MSI R5870 Lightning Review

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The ATI HD5870 video card redefined high end gaming when it was released many months ago, taking the performance crown as the fastest single core solution on the market. Even though nVidia have knocked it off the number one perch with the GTX480, many enthusiasts still prefer the HD5870 thanks to the lower power drain and cooler temperatures. This has left the market wide open for a variety of enhanced cards from many manufacturers and we recently looked at several, such as the XFX HD5870 Black Edition.

Today we get the chance to analyse a product with some jaw dropping specifications, the MSI R5870 Lightning. This card has a custom PCB design and incorporates the worlds first 15 phase PWM design to offer higher levels of overclocking and stability. This is why they cranked it to 900mhz on the core (+50mhz on reference design) and 1200mhz on the memory (4.8GBps effective).

To help deal with temperatures they have also included a twin fan ‘Twin Frozr II cooler’ with nickel plated copper base and dual heatpipes. This card also offers 10 year life solid capacitor design with aluminum cores and solid state chokes with ‘no buzz noise’ under load.

No only that but MSI have included V check points which overclockers can use to read voltages, direct from the card with a multimeter. We don’t think we have ever seen such a loaded design, so lets list the specifications then take a closer look.

  • 1GB GDDR5 memory
  • ATI Eyefinity technology with support for up to six displays
  • ATI Stream technology
  • Designed for DirectCompute 5.0 and OpenCL
  • Accelerated Video Transcoding (AVT)
  • Compliant with DirectX 11 and earlier revisions
  • Supports OpenGL 3.1
  • ATI CrossFireX™ multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
  • ATI Avivo™ HD video and display technology
  • Dynamic power management with ATI PowerPlay technology
  • DL-DVI, DL-DVI, DisplayPort, HDMI
  • PCI Express® 2.0 support
  • VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
    MSI R5870 Lightning Review, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating
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    44 Comments
    • Tech Head
      June 15, 2010
      #1
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      Good god man, its alive. that is a mental card, it appears to have been out for a while, how come ive never heard about it ! ME WANT!

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    • eric k
      June 15, 2010
      #2
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      That is stunning , simply stunning. Sapphire must be worried if MSI keep these up !

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    • daz
      June 15, 2010
      #3
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      that overclock is insane, over 1ghz on the core? bloody hell man.

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    • tom
      June 15, 2010
      #4
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      1ghz on the core and what the hell on the memory ! I need a silverstone raven 02 for my setup too!

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    • terry
      June 15, 2010
      #5
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      £20 more than a reference design? ill have it. if I could afford it :p

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    • Tri Color
      June 15, 2010
      #6
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      Just ordered one, ill post a picture of my receipt on the forums :)

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    • Dilbert
      June 15, 2010
      #7
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      That is one mega mega board. I love all the work they put into the hardware rather than just slapping a crappy cooler on it.

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    • AMD4EVER
      June 15, 2010
      #8
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      Who the hell needs a GTX480 when you got one of these, or two in Crossfire. If anyone here as two of them in Crossfire, ill be green.

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    • larry and mo
      June 15, 2010
      #9
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      Power drain is quite high but what a card that is. well worth the money.

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    • robert
      June 15, 2010
      #10
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      Wonder if I could get a deal on a Crossfire setup !

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    • francois lebon
      June 15, 2010
      #11
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      ITs a really nice design and normally these cards really dont appeal to me at all.

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    • breaker
      June 15, 2010
      #12
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      Bit out of my price league but great review, really enjoyed that one.

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    • simone
      June 15, 2010
      #13
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      seems well priced considering. Ill get one when they drop to 200 quid.

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    • Kyle Reese
      June 15, 2010
      #14
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      MSI are seriously underrated at times, all the attention goes to Sapphire. some of their motherboards are wicked good.

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    • Kyle Reese
      June 15, 2010
      #15
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      Love lovely lovely. ill have one :)

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    • Trev Mang
      June 15, 2010
      #16
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      What a design that is. nice to see other companies doing these apart from asus. its actually quite affordable too, considering.

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    • Dax
      June 15, 2010
      #17
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      temps seem good, power consumption is high, but nothing compared to GTX480

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    • bret
      June 15, 2010
      #18
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      would have liked to see some compares with GTX480 :)

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    • Dilbert
      June 15, 2010
      #19
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      ITs way out of my price range, but if I had money to buy a HD4870 id get this for sure, absolutely !

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    • tim
      June 15, 2010
      #20
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      Great review man, I wonder how many people actually buy these cards. they seem way expensive.

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    • fluffychicken
      June 15, 2010
      #21
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      Nice review, cheers. what a great card. shall discuss it with you on the forums

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    • mick
      June 15, 2010
      #22
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      Impressive design from the ground up, dont often see that kind of attention to detail.

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    • fred
      June 15, 2010
      #23
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      Right, ive been looking at all these cards this month and im getting sick of it, having a crappy old GTX250. just ordered this, time to warn the wife.

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    • tom blown
      June 15, 2010
      #24
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      I still think the sapphire vapor is nicer.

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    • Hank the tank
      June 15, 2010
      #25
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      Would like to buy one of these myself, but hey im poor :(

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    • brank
      June 15, 2010
      #26
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      how cool is the LED strip on the back of the PCB? wicked man.

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    • Dauth Maul
      June 15, 2010
      #27
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      shit if only I had a credit card, id buy one of these puppies

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    • Ray
      June 15, 2010
      #28
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      Love the cooler, wonder who made that for them? arctic cooling maybe?

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    • dark knight
      June 15, 2010
      #29
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      Nah its not arctic cooling, they dont make metal coolers like that. maybe MSI internal one.

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    • Ray
      June 15, 2010
      #30
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      MSI make coolers? I thought all these companies farmed out jobs like that to specialists.

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    • i love porn movies
      June 15, 2010
      #31
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      Nah arctic cooling only do that if their name stays on the cooler. this is not them for sure.

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    • gareth cringle
      June 15, 2010
      #32
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      I really enjoyed that review. i always like reading about hardware I can’t afford :)

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    • Tommy Fran
      June 15, 2010
      #33
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      power consumption is high, but two 12 pin feeds would explain that. this card is sucking some serious wattage.

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    • Rockstar lover
      June 15, 2010
      #34
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      It is my dream to play GTA4 at 2560 on a HD5870. I shall have my dream in the next 2 months :)

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    • hairy beast
      June 15, 2010
      #35
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      Good temps, for the power intake. Love the board.

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    • sexy
      June 15, 2010
      #36
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      nice card indeed. great clocks too. I didnt think it was possible to hit 1ghz on core on air.

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    • Droughtlouder
      June 15, 2010
      #37
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      MSI FTW with this beast. love the cooler too. like the pictures, turned otu well.

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    • Steven
      June 15, 2010
      #38
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      very interesting indeed. the 8mm heatpipes are certainly good ideas. they are normally 6mm right?

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    • drystone
      June 15, 2010
      #39
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      Nvidia really are not making much ground on older tech hardware. HD5870 is still kicking n screaming.

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    • Rubbins
      June 15, 2010
      #40
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      They really should have overclocked this card more out of the box, dont you think?

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    • Terrance
      June 15, 2010
      #41
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      its very interesting to see the 8mm pipes. those are much thicker than the normal design, id love to know who makes the cooler for MSI. thats not an internal design, specialist job.

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    • Fraline
      June 15, 2010
      #42
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      wonder what the thermal limit on those cards is? 105c like nvidia GTX480?

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    • 6/16/2010 Daily Hardware Reviews « Hardware « Tech news combined!
      June 16, 2010
      #43
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      [...] HD 5570 @ OCCGeforce GTX 480M @ HotHardwarePalit GTX 470 @ NeoseekerMSI Radeon HD 5870 Lightning @ KitGuruPowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 5550 @ Benchmark [...]

    • Does anyone have any experience with the MSI Wind Netbook or possibly a comparable model? | Netbook Reviews
      June 17, 2010
      #44
      VA:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)

      [...] MSI R5870 Lightning Review | KitGuru [...]

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