphics cards. MSI has made no secret of the fact that they used military grade components in their graphics cards-Military Class II components, if you want specifics. Okay, okay, that could just be them blowing hot air. I mean, sure, it sounds nice on paper- but what does it mean, exactly? 

I could go on and on about what specific pieces of hardware they've packed into their graphics cards, but you're probably all more interested in what said hardware can do. The new Lightning graphics cards have 10% higher efficiency, 30% increase in maximum current, last about 8 times as long and have a durability that puts a lot of other cards to shame. (Benchmark Reviews). This increased durability, as well as the improved cooling system MSI's developed makes these two beasts ideal choices for overclocking. 

Oh,and the cooling system (a Twin Frozr III cooler consisting of two 90mm PWM fans and 3 copper heatpipes) is not only quieter than most other processors, but much more efficient, as well.  Really, though...you could go on all day about what military components are in the cards, how they use this, that, or the other thing. Ultimately, one thing is clear above all else: whatever materials they may be using, you can't argue with the quality. 

If you want a more detailed breakdown of the materials and components used in the Lightning,You can check out Benchmark Reviews or Hardware Zone.

Final Word

Whether you're going with ATI or Nvidia, the Lightning's a nice choice if you're a gamer or an overclocker. Both cards are durable and long lasting, and each model brings something unique to the table. Though the R6970 is mightier than its counterpart, Nvidia's SLI technology does grant the N580 GTX an edge over the ATI R6970's raw power. Now, I've got some bad news for all of you: cards like this, they don't come cheap.

The Nvidia card goes for around $700.00, The ATI for about $550.00.  

Still, it's likely worth it in the long run. You can preorder the card of your choice here.  Oddly enough, there's no place to preorder the card on MSI's website- The UK site was the only one I was able to track down.