Our first review of the GTX670 found us loving the amount of power that it had available, whilst feeling that a non-reference cooler would easily put it at the top of the 'must buy' pile.
As is so often the case one of the first to appear on our desks was the MSI offering, with the Twin Frozr cooler that we've enjoyed for many iterations now. Last time we saw a Twin Frozr IV cooler we felt that MSI were starting to just get left behind a little in the quietness and performance stakes, so it will be interesting to see how this GTX670 OC Power Edition fares.
Of course you couldn't have a Power Edition without a factory overclock, and the MSI has a 104MHz overclock out of the box.
Besides the overclock things are fairly standard, with no trick additions other than the cooler. Considering how good the GTX670 was in reference form, this should be more than enough to rock our socks.
|Graphics Engine||GeForce GTX 670|
|Interface||PCI Express x16 3.0|
|Memory Interface||256 bits|
|Core Clock Speed(MHz)||1019 (Boost Clock: 1097)|
|Memory Clock Speed(MHz)||6008|
|Texture Fill Rate(billion/sec)||N/A|
|Display Output (Max Resolution)||2560x1600|
|DirectX Version Support||11|
|OpenGL Version Support||4.2|
|Card Dimension(mm)||267x117x38 mm|
The packing is very plain and simple, but in a good way. Rather than looking like a child's lunchbox with stickers everywhere, MSI have kept things minimalistic yet still enough to catch the eye. Internally the card is well protected with a thick cardboard outer layer and high density foam surrounding the card and accessories.
The usual array of accessories are on hand. The driver CD also contains the excellent MSI Afterburner overclocking utility, and we have power adaptors and a DVI to VGA adaptor too.
The card itself is all about the Twin Frozr cooler. Now in black rather than the silvery grey we saw on the mark 2 and 3 versions, we can't decide if we prefer this or not. It definitely will blend in better in most peoples setups, but it seems to have lost some of its individuality.
There is no shortage of gorgeous heatpipes to drool over though. Heatsinks are most definitely an art form, and the Twin Frozr IV is the perfect blend of form and function.
Power is provided by two, side-by-side, 6 pin PCIe inputs. The business end consists of two DVIs, a DisplayPort and an HDMI. It's nice to see the DVI's in blue as well, rather than the more standard black or white offerings. Attention to detail.
MSI GTX670 OC Power Edition
ForceWare 301.42 WHQL
Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6GHz
G.Skill Trident 2400MHz
Cougar CM1000 PSU
Corsair F80 SSD
Thermalright Silver Arrow
Windows 7 x64
Considering that the MSI GTX670 OC comes with a decent overclock out of the box, we were hoping for something good but weren't expecting to be able to push it anywhere near as hard as we could. With a small voltage tweak in the Afterburner software we gained an extra 236MHz on the GPU Core and 211MHz on the GDDR5. Hugely impressive stuff from MSI here.
The Twin Frozr IV kept things pretty cool, maxing out at 70°C both in stock and overclocked settings. The downside to this is that it doesn't take much of a heat increase to speed the fans up, and they have a real whine to them that can quickly grate.
3D Mark Vantage
Out of the blocks the MSI shows a good turn of performance with the stock card comfortably out-performing an overclocked reference one, and in the Extreme test our overclock is better than a stock GTX680 and close to the MSI GTX680 TF3.
3D Mark 11
Again the 'stock' MSI GTX670 outdoes a stock GTX680, and although our overclock is enough to handily best the reference GTX670, in 3D Mark 11 the extra architecture of the full GTX680 is enough to just shade the MSI.
Although it's now really showing its age, Alien vs Predator is still demanding enough to find a place in our testing. Our 3D Mark results are continued here with the MSI GTX670 performing better than the reference card in both stock and overclocked settings, and it's capable of keeping up with a stock GTX680 too.
Batman Arkham City
It's clear that the newer drivers provide a lot of the performance increases in Arkham City, and the average frame-rates are all around the same kinda figure. Looking at the minimum frame-rate we see that at stock the MSI isn't quite up there with the finest we've seen, but the overclock makes up much of the lost ground.
BattleField 3 brings us the first time the reference GTX670 moves ahead of the MSI GTX670 OC Power Edition. However, our overclock still gives a nearly linear improvement and both clockspeeds provide a smooth playing experience.
Such is the extreme levels of detail and texture resolution in Crysis 2 at these settings the GTX670, in both reference and MSI variants, shows how even the small amount of reduction that the architecture has when compared to it's bigger brother can make a difference. However the big gains to be had with the MSI take upon the GTX670 are in the minimum frame-rate. The reference card is good, but the MSI is smooth all the time.
Dirt 3 is still doing its 'up and down' results thing. The results show that either the MSI is hopeless when compared to the MSI GTX680, or absolutely amazing when compared to the Zotac GTX680 AMP. Obviously neither of those things are true, so let's move on.
Far Cry 2
While we wait patiently for Far Cry 3, the venerable Far Cry 2 still provides a good test when everything is ramped up. The MSI GTX670 OC Power Edition makes short work of the Dunia engine, giving buttery smooth playability.
If the desire to build up an empire and become the Don is one that you can't resist, then the MSI GTX670 OC ensures you can do it in the smoothest way possible, with excellent performance at both stock and overclocked.
Metro 2033 is so frustrating, such is its complete inability to take full advantage of any nVidia cards we throw at it. The MSI is up there with the rest, but obviously it's not being used to its capacity here.
Resident Evil 5 - DX10
In its out of the box speeds the MSI just outperforms our overclocked reference card, but with the massive overclock that the GTX670 OC Power Edition is capable of it really puts the boot in on Resident Evil. Excellent performance gains to be had.
We've often seen a minimum frame-rate in the single-digits with Unigine, such is the amount of detail being shifted around. It's usually only a single blip as it floods the frame-buffer with data. Clearly, as you can see from the graph, the MSI is capable of some incredible performance when we run without anti-aliasing, even beating out it's MSI GTX680 stablemate.
As we ramp up the image quality levels with a hefty dose of Anti-Aliasing, the MSI GTX670 OC doesn't bat an eyelid. Although the GTX680s make their extra power tell, the MSI runs them very close indeed.
The Witcher 2
Still the most demanding game on the planet, The Witcher 2 is a feast for the eyes and a true glimpse into future gaming eye-candy. The average frame-rates on the MSI GTX670 OC Power Edition are good considering how hefty the demands placed upon it are. The minimum frame-rate does show up the reduced architecture of the GTX670 when compared to the full-fat GTX680, but it's still a good performer.
What a hell of a lot of performance is available from the MSI GTX670 OC Power Edition.
For a start it comes out of the box with a good 100MHz overclock when compared to the reference card, and this is enough to move it consistently ahead of the reference card in all of our testing. Sometimes it even gets close to or passes the bigger GTX680, so there is no doubt that if you're the type of user who prefers to just 'plug and play', the MSI GTX670 OC will definitely tick all the right boxes.
More impressive is the overclock we were able to obtain. 1256MHz. A full 200MHz higher than we were able to get from our reference card. This is with only a tiny increase in the core voltage which, as you could see from our temperature results back on page three, didn't push the idle temperature up much and didn't change the load temperature at all. It's not only the GPU Core that overclocks well either, as the memory saw similar gains.
Often we've found that an overclock doesn't always give the increase in performance you might expect to find, yet the MSI nearly always saw a significant improvement in our benchmarks, regularly matching the GTX680 which, let's not forget, was tested on a beefy hexcore 3960X rather than the quad-core 3770K. It shows how few titles take advantage of multi-core processors.
The cooler is impressive in terms of its ability to disperse the heat and keep the GPU cool. Even after a massive Unigine loop we still only saw a maximum 70°C both at stock and when overclocked. The fans though are much less impressive. When idle it's pretty inaudible, but nearly any load introduces the kind of noise that we haven't heard from a GPU in a while. It seems that with the cooling, or at least their choice of fan, MSI need to go away and take a fresh approach.
But that's the only fly in the ointment, and the performance is such that we will overlook this slight niggle. Available for around £300 and with more performance than anything available for a similar amount of money, with the added benefit of insane overclocking headroom, the MSI GTX670 OC Power Edition is one of those cards that we can give our coveted OC3D Gold Award to without any hesitation whatsoever.
Thanks to MSI for supplying the GTX670 OC Power Edition for review, discuss your thoughts in the OC3D forums.