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.