MSI is using a new version of their Twin Frozr cooling solution called Twin Frozr III. Its stylish black with red highlights is definitely eye-pleasing. The card is also a good deal bigger than a normal graphics card, especially the height is considerably increased.
MSI's GTX 480 Lightning requires two slots in your system.
A small switch lets you select from two BIOSes available. By default the second BIOS is optimized for LN2 usage which means no temperature limit (so no cold bug) and no optimized fan control.
The card has two DVI ports, one DisplayPort and one HDMI port. Unlike AMD's latest GPUs, the output logic design is not as flexible. On AMD cards vendors are free to combine six TMDS links into any output configuration they want (dual-link DVI consuming two links) - and use them all at the same time. On NVIDIA cards you can use only two displays at the same time, so for a three monitor setup you would need two cards.
NVIDIA has included an HDMI sound device inside their GPU, which does away with the requirement of connecting an external audio source to the card for HDMI audio. The HDMI interface is HDMI 1.3a compatible which includes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, AC-3, DTS and up to 7.1 channel audio with 192 kHz / 24-bit output. NVIDIA also claims full support for the 3D portion of the HDMI 1.4 specification which will become important later this year when we will see first Blu-ray 3D titles shipping.
You may combine up to three GTX 480 cards in SLI. While the optimum configuration is certainly multiple GTX 480 Lightning cards, you can also pair it with a "normal" GTX 480.
Here are the front and the back of the card, 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.