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MSI R6970 Lightning Twin Frozr III Review (18 Phase PWM)

The MSI R6970 Lightning Twin Frozr III arrives in a large, colourful box with a picture of a stealth fighter on the front.

It is a gatefold design with a wealth of information on the product detailed inside.

The bundle is extensive, with video and power converter cables, crossfire adapter and literature on the product.

Regular readers of KitGuru will have seen earlier versions of the Twin Frozr cooler which is a metal design with Twin fans. The newest version of the cooler features dual 9cm PWM fans which provide 40% more airflow than previous versions.

A close up of the fan, showing the angular blades, with the edges tapered for maximum airflow. There are also two fan modes on the PCB, one for performance and one for silence, we will look at this more later.

The PCB is a custom MSI design and it features one of the most substantial heatpipe implementations we have seen. These heatpipes are 8mm thick and one of them runs almost the full length of the PCB, pushing heat across the full width of the aluminum fins. These are a high density design to ensure that all of the fins act equally to dissipate the heat.

The MSI R6970 Lightning utilises the world’s first 18 phase PWM design, which is meant to help improve overclocking capability and aid general stability under load.

The R6970 Lightning has a dualDVI, 2 mini displayport and an HDMI port output configuration.

The card demands two 8 pin power connectors. The reference board is a 6 + 8 pin design so MSI have redesigned the power intake, potentially to offer more overclocking capability. This board design also incorporates the world’s first independent memory power system to help with overclocking.

Removing the cooler is a straightforward process and now we can get a better look at the formidable cooling design. The large copper base is coated with nickel to provide improved heat dissipation. MSI are using Super Ferrite Chokes again, which offer 10% greater power efficiency and 30% higher current capacity. The HI-C CAP design uses Tantalum cores to improve stability while giving 15 times less leakage, they are apparently used on Space shuttles and satellites.

The card also is populated with Solid capacitors which give a 10 year life span with extremely low ESR and temperature output. The PCB design is called the ‘Lightning PCB Stack’ which is formed around 10 individual layers. The inside four layers support GPU power, Memory and IO power and ground.

There are three V check points on the PCB, for C-GPU, V-MEM and V-PLL.

An overview of the card via GPU-Z, highlighting the core clock speed enhancements.

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