If you thought AMD's Radeon HD 7970 graphics card was strong, you might not believe what Micro-Star International did to it.
The product is getting customized by more or less every one of AMD's OEMs, so MSI is really only following the natural course.
It still deserves props for one-upping Sapphire though, since the latter's Radeon HD 7970 OC Edition
, while powerful, lags behind the R7970 Lightning.
Indeed, MSI's product is called R7970 Lightning and has a faster clock speed for the 28nm graphics processing unit (GPUs).
The same goes for the 3 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, though the boost is not as pronounced.
For those who want numbers, the GPU works at 1,070 MHz instead of the reference 925 MHz, while the memory has a clock frequency of 5,600 MHz / 5.6 GHz instead of 5,500 MHz / 5.5 GHz (further specs can be read on the product page
Of course, such factory overclocking would not have been possible, or safe, without a serious cooling upgrade and special board components.
As such, MSI chose the proprietary "GPU Reactor" power supply module, which reduces power supply “noise” and boosts overclocking stability.
Also, the newest twin Frozr IV Thermal Design is present (cooler), complete with Dust Removal Technology and two 10 cm Propeller Blade fans.
Needless to say, the company's famous Military Class III components are present as well, certified to MIL-STD-810G military standards in seven different categories by a third-party lab. The tantalum core Hi-c CAP, CopperMOS cooling design, form-in-one Golden SSC and moisture/rust-proof Dark Solid CAP are just a few of them.
Finally, the R7970 Lightning boasts the Unlocked Digital Power Architecture, including the Unlocked BIOS, Digital PWM Controller, and Enhanced Power Design, for further clock tweaking.
No price was mentioned, unfortunately, and we can't seem to find the card on big retailers, which means that we'll have to wait a bit longer.