MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen

Packaging & Appearance

Packaging & Appearance

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the packaging is the size of the box being almost twice the length of the card itself. The front of the package displays the main features of the card; 1GB DDR3, 3-way SLI and PhysX capabilities. Strangely the front of the package does not give any indication that this is a water-cooled card. The rear of the package goes into the finer points of the cards features as well as the basic system requirement for running the GTX280.

Front Sleeve Rear Sleeve
 
It isn't until we flip the lid of the outer sleeve that the main feature of this unique GTX280 is indicated. MSI claim a drop of 10c from a standard aircooled GTX280 which is a very reserved amount judging by the results we came across later in the review. The full cover, high grade copper waterblock has a Delrin port featuring a G1/4 thread size ensuring compatibility with most common barbs on the market today.

Inner Top Inner Bottom  

The inner box is a very well packed hard foam structure ensuring the contents are secure from damage during transit. The compartmentalised box is split into two sections, the main carrying the card and the secondary cardboard box holding the accessories. The usual assortment of accessories are included, however there is no Molex to 6-pin PCIe nor 6pin PCIe to 8-pin PCIe. I could perhaps live with that (luckily we have a choice of supporting PSU's) but something I was none too impressed by was the omission of barbs or elbows. Unfortunately you will have to buy your own connectors for the HydroGen to fit this into your loop be it 1/2" or 3/8". Considering the cost of the card I would have thought that a selection of barbs would be included but sadly this was not the case.

Inside Accessories 

The card itself is a stunning looker with the full copper block looking both very sleek and futuristic. Our card needed a quick douse of metal polish before photographing due to oxidised finger prints covering the card but once polished up it certainly looked the business.  The card itself appears to be a standard affair with no differences that I could find from the standard GTX280.

Card Top Card Bottom

MSI Power 

The GTX280, as with the standard version, is powered by PCIe 6-pin+PCIe 8-pin cables, the dual SLI tabs are there as are the 2xDVI ports (HDMI + VGA adapter included) and S-Video port.

SLI DVI

Disappointingly, despite the slimline copper block, MSI opted not to adapt the I/O shield to single PCI. This is a real shame as the card would be ideal for those wanting to make use of that extra PCI slot which otherwise would be taken up with the double slot aircooled version.

Side View Engraving

While most reviewers would leave it right there and run a few benchies, here at OC3D we like to go that extra mile so let's delve a little deeper and take the card apart to explore the finer points of the waterblock...

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Most Recent Comments

22-01-2009, 06:20:39

JN
"Pre-overclocked graphics cards are nothing new but pre overclocked AND watercooled cards are something of a rarity. Can it compete with the GTX285?" - by Webbo

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...140623547s.jpg

MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen

22-01-2009, 06:27:47

premiumgfx
Impressive performance for a GTX 280! And the card has an interesting heatsink.

22-01-2009, 06:49:06

moogle
First time I seen a fine machined waterblock from a watercooled ready gpu manufacturer. Looks like it cools well too

22-01-2009, 06:50:55

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='moogle'
First time I seen a fine machined waterblock from a watercooled ready gpu manufacturer. Looks like it cools well too
Agreed. I'd actually prefer that block (in terms of looks at least) over anything that EK could offer.

22-01-2009, 06:57:23

VonBlade
Stunning performance. It's so nice to see proper paste instead of that awful white goop too. But wow what a huge performing card and block.

Shame about the bracket. The devil is in the details.

VB

22-01-2009, 10:58:36

zak4994
Have you tried overclocking past the limits?

At 40C that is so cool.

22-01-2009, 11:02:37

moogle
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Jim'
Agreed. I'd actually prefer that block (in terms of looks at least) over anything that EK could offer.
It does cover more of the card than the EK's. I do like that

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='VonBlade'

Shame about the bracket. The devil is in the details.

VB
Dremel anyone?

Or can't you buy a single bracket that will fit on it. Only problem is I think there is an LED indicator on the 2nd grill part of the bracket, so you'd have to take that off.

22-01-2009, 11:07:05

Luigi
Those blocks are awesome.. I believe Aqua-pcs may be stocking them soon, not too sure though.

22-01-2009, 11:08:12

AntiHeroUK
What company manufactured the blocks for them. Reminds me of aquagraFX blocks a bit.

22-01-2009, 11:08:26

soapsupah
wow, loved that block pretty cool , and great performance, +1 for MSi. , also wc it wont obviously wont void warrantry

thanks for the review jim, pretty cool one

Soap.

22-01-2009, 11:10:29

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='AntiHeroUK'
What company manufactured the blocks for them. Reminds me of aquagraFX blocks a bit.
watercool.de Also known as heatkiller.

22-01-2009, 11:16:25

moogle
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='AntiHeroUK'
What company manufactured the blocks for them. Reminds me of aquagraFX blocks a bit.
It does doesn't it. I can't find the GTX280 blocks on their site though

22-01-2009, 11:18:47

AntiHeroUK
Thanks Luigi.

22-01-2009, 11:34:47

HypoglossalXII
How do you reckon MSI's water cooled 260's compete against the BFG variant? Granted there are marketing terms like MAXCORE and thermointelligence used, but do these actually play any part in making the cards have more bang for their buck?

-HypoG

22-01-2009, 11:35:45

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='HypoglossalXII'
How do you reckon MSI's water cooled 260's compete against the BFG variant? Granted there are marketing terms like MAXCORE and thermointelligence used, but do these actually play any part in making the cards have more bang for their buck?

-HypoG
Not more bang for buck, but for first time water coolers its much safer than possibly breaking your card.

22-01-2009, 11:56:31

moogle
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='HypoglossalXII'
Granted there are marketing terms like MAXCORE and thermointelligence used, but do these actually play any part in making the cards have more bang for their buck?
Just sounds like a bit of marketing cow poo to me. Thermointelligence is just a name for some of their cards with those better than stock air and water coolers and the MAXCORE just means they're the new 216 core cards iirc. Nothing that makes the cards more bang for their buck I think.

I still prefer choosing your own waterblock because when it comes to selling your card, you're limited to a small market of watercoolers rather than everyone (if you had the original cooler).

23-01-2009, 11:38:47

Capn Jack
Hasn't anybody here at OC3D heard of Zotac? They've got a GTX 280 AMP clocked at CC 700, SC at 1400, and MC at 2300 on air! So MSIs N280GTX OC doesn't really impress me. I purchased two of these Zotacs just recently and current OC is 730/1536/2650...still on air! Fan is set to auto and flucs between 40 - 60 with temps rarely getting above 64C. Things are so steady and quiet, I may try pushing Core a little higher. At my current OC, I've even got the Zotac 285 AMP beat!

23-01-2009, 13:16:21

w3bbo
Of course we have heard of Zotac - we reviewed a GTX260 from them already.

MSI also have an air cooled GTX280 available which runs at the same clocks as the warercooled version. Somehow though I doubt it would run as cool, silent or indeed overclock aswell as the HydroGen. I am however, happy to be proven wrong.

23-01-2009, 13:17:28

Luigi
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Of course we have heard of Zotac - we reviewed a GTX260 from them already.

MSI also have an air cooled GTX280 available which runs at the same clocks as the warercooled version. Somehow though I doubt it would run as cool, silent or indeed overclock aswell as the HydroGen. I am however, happy to be proven wrong.
agreed with that... The air cooled cards will need more case fans etc to keep them cool, its simply not designed to run at those speeds- This card Is!

24-01-2009, 12:42:05

Trollgaard
"Thermointelligence"... That's what I use when I look out the window and decide to stay inside because it's winter. I have just got myself 2 EVGA GTX280 cards. I would love to get them watercooled at a later stage. And the SLI-Set HEATKILLERģ GPU-X≤ G200 they have at watercool.de seems spot on when the time comes

08-02-2009, 04:41:11

fruityness
Thats just sexy, I'll have two please.

08-02-2009, 08:01:04

w3bbo
Why stop at two? Get TRI SLI and be a man.

08-02-2009, 11:42:18

fruityness
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='w3bbo'
Why stop at two? Get TRI SLI and be a man.
Oh go on then! Seeing as w3bbo is buying I'll have three then!
Reply
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