MSI HD 7950 Twin Frozr III 3072 MB Review 23

MSI HD 7950 Twin Frozr III 3072 MB Review


Value and Conclusion

  • Exact pricing for the MSI HD 7950 Twin Frozr III is not available yet, we expect around $480, which would be in-line with other custom design offerings.
  • Good performance increase vs. HD 6950
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Excellent energy efficiency
  • Good overclocking potential, especially with voltage
  • Low noise output
  • Native full-size HDMI & DisplayPort output
  • Dual BIOS
  • 3 GB of memory
  • Adds support for PCI-Express 3.0 and DirectX 11.1
  • Support for multiple independent audio streams
  • High price
  • CCC Overdrive limits too low
MSI's custom design Radeon HD 7950 comes with the company's well-tested Twin Frozr III cooler that we have seen on many other cards before. The new dual-fan thermal solution provides greatly reduced temperatures and fan noise when compared to the AMD reference board. Compared to PowerColor's HD 7950 PCS+, the noise level is higher, but the temperatures are a bit lower. Personally I'd rather have less noise, than temperatures going from 70°C to 60°C (which has no effect other than the numbers being smaller in your monitoring app).
In terms of performance, the HD 7950 TF III delivers about 5% higher real-life performance than the AMD reference design, thanks to the increased GPU clock speed of 880 MHz (vs. 800 on the reference design). Unfortunately memory has seen no clock increase, which would have been easy to do - there is lots of overclock headroom with memory.
Overclocking on MSI's new card works well, but without voltage increases we see smaller OC potential than on the HD 7950s we tested before. Once we cranked up the voltage, the card really takes off and reached a new record at 1245 MHz.
We see slightly increased power draw in non-3D states due to different component selection in the voltage regulation circuitry. This is no big deal, since the difference is only 3-4 W, but it is consistent. Since the card uses the same CHL8228 voltage controller as the reference designs, overclocking with existing tools will be a breeze, and the card is officially supported by MSI Afterburner, too.
MSI could not provide a final price for the card yet, but we assume it will clock in at $480, like the other custom-design HD 7950 cards. If you look for additional cooling, or want to reduce the noise levels over the AMD reference design, the cost seems justified. Just for overclocking potential, to maximize price/performance, $30 will not be worth it. Just like all other HD 7900 series cards from all manufacturers, the pricing feels a tad bit high, but that's not MSI's fault. It seems AMD is keeping prices high to reap the benefits of being first to market.
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