MSI GTX580 Lightning Review
Product names are a double-edged sword. Whilst they can be very evocative of previous successes and so come with a level of cachet built-in, that same anticipatory factor that might lean you towards a certain product over another also raises expectations. To use an example from the motoring world the Ferrari F70 better be amazing, and should Carrol Shelby ever release another Cobra we'd hope it was nothing but stunning.
So it is in the PC world too, and just hearing MSI Lightning automatically has us slavering, but expectant.
This doesn't disappoint on any level. In the introduction I asked if the combination of the best GPU and the best non-reference cooler would be a perfect combination and unquestionably is.
The Lightning covers all the bases. It's fast as hell out of the box, but more importantly can overclock like a beast. Should you want to really find out how far it can be pushed then there are swathes of accoutrements to help you do so, from LN2 BIOS switches to unlocked voltage options.
Probably the most astonishing aspect is how you get all this performance without the normal downsides of high-performance products. Even with a hefty overclock the card remains cooler and quieter than the reference design thanks to the incredible Twin Frozr III cooler. We've often said that if MSI sold the Twin Frozr separately they'd make a mint and we stand by it. No matter what GPU it's bolted to it always delivers the goods.
The MSI GTX580 Lightning is a sledgehammer in a Whack-A-Mole world and a no-brainer for the OC3D Gold Award. Such are the gains made and potential to be unlocked we are happy to also award it our OC3D Performance Award.