Nvidia’s launch of the GTX 670 has really shaken up the high-end GPU segment and it’s about time as well. AMD were the first to get their cards in the market, but they didn’t anticipate Kepler to be this powerful and also so competitive in pricing. Today we’ll be looking at MSI’s take on the HD 7950 with their Twin Frozr edition. We’ve loved these versions of GPUs from MSI and this time is no different.
Design and Build
MSI has stripped off the stock cooler and slapped on one of their custom coolers. The card is bare, apart from a bit of trim on the front. This gives you a clear view of the massive heatsink sitting on the PCB and also makes it easy to clean any dust that will eventually settle on it. It’s quite a heavy card as well due to all the metal used. The aluminium heatsink also features heatpipes that carry the heat from the core and spreads it through the fins. This is then cooled by the twin ‘propeller’ type fans. The blades are designed in a way to move maximum air without being making a lot of noise.
A very well built card
The rear ports, include a DVI-I, standard HDMI and two miniDP ports. The ports also come with plastic inserts to prevent dust and moisture settling down on the unused ports. You get two CrossFireX connectors for quad CrossFire. Just like the reference card, you need two 6-pin power connectors to power it up.
The Twin Frozr edition from MSI is designed for overclocking, but the card isn’t heavily overclocked out-of-the-box. They’ve only bumped up the core frequency to 880MHz from 800MHz, while everything else is left at stock. MSI leaves it up to the user to tweak the settings, as per their liking through their Afterburner program. This is one of the best utilities out there, when it comes to monitoring your graphics card and tweaking the settings. The R7950 also has overvoltage support, which means you can push the play with the voltages as well for a more stable overclock.
Good set of connectors
The graphics card also boasts of their Military Class III components, which include Hi-C CAP for the GPU, which supplies more precise voltage to the components on the card. The capacitors are of the Japanese solid state type for a longer lifespan. Finally, the card supports all the features found on AMD’s Souther Islands chipset like Eyefinity, DX11, etc.
- Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K CPU @ 3.40 GHz
- Motherboard: GIGABYTE P67A-UD3R
- Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB (4GB x 2) @1600MHz
- Hard drive: Intel SSD 520 240GB (Boot Drive), WD Velociraptor 300GB (Secondary Drive)
- GPU: MSI R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5
- PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro 1000W
- OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
The card runs extremely silent even when stressed during gaming as well as FurMark. Thanks to the open air design of the card, it runs pretty cool as well. On idle, we recorded a temperature of 44 degrees Celsius, while the load temperatures settled at 71 degrees Celsius.
3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark Corporation to determine the performance of a computer's 3D graphic rendering and CPU workload processing capabilities. The latest version makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11, including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. We used the ‘Performance’ preset for this benchmark.
Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and is based on the new Frostbite 2 game engine. The game only supports DX10 and DX11, which enables enhanced in-game destruction with Destruction 3.0, creating more refined physics, than its predecessor and quasi-realtime radiosity using Geomerics' Enlighten technology. The game is a visual treat and a nightmare for graphics cards, which makes it perfect for our test. We used the ‘Ultra High’ preset, Post AA – High, Blur – Full, Field of View - 90, Level – ‘Fear no Evil’.
Crysis 2 is a first-person shooter video game developed by Crytek and is based on the new CryEngine 3. Just like the first iteration of the game, Crysis 2 continues to be one of the best looking shooters to date. The settings used for this benchmark were ‘Ultra High’ preset in Adrenalin, DX11 and High-resolution texture patch.
Dirt 3 is a rallying video game and the third in the Dirt series of the Colin McRae Rally series, developed and published by Codemasters. The game is extremely scalable and features DX11 tessellation effects. We used the built-in benchmark tool, along with ‘Ultra’ quality preset.
Metro 2033 is a first-person shooter video game, which continues to bring even the toughest graphics cards down to their knees. The game has a lot of DX11 eye-candy, which really puts a strain on any GPU. All DX11 features were enabled for the benchmark and we used the “Tower” level for our test.
Batman: Arkham City
A sequel to Arkham Asylum, Arkham City features a more open world gameplay as well as DX11 elements. For this test, we disabled Nvidias’s PhysX, since it would be unfair to AMD’s cards. Everything else was maxed out.
MSI has priced the R7950 Twin Frozr 3GD5 at Rs.37,000, which is a lot of money. This makes it even more expensive than the standard HD 7970 and GTX 680. MSI have given the card a good treatment and the custom cooler works like a charm, but it still doesn’t explain the high price. If you’re out in the market right now with 30K to spare, then we suggest you stick with the GTX 680 itself.
MSI Solid Capacitor Graphic Card MSI Graphics Card products utilities high quality solid capacitor. For the gamers and high-end users, this feature not only means that product has better quality components within, but also provide much stronger support while users want to engage in hard-core tuning. HDMI + DVI Output HDMI and DVI are the most comprehensive used interfaces for high definition video display. MSI adopts two interfaces to provide a complete output solution for users to enjoy the latest HD video such as blu-ray movie. MSI graphics cards offer the HDMI functionality to provide access to premium digital content. HDMI enables gaming enthusiasts to seamlessly connect to their LCD monitor to bring the ultimate multimedia experience. (Only 1 single HDMI cable is required while streaming audio/video data to flat-panel display devices, such as Plasma/LCD TVs, or projector.) Both support the latest specifications of Blu-ray and HD DVD(High Definition DVD). It comes with the latest GPU and Memory superior processing performance in which users can easily enjoy the high-definition video of 1920x1080(1080p/i).
|Name||ATI Radeon HD 7950|
|CUDA cores / Stream processors||1792|
|DirectX Support||DirectX 11|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||261 x 111 x 38 mm|