MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen



Pre-overclocked graphics cards are nothing new but pre overclocked AND watercooled cards are something of a rarity. MSI have seen a niche in the market they wish to explore with the OC HydroGen model based on the GTX280.

Despite MSI overclocking the GTX280 to 700mhz, a 10c temperature drop is claimed over the stock clocked 602mhz GTX280. This makes the OC HydroGen 280 the fastest  pre-overclocked GTX280 available and perhaps more importantly, faster than the recently reviewed GTX285. This is achieved by using a full cover waterblock which cools all the main components while remaining just single PCI thickness.

Obviously adding a copper full cover waterblock is not cheap and thus the price of £359.99 is £50 more expensive than the cheapest GTX285 we could find. However, if all out performance is what you want and you already have a water-cooled system then serious consideration should be given to this card.

Here's what MSI had to say:

10 Degrees C Lower than GeForce® GTX 200 fan thermal solution via the massive contact surface increase brought by micro channel technology, MSI N280GTX OC HydroGen series successfully runs the world highest core clock setting at 700MHz, but surprisingly has 10℃ lower temperature level than normal fan cooling GeForce® GTX 200 series even at full workload.

1-Slot ultra slim tank design Ready for 3-way SLI!

MSI achieves this with only 1-slot thick HydroGen micro channel water cooling tank. This makes a multiple graphics setup in single system possible, even with all the water cooling accessories together.


The differences between the three high top end GPU's from Nvidia are small but significant nonetheless and could have a major impact on the results of our benchmarking.
 GTX 280
GTX 285GTX 280 Hydrogen
GPU Size576 mm²470 mm²576 mm²
GPU Frequency602 MHz648 MHz700mhz
Shader Frequency1296 MHz1476 MHz1400 MHz
Memory Frequency1107 MHz1242 MHz1150 MHz
Memory Interface512 Bit512 Bit512 Bit
Stream processors 240240240
Memory bandwidth140,7 GB/s159,0 GB/s141,7 BG/s
As we see, MSI have increased both the memory and shader frequencies to better feed the core. With a whopping 100mhz overclock on the core itself, we expect great things from the HydroGen and it will be interesting to see if the extra 50 MHz is enough to dethrone the GTX285.

Let's take a look at the packaging and the card itself...

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Most Recent Comments

22-01-2009, 11:27:47

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

22-01-2009, 11:49:06

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

22-01-2009, 11:50:55

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.Quote

22-01-2009, 11:57:23

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.


22-01-2009, 15:58:36

Have you tried overclocking past the limits?

At 40C that is so cool.Quote

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