Tuesday, March 6th 2012

MSI HD 7970 Lightning "GPU Reactor" Detailed

If you've seen the first pictures of MSI's Radeon HD 7970 Lightning graphics cards, you may have noticed an unusual-looking round cutout on its backplate, right behind the GPU. We are learning that this cutout, and the tiny headers on the exposed PCB are actually a socket for what MSI is referring to as a "GPU Reactor" (I can imagine Iron Man fans prepping their flame throwers right about now).

The "GPU Reactor" is a round add-on device that sits on this socket. It is essentially an add-on PCB that holds a battery of tantalum capacitors, which further conditions power for the GPU. Apart from capacitors, there are a few blue LEDs and a round, transparent window that make it light up. To what extant this gadget helps with maintaining stable OCs remains to be seen, but on the "flip-side", it could pose spacing issues with other add-on cards located right above HD 7970 Lightning cards that are outfitted with one of these.

Source: Lab501.ro
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53 Comments on MSI HD 7970 Lightning "GPU Reactor" Detailed

+1. Not seeing many above 1k at Hwbot for vantage (one of the hardest to pass) with "stock"/"air" cooling.
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neliz said:
Reach clocks or actually benchmark at those speeds?
I don't see them on hwbot.org and if the cards clocked that easy, that well and passed benchmarks, they would totally dominate all benchmarks.
That's exactly my point! I'm going nuts just to try and understand how they didn't completely conquered the entire benchmark world!

Had 6 HD5850's
4 reference and two sapphire (Blue PCB ones)
one of the sapphire's could run perfectly stable at 1GHZ on 1.16V core and the other 1.18V
while all the reference designs i had managed to achieve this only at 1.25-1.29V

Even at stock-voltage overclocking they were utter beasts. At the same base voltage all the HD5850 could reach 835Mhz core clock
The sapphire cards could reach 925Mhz and 935Mhz on their core (same voltage as reference)

Same story with the HD6970. look here:
This overclock is UN-machable. Every HD6970 ive ever tested wont reach those clocks even at the highest voltage possible VIA software control

All those years experimenting with sapphire's amazing PCBs made me a die-hard sapphire fan, they earned it.
When I saw the leaked details about an ATOMIC cards operating at 1335MHZ it blew my mind, becuase i knew they will create another amazing UniPCB for the HD7900 series so i could enjoy ground-breaking overclocking abilities on simple HD7950 designs. As for now ive tested three HD7950s, two reference PCB'd ones and XFX's BE, the all passed 40+% overclocking over reference speeds, with sapphire's PCB i wouldn't be surprised to see 60-70 figures.

Now, thing is that i have no experience overclocking those graphics cards on a sub-ambient cooling but i can guess they wont be as good as cards like MSI's lightning edition. So their big advantages will be seen by the air\water cooling users.
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You can pre order this card from OCUK for £499. Just ordered one. Thought I was gonna buy it and have it deliverd tomorrow, didn't realise it wasn't in stock yet, gutted! They get them in on the 30th of this month.
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