MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

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MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

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We had a close look at the Lightning in our preview article, so we'll just cover the basics here. It's no surprise that such a high-end graphics card comes with every accessory you could ever desire, as well as plenty that you didn't realise you needed, including a MOSFET heatsink for those of you who have a bottle of LN2 to hand and an eager glint in your eye.

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review     MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

So few cards stray from the black and red look that we still adore the Tri-Frozr cooler in yellow that adorns the Lightning. It marks it out as special straight away, and of course matches the MSI extreme motherboard colour-scheme. It's no surprise that the Lightning comes with a sturdy backplate to ensure PCB stability.

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review     MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

It's a massive heat-sink with one of the highest fin densities we've seen. Tucked away on the edge are three voltage monitoring points, giving a glimpse into the single focus of the Lightning.

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review     MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

Display outputs follow the regulation AMD selection, but the big eye opener is the triple power input. One six pin and two eight pins is quite a demand.

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review     MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

On the back are three LEDs to indicate the current power state of the card, depending upon how many cables you currently have plugged into it. Red = not enough power. Blue (2x 8 pins) = normal use or gaming. Yellow/Orange (2x 8pins + optional 6 pin) is for overclock mode.

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review     MSI R9 290X Lightning Review

MSI R9 290X Lightning Review  

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Most Recent Comments

04-03-2014, 10:02:25

mike22122
Absolutely epic Quote

04-03-2014, 10:18:00

SieB
Looks like MSI have done good with the Lightning
Anyone want to buy my Tri-X for £530 so I can buy one of these? Quote

04-03-2014, 10:21:14

chrismjurd
Totally worth the wait Tom, thanks. Quote

04-03-2014, 10:35:52

phallacy
Hey guys, new here but I'm a member on OCN with the same user name.

Anybody think this is worth it for watercooling. It seems to be made more for LN2. Currently running a trifire rig with 2 refererence 290x and 1 tri x oc. Also have an xfx 290x DD black that I'm going to be adding soon. Able to maintain 1200/1550 daily use OC while I can bench at 1250/1650. Will the 290x lightning be able OC to 1300+ 24/7 ? I might sell my xfx and get this one instead. Btw out of my three cards 2 are hynix (xfx ref. tri x) 1 is elpida (sapphire ref)Quote

04-03-2014, 10:46:02

SieB
Quote:
Originally Posted by phallacy View Post
Hey guys, new here but I'm a member on OCN with the same user name.

Anybody think this is worth it for watercooling. It seems to be made more for LN2. Currently running a trifire rig with 2 refererence 290x and 1 tri x oc. Also have an xfx 290x DD black that I'm going to be adding soon. Able to maintain 1200/1550 daily use OC while I can bench at 1250/1650. Will the 290x lightning be able OC to 1300+ 24/7 ? I might sell my xfx and get this one instead. Btw out of my three cards 2 are hynix (xfx ref. tri x) 1 is elpida (sapphire ref)
There might not be a waterblock for it seen as it's a custom PCB. Unless EK have one in the works?
Seen as these aren't cherry picked cores though, there is no guarantee that you would get one that would be a better overclocker than your current 290s.

For watercooling a normal non ref 290 would be better, the reason for spending more on a card like the lightning is for the cooler. If you strip the card down and slap a waterblock on it, then it pretty much becomes a normal 290 with better Vram.Quote
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