MSI GTX 770 N770 TF 2GD5/OC Review

ccokeman - 2013-05-20 20:46:09 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: May 30, 2013
Price: $409

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Introduction:

We just looked at NVIDIA's latest video card the GTX 780 that proved it was indeed a chip off the old GTX Titan block. It delivered performance that, well, was shocking at the $649 price point. You basically got performance metrics that were closer to the GTX Titan than the GTX 680 the GTX 780 is replacing. Well here we go with phase two of the NVIDIA summer launch right before Computex with the introduction of the GTX 770. While the GTX 570 and GTX 670 have both been and are still quite viable as high performance video cards, there comes a time when the latest games demand more firepower under the cooling solution. For that reason we see updates to the video card offerings from the AMD AND NVIDIA camps. The performance up tick offered by the GTX 770 over the GTX 570 is a massive 65% boost while the improvement over the GTX 670 is a more modest 22%. NVIDIA sees these gains by using the GK104 core with eight SMX, 1536 CUDA cores, a 4x 64-bit memory controller, base and boost clock speeds of 1046 and 1085MHz, respectively, and to top it all off GDDR5 memory that runs at a data rate of 7010MHz.

While there are going to be plenty of GTX 770 reference cards sold by the AIB partners, each were given the go ahead for some real custom works of art that feature improved PCBs, voltage regulation systems, and more efficient cooling solutions. One such card is the one I have here today from MSI: the GTX 770 Gaming edition. The base line specifications take the best that NVIDIA has to offer and ups the ante by boosting the base/boost clock speeds up to 1098MHz/1150MHz while keeping the memory at its default 7010MHz (QDR). If the performance of this card is not enough out of the box MSI offers a performance plateau one level up from this the GTX 770 "Lightning".

The clock speed increases are going to offer up some improved gaming FPS metrics but the addition of the Twin Frozr IV cooling solution is going to drive cooling to another level for improved GPU Boost 2.0 clock speeds using dual propeller blade fans and Airflow Control Technology. Military class IV VRM component selection includes Tantalum core Hi-C caps, new SFC Chokes, and solid aluminum core capacitors that meet MIL-STD-810G. Everyone that has not lived under a rock for the past few years is familiar with MSI's Afterburner GPU tuning utility. The latest builds have added Predator, a screen capture and recording utility that adds value.

With the Gaming series GPUs, MSI has put together a much simpler utility for the masses that prefer the install and go mindset. Called Gaming App, this utility lets the user flip between three modes without having to know what settings to change. Sweet and simple. So where does all this feed into and what does it mean? MSI has put a focus on the gamer with its "G.A.M.E." spirit. Let's see if the philosophy holds up under some gaming tests to see if MSI has brought enough to the table.

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Closer Look:

MSI has had a dynamic shift in the packaging it uses now with its Gaming series hardware. Instead of the whites and blues of days past you get a red and black graphic with the Gaming series badge to the right and a tribal dragon graphic on the left. At the bottom left is an indicator that this is a factory overclocked version of the MSI GTX 770 and it is equipped with MSI's own Twin Frozr cooling solution. On the back side of the package MSI illustrates the main feature set as it applies to the gamer and how best to use the GTX 770 with its supplied utilities such as the Gaming App and Predator (a part of MSI's Afterburner utility). Also discussed are the benefits of the Twin Frozr cooling solution that to be honest are not far off the mark. MSI's Military Class 4 construction is used with components that meet or exceed the MIL-STD-810G rating. Parts such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite chokes, and aluminum solid capacitors all team together to improve stability, efficiency, and longevity.

 

 

Inside the sleeve is a black box that holds the GTX 770 Gaming as well as the accessory bundle. The black theme continues through the packaging. There are two layers with the accessories in a separate box to prevent any loose parts from causing damage in transit. The card is secured in foam on all four sides. The accessory bundle MSI supplies includes a pair of 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power adapters, a DVI to VGA adapter, Quick installation guide, and a driver and utility disk. Here is where you will find the Gaming App, MSI's Afterburner utility, and other included software.

 

 

Just looking at the packaging it's interesting to see the direction that MSI is taking to cater to the gamer. The G. (Gaming APP) A. (Advanced Thermal Design) M. (Military Class Components) E. (Experience) philosophy is indicative of this.

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Closer Look:

Pulled up and out of the packaging, the MSI GTX 770 Gaming just looks incredible. The large 100mm PWM controlled propeller blade technology fans take center stage from the front view. The red and black theme has always looked "right" on computer parts and this card is no exception. MSI's version of the GTX 770 is still a dual slot solution built around a custom PCB and NVIDIA's GK104 Kepler core. The back side of the PCB does not have much of interest but there are a couple Hi-C caps right under the core to provide some added core voltage stability. Looking at the top and bottom view we can see that the Twin Frozr IV cooling solution uses a quintet of heat pipes coming out from under the core area. Four are 6mm in size and come out the bottom side of the heat sink while the larger 8mm heat pipe pops out of the top side looping back into the aluminum fin array. Just like all of the current crop of video cards, the MSI GTX 770 Gaming is designed for use in a 16x PCIe 3.0 slot on a supporting motherboard but is backwards compatible to earlier standards. The GTX 770 Gaming is just a tad shorter than the reference version at 10.25 inches in length. At this size there should be no size constraints in modern chassis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Display connectivity is standard for Kepler architecture-based video cards with a single Dual Link DVI-D, Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 1.4a port, and a full size DisplayPort. A 3+1 display configuration is supported using the available display outputs. Surround gaming is supported on a single card while adding a 3D Vision system for 3D Surround will mean you have to add another GTX 770 in SLI to have the firepower to play at this level. The I/O bracket supports discharging the thermal load outside the chassis but the design of the Twin Frozr IV cooling solution is going to dictate that most of the thermal load is going to go inside the chassis. The good thing is that most newer chassis have a way to compensate for this with improved airflow. The back end of the card is wide open allowing the thermal load out from under the shroud and into the chassis' airstream.

 

 

A pair of SLI bridge connections hints at the SLI support for this card running up to four cards in a motherboard that supports the technology. Along the spine of the PCB and under the Twin Frozr IV heat sink runs an aluminum brace and heat sink used to stiffen the PCB as well as cool the memory modules under the main heat sink. Power for the MSI GTX 770 Gaming is supplied by a pair of 8-pin PCIe connectors. A 600 watt power supply is going to be recommended to handle the 229 watt TDP on this card. Factory overclocked and cooled it carries the same operating TDP as the reference version.

 

 

Stripping the heat sink off the PCB, the aluminum PCB support/memory cooler is visible as it wraps around the PCB to cover the 7000MHz memory modules and Military Class 4 power circuitry. A black PCB is used on this card and meshes nicely with the design. Once the memory cooler is removed you can see the power supply layout on the PCB. MSI uses its Military Class 4 components selection that includes solid aluminum capacitors (ten year increase in longevity), new Super Ferrite chokes (SFC 30% power handling increase), and tantalum core Hi-C caps (stabilize power delivery). This construction philosophy is meant to improve efficiency, longevity, and the current handling capabilities to drive increased overclocking potential.

 

 

One of the main features of the MSI GTX 770 Gaming is the Twin Frozr IV cooling solution. Its advanced thermal design is one of the hallmarks of the GAME philosophy that MSI strives to deliver to gamers who want to just put the card in the system and start fraggin'. This fourth generation cooling solution is more than it looks like from the images. It uses a five (four x 6mm + one x 8mm) heat pipe direct contact design that speeds the thermal load out to the aluminum fin array. Here is where MSI spent some time and started channeling the airflow with diverters so that it spends more time in the heat sink presumably to increase the thermal transfer to improve cooling efficiency. Instead of traveling straight through the fin array, the diverters are strategically placed to direct the airflow at angles increasing the time the airflow spends in the heat sink. At this point it seems to work.

 

 

Providing the airflow to keep the MSI GTX 770 Gaming cool for maximum clock speeds are a pair of 100mm PWM controlled propeller blade fans. Using this type of fan is needed to push the higher static pressure needs of the heat sink. Surprisingly these fans are dead silent when controlled by the GPU. When ramped up they are still relatively quiet by comparison to the already muffled reference cooling solution. This part of the advanced thermal design concept is another check mark for the gamers - cool, quiet, performance.

 

 

Where it seems like we are in familiar territory is when we get to the GK104 28nm Kepler core. If you look back at the spec sheet for the GTX 680 we had a total of four GPCs (Graphics Processing Clusters), two SMX units in each GPC, each SMX with 192 cores for a total of 1536 CUDA cores on board. Each GPC has a single raster engine and dynamically share 512MB of L2 cache. Each GPU core features 128 texture units and 32 ROPs. However it is not the same core as many would surmise. The GTX 770 can be equipped with either 2 or 4GB of high speed GDDR5 memory running through four 64-bit (256-bit) memory controllers. Where the similarities end between the GTX 770 and the GTX 680 are in the clock speeds the core and memory are capable of running. The base core clock on the MSI GTX 770 Gaming is 1098MHz and 1150MHz when in a boost state courtesy of GPU Boost 2.0 technology. That's impressive to start with as it seems with the core maturation process higher clock speeds are the norm. Now where we really see some improvements is in the memory speed department. The reference GTX 770 comes with a memory speed of 7010MHz QDR and MSI has chosen to leave this as it is from the factory. As the first cards to use Samsung-based 7Gbps memory the key is how much will this help the cards at higher resolutions? Out of the box you get memory bandwidth of 224.3 GB/s and up with overclocking.

 

 

Let's take a quick look at the reference card before diving into the benchmarks and overclocking.

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Closer Look:

Since I will be comparing the MSI GTX 770 Gaming to the reference card in several sections, it's only fair that we show it off as well seeing this is a launch article. Looking at the GTX 770 you get a sense of Déjà vu; think back to last week with the GTX 780 and a couple months back with GTX Titan, and you get a pretty clear picture of the product stack. The GTX 770 looks, for all intents and purposes, just like the heavy hitters in the GTX lineup. The smooth-looking aluminum shroud with the clear polycarbonate window over the same vapor chamber-equipped cooling system employed on the GTX 780 just looks right. Again the only way visually to tell the cards apart is the naming embossed at the front end of the card. At 10.5 inches long it is slightly longer than the MSI non-reference card but still is not long enough to present any challenges fitting in mid tower chassis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Display connectivity is standard for the Kepler core with two Dual-Link DVI, one HDMI1.4a, and one DisplayPort that allow support for up to four displays in a 3+1 configuration. The back side of the GTX 770 is open much like on the GTX 780 and GTX Titan to allow the incoming airflow to start cooling the PWM circuit before cooling the GPU core.

 

 

A pair of SLI bridge connections sit at the top front of the PCB showing support for at least three cards in a motherboard that supports the technology. The recommended power supply for the GTX 770 is 600 watts with power fed to the card via 6-pin and 8-pin PCIe power connections that support the 230 watt TDP of the GTX 770.

 

 

Under the hood the GTX 770 is equipped with a 3.54 billion transistor 28nm GK104 Kepler core. It is equipped with a quartet of Graphics Processing Clusters that house eight SMX each with 192 CUDA cores for a total of 1536 on board, each sharing the 512KB L2 cache. A total of 128 texture units and 32 ROPs round out the hardware in the core. GDDR5 memory is used on the GTX 770. The GTX 770's 224.3 GB/s total memory bandwidth comes by way of 2GB of high speed 7010MHz QDR GDDR5 running through four 64-bit memory controllers. That's right, I said 7010MHz! That's before any overclocking is used. The GK104 core used on the GTX 770 supports GPU Boost Technology 2.0 to dynamically raise the clock speeds more so against a temperature limit than a power load limit. Base clock speeds on this reference version of the GTX 770 are 1046MHz with a boost clock of 1085MHz. The high speed GDDR5 memory starts at 7010MHz and the GTX 770 is the first card to use 7Gbps memory.

 

 

Under the skin we similar clock speeds but the key is just how well will the reference card give up to the MSI GTX 770 Gaming in terms of raw performance?

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Specifications:

Graphics Processing Clusters
4
Streaming Multiprocessors
8
CUDA Cores
1536
Texture Units
128
ROP Units
 
32
Base Clock
 1098 MHz
Boost Clock
1150 MHz
Memory Clock (Data rate)
7010 MHz
L2 Cache Size
512K
Total Video Memory
2048MB GDDR5
Memory Interface
256-bit
Total Memory Bandwidth
245.9 GB/s
Texture Filtering Rate (Bilinear)
150.4 GigaTexels/sec
Fabrication Process
28 nm
Transistor Count
3.54 Billion
Connectors
2 x Dual-Link DVI
1 x HDMI 1 x DisplayPort
Form Factor
Dual Slot
Power Connectors
2x 8-pin
Recommended Power Supply
600 Watts
Thermal Design Power (TDP)1
230 Watts
Thermal Threshold2
95° C

 

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Features:


 

All information courtesy of MSI

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Testing of the MSI GTX 770 Gaming will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 320.14 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 13.5 beta 2 drivers and latest CAP profile. The results generated in my testing reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.

 

Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

With the MSI GTX 770 Gaming you get a little bit of overclocking built in from the factory with its higher than reference base and boost clock speeds. All that is well and good for the person that wants to just pop the card in and go get their game on. However MSI provides some overhead for the enthusiast who is capable of using the latest tweaking tools, including MSI Afterburner, to grab even more clock speed and thus FPS performance. Again great for the guys who can tweak the card. However let's switch back to the person that wants to just install and game. MSI has a low overhead tool with three presets for this group: Gaming that boosts the clock speed to 1189MHz, Eco that drops the boost clock speed, and Default to bring the MSI GTX 770 back to the standard boost clock speed of 1150MHz.

Using MSI's Afterburner tool to tweak further I increase the voltage as far as possible or 12mv with the temperature target set to 96 °C, boosted the fan speed to 100%, and started raising the clock speed up until the card would fail the stability testing (Unigine Heaven 4.0). At this point the MSI GTX 770 Gaming had reached 1254MHz under a GPU Boost 2.0 boost state. In essence just a short 100MHz boost over the factory core clock speed. The memory from the factory is rated at 7010MHz QDR or 1752MHz. As high as this is I was skeptical that I would be able to gain any more headroom, but the modules seemed to scale well and just kept going until I reached 1921MHz or 7684MHz QDR. That's pretty impressive getting close to an 8000MHz data rate. In all there was not a lot left in the core but the memory boost was a nice surprise.

After looking at what MSI had to offer I took a look at the reference card from NVIDIA just to see how well it would fare without the better cooling and VRM components, and found similar core and memory clock speeds using the same formula outlined above. I was able to hit the same 1254MHz on the core but could only get to 1912MHz on the memory. Still pretty impressive numbers from a GK104 core. Where the two parts differ is in the cooling capabilities at stock speeds.

 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were rerun until they passed a full hour of testing.

 

 

  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Crysis 3
  3. Far Cry 3
  4. Battlefield 3
  5. Batman: Arkham City
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  7. 3DMark

 

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro Last Light is the followup to the extremely popular game Metro 2033. Developed by 4A games and published by Deepsilver, this game uses the 4A game engine. In this game set a year after the missile strike on the Dark Ones you continue on as Artyom as he digs deeper into the bowels of the Metro.

 

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we see with the GTX 770 from MSI and NVIDIA is that we see equal performance in both resolutions between the two cards. In each resolution the MSI AND NVIDIA GTX 770s provide a substantial increase in FPS performance over the HD 7970 and HD 7950. Yes, the charts say Metro 2033 as the scripts I am using will need an update.

 

FCAT Results:

Here in the percentile charts the GTX 770 sits at the top of the chart showing the higher FPS potential with a smooth transition to the 99th percentile. There are some spikes in the frame time charts from all of the cards in the comparisons. They are seen but not really felt for the most part in game but contribute to an overall reduction in FPS at the 99th percentile range. The FPS charts show how we get to the FPS averages.

 

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MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

This third installment of the Crysis franchise, developed by Crytek and distributed by Electronic Arts, uses the CryEngine 3 game engine, and requires a DirectX 11 ready video card and operating system due to its demanding graphics engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1920x1080 the increased boost clock on the MSI GTX 770 was worth an extra 2FPS in this game. At 5760x1080 the FPS averages were consistent between the reference card and the MSI GTX 770. When compared to the HD 7970 we see an 8FPS advantage for the MSI GTX 770 at 1920x1080 and a 2FPS gain at 5760x1080.

 

FCAT Results:

Looking at the GTX 770 runs in both resolutions we see that the cards from MSI and NVIDIA leading the GTX 680 and HD 7970 with substantial improvement over the GTX 670. There are some outliers here but for the most part the results are similar with tight variances. The FPS charts at the bottom represent a 60 second run through the game.

 

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MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Far Cry 3 is the latest iteration in the Far Cry series. Released in the US in early December 2012 the it uses the Dunia 2 game engine and is published and developed by Ubisoft. This Action Adventure First Person Shooter offers both single player and multi-player modes.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this game the added clock speed of the MSI GTX 770 Gaming helps add a few FPS in both resolutions tested over the reference card. Against AMD's top single GPU card we see impressive margins of 10 and 4FPS, respectively.

 

FCAT Results:

The tight flat drops in the percentile charts show the MSI GTX 770 delivering the highest FPS throughout the run. The lower the frame time the higher the FPS result. The MSI GTX 770 hangs around the 15 to 18ms range on the frame time plot chart with a variance of around 3ms.

 

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MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield 3 uses the Frostbite 2 game engine and is the direct successor to Battlefield 2. Released in North America on October 25, 2011, the game supports DirectX 10 and 11.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In BF3, MSI's GTX 770 Gaming holds a 2FPS margin over the reference card with the HD 7970 bracketed between the reference card and the GTX 680 at 1920x1080. At 5760x1080 the larger frame buffer of the 6GB HD 7970 works to its advantage.

 

FCAT Results:

Against the HD 7970 the percentile charts show us the MSI GTX 770 is the faster card, but not by much in this game. The frame times are relatively tight in this game but have a larger amount of outliers when run at 5760x1080.

 

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MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum released in 2009. This action adventure game based on DC Comics' Batman super hero was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal 3 engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Batman: Arkham City the HD 7970 is markedly faster than the MSI and NVIDIA GTX 770's in both resolutions tested by 10 and 7FPS depending on the resolution. AMD cards do seem to perform well in this game with even the HD 7950 getting into the act.

 

FCAT Results:

In both percentile charts the HD 7970 delivers the highest average FPS of the comparison cards even as it drops of closer to the 95th percentile. Following up behind it are the MSI GTX 770 Gaming and NVIDIA GTX 770 reference card.  Tight frame times will lead to smoother game animation and for the most part the comparison cards are all in the same rough bucket .

 

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MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes – Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1920x1080 the HD 7970 is dead even with the MSI GTX 770 Gaming while at 5760x1080 again the 6GB frame buffer helps it out.

 

FCAT Results:

Again we see all of the cards drop at around the 20% mark of the run in both resolutions. The frame times for each of the cards look pretty tight throughout the runs but we start to see a lot of higher frame times mostly around the transitions in the benchmark.

 

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MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

3DMark: The just released version of Futuremark's popular 3DMark suite is designed to let a wider range of the user base the ability to make a comparative analysis of the gaming prowess of their systems from entry level PCs to notebooks and Extreme Gaming PCs.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MSI's GTX 770 Gaming has a slight edge in clock speed over the reference design resulting in higher 3DMark scoring. As the replacement for the GTX 670, the GTX 770 is delivering a substantial increase in performance that tops the GTX 680 that shares the same architecture. That being said the MSI GTX 770 Gaming delivers performance just below the factory overclocked HD 7970.

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine's Heaven Benchmark Version 4.0, with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1200 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a 20-minute cool-down, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At stock speeds with the fans controlled by NVIDIA's latest fan control algorithms, the MSI GTX 770 Gaming shows the strength of its advanced thermal design with the Twin Frozr IV cooling solution. At idle it is three degrees cooler than the reference card and ten degrees cooler under load. In that respect it met the goals of the exercise to run cooler than the reference design. Turning up the fan speed to the maximum level shows that the vapor chamber-based solution on the reference card is no slouch but the MSI Twin Frozr design still out performs it with a reduced margin. Running cool and quiet has been the ongoing mantra with NVIDIA and its partners, and both cards run cool and quiet, yet the Twin Frozr fans do deliver a more pleasing tone to the ear at max speed.

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine's Heaven Benchmark version 4.0 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A 15-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest measured temperature recorded as the result. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system. With dual-GPU setups, the two core temperatures will be averaged.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The idle power consumption of the MSI GTX 770 and reference card deliver the lowest average power consumption in both the baseline and overclocked scenarios. Under load the MSI GTX 770 is more efficient than the reference card in both the overclocked and stock tests.

MSI GTX 770 Gaming Conclusion:

After seeing how well the GTX 780 performed and how it was replacing the GTX 680, you had to see the writing on the wall that the GTX 770 was going to fit into the stack at a level just above that of the GTX 680. And here we are after running the MSI GTX 770 through the test suite to find that it does indeed deliver a level of performance above that of the GTX 680, and in many cases above that of a well overclocked 6GB HD 7970. MSI brings a card to the table in its GTX 770 Gaming that is tailored for the gamer with a comprehensive package that fits just about every situation using its G.A.M.E. spirit. You get the (G)aming App for one touch over/underclocking, (A)dvanced thermal design with the Twin Frozr IV cooling, (M)ilitary Class components, and (E)xperience - Predator, MSI's game capture software. Looking at each of the components of the G.A.M.E. spirit you can see how this philosophy works.

The Gaming App actually was a neat low overhead bit of software that worked as intended. If you want more tuning flexibility there is always Afterburner! I found the Twin Frozr IV cooler to be exceptionally quiet under load with no noticeable ramp up as the load increased. It was louder when manually raised to the maximum speed as you might expect, but the tone was more pleasing than the reference design. When you look at actual cooling performance, the Twin Frozr IV cooling on the MSI GTX 770 Gaming was an impressive ten degrees or 15% cooler than the reference design at stock speeds. By using air diverters in the fin array, the airflow generated by the 100mm propeller blade fans stays in contact with the fins longer to promote improved cooling.

GPU Boost 2.0 works a little differently on the GTX 7xx Series cards by using a temperature limit instead of a power limit. The cooler the card runs the higher the boost clock speeds will be as long as you stay under the temperature set point. In this respect we have a clear win over the reference card from NVIDIA and one of the coolest running cards in the comparison list.

MSI continues to utilize its Military Class components that meet or exceed MIL-STD-810G. On the GTX 770 gaming we get improved Super Ferrite Chokes, tantalum core Hi-C caps, and solid aluminum capacitors that improve efficiency, stability, and longevity. As an example, the MSI GTX 770 Gaming was more efficient than the reference design as good as it is! Using less current for the same or better performance is always a good trade off. Having a robust power circuit is great long term, but is needed to stabilize higher clock speeds. In this respect MSI's GTX 770 Gaming is equipped to fully realize all the clock speed potential that the GPU core is willing or unwilling to give up. On this card I was able to improve the core boost clock speed by just over 100MHz or close to 10% at 1254MHz. The GTX 770 is the first card equipped with true 7Gbps memory modules. Already clocked this high I was surprised to pull an additional 169MHz out of the modules for a final clock speed of 1921MHz (7684MHz QDR). On a percentage basis again we have a close to 10% boost for nothing more than your time.

As an NVIDIA-based card the GTX 770 Gaming has access to the entire ecosystem including SLI for improved performance by adding a second card; Surround and 3D Surround with the addition of a 3D Vision kit and 120Hz monitor package; PhysX and the latest from NVIDIA, the GeForce Experience that was just released out of beta last week with the Introduction of the GTX 780; built-in h.264 encoding; and more. MSI has put together a great card that leverages its technologies to meet the gamers needs. It runs cool and quiet, looks great, and just performs.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: