MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen

Conclusion

Conclusion

The MSI N280GTX OC Hydrogen certainly validated its high price tag. Taking into consideration the cost of the lush full cover copper block and the fact that this is an extremely high, pre-overclocked package and it starts to work out at a competitive price point. Alternatively, for £360 you could get a 4870x2 which would no doubt outperform even this pre-overclocked card in most areas, but at a cost. One of the benefits of having a water-cooled GPU that seems to come lower down the list of priorities to performance and cooling is something that is often overlooked. Depending on your water-cooling setup, the GTX280 OC HydroGen will run silent. A silent, high performing card is certainly nothing to be taken lightly these days, nor is the fact that many manufacturers will frown upon adding aftermarket cooling let alone water-cooling if it came to warranty issues. Herein lies the attraction of the MSI card. You get the best of both worlds - high Performance, silence, and cool running but no warranty worries.

The pre-overclocks were already the fastest we have seen at OC3D so I was amazed at how much further the card could be pushed. A GPU core speed of a smidge under 800mhz is an amazing achievement, due in part to the efficient water-cooling block provided which kept temperatures in the mid 40's regardless of how much strain the card was under. The power draw of the card will be slightly less than that of a standard GTX due to there being no fan but consideration needs to be made to the added power requirements of a water-cooling loop. Noise, as we have previously mentioned isn't an issue so I am struggling to find anything bad to say about the card.

If I had to find fault it would be the price. For the money you could buy the newer GTX285 and add your own block but this could invalidate your warranty - something a lot of people are concerned with doing after paying over £300. There is also the risk of damaging the card yourself when fitting an aftermarket waterblock but at this end of the market, speed is everything and speed usually goes hand-in-hand with temperatures so this is something people are willing to risk. The MSI card eradicates this risk. As stated, the flagship ATI card would offer more performance but then noise becomes an issue, so while the GTX280 OC HydroGen does at first glance appear expensive, it strikes a very even balance and could form an attractive proposition to the shrewd water-cooling performance junkie.

The Good
- Amazing overclocking
- Great performance
- Fantastic cooling

The Mediocre
- No included barbs
- Dual slot I/O plate

The Bad
- Some may be put off by the high price of a previous gen card, despite it's benefits



Thanks to MSI for providing the n280GTX OC HydroGen for todays for review. Discuss in our forums.

«Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next»

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
x

Register for the OC3D Newsletter

Subscribing to the OC3D newsletter will keep you up-to-date on the latest technology reviews, competitions and goings-on at Overclock3D. We won't share your email address with ANYONE, and we will only email you with updates on site news, reviews, and competitions and you can unsubscribe easily at any time.

Simply enter your name and email address into the box below and be sure to click on the links in the confirmation emails that will arrive in your e-mail shortly after to complete the registration.

If you run into any problems, just drop us a message on the forums.