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:
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 285||GTX 280 Hydrogen|
|GPU Size||576 mm²||470 mm²||576 mm²|
|GPU Frequency||602 MHz||648 MHz||700mhz|
|Shader Frequency||1296 MHz||1476 MHz||1400 MHz|
|Memory Frequency||1107 MHz||1242 MHz||1150 MHz|
|Memory Interface||512 Bit||512 Bit||512 Bit|
|Memory bandwidth||140,7 GB/s||159,0 GB/s||141,7 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...