MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3 GB Review 48

MSI GTX 780 Lightning 3 GB Review



MSI Logo

It has been little more than three months since NVIDIA launched their GeForce GTX 780 with great success. The card uses the same Kepler GK110 GPU we have seen on the GTX Titan, but with fewer shaders. The new GPU and NVIDIA's new Boost 2.0 algorithm allow the card to offer significant performance improvements over the GeForce GTX 680.

Today, we are reviewing the MSI GeForce GTX 780 Lightning. As the company's flagship, the graphics card comes with massive cooling power, powerful VRM, and several features for overclockers.

With 980 MHz, the MSI GTX 780 Lightning runs a large overclock out of the box. All these improvements do cost $770 though, making the GTX 780 Lightning the most expensive air-cooled GTX 780 available right now.

GTX 780 Market Segment Analysis
GTX 770
HD 7970
GHz Ed.
GTX 680
GTX 780
780 Lightning
GTX Titan
GTX 690
HD 7990
Shader Units1536204815362304230426882x 15362x 2048
ROPs3232324848482x 322x 32
Graphics ProcessorGK104TahitiGK104GK110GK110 GK1102x GK1042x Tahiti
Transistors3500M4310M3500M7100M7100M7100M2x 3500M2x 4310M
Memory Size2048 MB3072 MB2048 MB3072 MB3072 MB6144 MB2x 2048 MB2x 3072 MB
Memory Bus Width256 bit384 bit256 bit384 bit384 bit384 bit2x 256 bit2x 384 bit
Core Clock1046 MHz+1050 MHz1006 MHz+863 MHz+980 MHz+837 MHz+915 MHz+1000 MHz
Memory Clock1753 MHz1500 MHz1502 MHz1502 MHz1502 MHz1502 MHz1502 MHz1500 MHz


Package Front
Package Back


You will receive:
  • Graphics card
  • Driver CD + documentation
  • 2x PCIe power cable
  • DVI adapter
  • 3x voltage measurement cable
  • Long SLI bridge
  • VRM heatsink for watercooling / liquid nitrogen

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

MSI's new cooler gives the card a more boxy look than previous Lightnings. The GPU reactor on the back is now black instead of blue. Dimensions of the card are 13 x 27 cm.

Graphics Card Height

Installation requires three slots in your system since the cooler extends about 0.25 slots above the slot cover. The GPU reactor on the back also increases the card's thickness, which shouldn't be an issue since you will need an extra slot between cards to accommodate the thicker cooler.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

Display connectivity options include two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. You may use all outputs at the same time, so triple-monitor surround gaming is possible with one card.

The GPU also includes an HDMI sound device. It is HDMI 1.4a compatible, which includes HD audio and Blu-ray 3D movies support.

Two available SLI connectors allow you to combine up to three GTX 780 cards in a Triple-SLI, multi-GPU configuration. NVIDIA decided to disable Quad-SLI on the GTX 780, so that feature is reserved for the GTX Titan only.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Pictured above are the front and back, showing the disassembled board. High-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods, etc., please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.
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Jul 1st, 2022 10:26 EDT change timezone

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