MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3 GB 51

MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3 GB

A Closer Look »

The Card

MSI has engineered a menacing looking card with the HD 7970 Lightning. The yellow highlights add a nice contrast to the black cooler and the silver text.

The card requires two slots in your system.

Display connectivity options include two single-link DVI ports, and four mini-DisplayPorts. You may use all the outputs at the same time.

Please note that both DVI ports are single link, which means they only support up to 2048x1536. To run 2560x1440 or 2560x1600, or anything using 120 Hz, you must either have a monitor with DisplayPort input or buy an active DisplayPort to dual-link DVI adapter. These retail around $100, and I had major problems getting dual link DVI via adapter to work on the HD 7970 Lightning. I ended up buying four adapters total over the course of two weeks, and only the final one gave me a somewhat satisfying experience. Nevertheless, even with the "best" adapter I still experienced intermittent black screens or "link failures". These could be fixed by closing the game using ALT+F4 or CTRL+ALT+DEL and task manager. I asked the adapter manufacturers for firmware updates, but my adapters already had the latest firmware.
Given this nightmarish experience I strongly recommend to not use the HD 7970 Lightning with a dual link DVI monitor. Either buy a native DisplayPort monitor or buy a different graphics card.

An HDMI sound device is included in the GPU, too. It is HDMI 1.4a compatible which includes HD audio and support for Blu-ray 3D movies. The DisplayPort outputs are version 1.2 which enables the use of hubs and Multi-Stream transport.

You may combine up to four HD 7970 cards from any vendor in a multi-GPU CrossFire configuration for higher framerates or better image quality settings.

Pictured above are photos of 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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