The product arrives in a black box with green lighting – highlighting the cooler design on the front. As we said on the previous page this is the full fat 1GB GDDR5 version of the card with a 256 bit memory interface.
The rear of the box features the information on the cooler and once the outer shell is removed the card itself is well protected under a rigid plastic cover with thick stryofoam side panels.
The bundle contains a driver CD, reference guides and a few power and DVI converter cables. There is a trial of StarCraft 2 included and a copy of the excellent MSI Afterburner application on the CD which is extremely useful if you wish to manually overclock the card further. We will look into this later.
The card is a very impressive looking beast with the circular shaped cooler on top demanding your immediate attention. The fins on the heatsink are very Zalman like by design – the flower structure looks very similar to their very popular CPU coolers.
The other side of the card has a fat dual heatpipe design protruding slightly outside the PCB area. There is a single crossfire connector so you can’t daisy chain more than two together.
As with most MSI hardware we have reviewed recently the card features ‘military class components’ which are Solid State Choke with no buzz noise and higher current for better overclocking ability. The Copper base is Nickel plated and it combines the aluminum extrusion, heatpipes, and fins to form a hybrid heatsink design. This apparently provides better heat transfer compared to a traditional design.
There is a Hi-C Capacitor for the GPU which provides more precise voltage and the design is all Solid Capacitor for longer lifespan. The fan is a 90mm unit which offers up to 40 percent more airflow when compared with the reference design. The rounded design is also better at preventing dust build up and it is apparently 15.7 percent quieter against the reference card. All of this will be tested later in the KitGuru labs.
As with the reference design the MSI board requires two 6 pin PCIe power connectors. The Cyclone has output to two dual link DVI connectors and a mini HDMI port. It is unusual to see DVI ports coloured blue as this is the traditional colour for a VGA connector.
The more observant among you will notice that MSI have cut their company letters into the metal plate, which is a nice touch.
Here you can see the MSI Cyclone 1GB next to the 768MB eVGA Superclocked board, they are the same size (PCB length) however the MSI board looks smaller due to the lack of plastic shroud.