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Is the MSI GTX580 Lightning worth the money?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I can get a reference EVGA for $440 on newegg including the rebate vs $530 for the MSI Lightning. Will I see that much performance increase on the lightning (both with a stable overclock)?. I don't have any form of water cooling or aftermarket cooling and only average airflow in my case.

I want to get a really good card but I don't want to spend $70 extra for very little improvement if that's the case.
Edited by Buuntu - 8/14/11 at 8:10am
    
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post #2 of 30
You're not going to see any huge performance increases with long-term stable overclocks. Cooling will be much better and quieter, though. For a lot of people, the reference card would be fine (like myself), but if you're into extreme overclocking for benchmarking and keeping your card frosty (compared to reference), then go for it. It's a damned nice card.
post #3 of 30
I can't say for sure tbh because I have not ran the EVGA card but do have this one.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814127567
I have not really overclocked it but at stock Volts had it up to 850 stable.
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post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
From what I've seen on a couple sites like this one, the MSI Lightning only performs at about 2-3 higher fps than the reference gtx 580 (not overclocked).
http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/06/02/msi_n580gtx_lightning_video_card_review/2

I guess because of the nature of this forum, most people will recommend the lightning because it is obviously faster than the reference and has better overclocking ability. My understanding is that even with the enhanced overclocking ability I would probably only get a 3-5 FPS increase in most games from the reference EVGA version. I've also heard complaints about the noise levels of the MSI lightning and on top of that it has a 3 year warranty (vs a lifetime warranty), not that it isn't enough wink.gif. The MSI does look like it stays quite a bit cooler but I've read that good airflow is required for it since it blows a lot of hot air into the case (I have decent airflow, but definitely not the best). For these reasons I think I'm leaning towards buying the reference version. Even though it's not the fastest version, I think it's probably the best choice for the price.

Are my assumptions wrong?
    
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post #5 of 30
I would recommend it, the GPU overclocks to a rock stable 930/2550, and it scored almost 8000 on 3dm2011. Once these puppies go down in price, I'll be getting a second one, awesome card, great oc abilities, I recommend it.
post #6 of 30
Your assumptions aren't exactly wrong but they're still a little bit off. Not really far enough off base for me to correct you on each point because I would agree that the Lightning is probably not worth the extra $90 to you. You would know for yourself if you were the type of person that really needed the nice little benefits that the Lightning offers you. The biggest differences would be the Lightning will be cooler, quieter, and be better built to get a high OC, and the heat and noise differences will only be exasperated if you try and go for a huge OC on the reference design. But if you know and can live with the limitations of the reference card then I'd say it's most likely the better buy at 90$ cheaper. eek.gif Good thing I didn't pay anything close to that for my card.
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post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
A couple of questions:

I see that the reference version gets pretty hot (over 80+ on stock). Does this leave any room for overclocking with the stock cooler and average airflow, or would I pretty much have to leave it at stock? This is a big concern, but if I can get a modest overclock (900 MHz?) without the temperatures going crazy then that would be a huge plus.

2nd question: How loud does the MSI Lightning actually get? It's supposed to be quieter on idle but when it's overclocked it gets REALLY loud apparently? I really don't want something that's making a ton of noise since I have roommates for a big part of the year.
    
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post #8 of 30
First question, the reference will have some room for overclocking but 900 might be a little bit much, it's still possible but not what I would call likely. 850Mhz shouldn't be too difficult to attain though.

Second question, the MSI Lightning will be superior to the reference card in every regard except for cost. So at the same voltage and clock speeds the Lightning will be either cooler, quieter, or both depending on the custom fan profile you choose. At the same noise levels the Lightning would either be cooler, or be able to run it's core at faster speeds and higher voltages. So anyway you cut it the Lightning is superior.

If that sounds like it's something you must have then it may be worth the 90$ to you but that's something only you can decide. I would still advise that you get the reference and save the $90 because I'm sure that you will be able to work out a noise level, heat level and OC that will not leave you disappointed, none of those categories will be as good as if you went with the Lightning, but I still expect you'd be more than happy with the reference card and the $90 in your pocket.
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post #9 of 30
Also, the price of AXP coolers have been steadily dropping ($61 shipped for the original + vr004 kit), if you find the reference to be intolerable, you can always go that direction (doesn't void your warranty either, as long as you don't crack your card in half putting it on). I could see the lightning being worth the money, but for me, someone who doesn't fold (yet) and get's a max temp of 72C in BFBC2 after hours of game-play (completely maxed, 1080, vsync, NVCP tweaks) with the ref cooler, the savings was worth it for me.
Edited by Infinite Jest - 8/14/11 at 7:01pm
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buuntu;14579644 
A couple of questions:

I see that the reference version gets pretty hot (over 80+ on stock). Does this leave any room for overclocking with the stock cooler and average airflow, or would I pretty much have to leave it at stock? This is a big concern, but if I can get a modest overclock (900 MHz?) without the temperatures going crazy then that would be a huge plus.

2nd question: How loud does the MSI Lightning actually get? It's supposed to be quieter on idle but when it's overclocked it gets REALLY loud apparently? I really don't want something that's making a ton of noise since I have roommates for a big part of the year.

1.) EVGA cards don't overclock for ****. They run hot, and their noisy. (YAY reference design!)

2.) Whoever you got that the Lighting is noisy..don't ever listen to that person again. The noise factor is thee one of Lightings best selling points, With my HAF 932 case with performance fans, I can't even barely hear my Lighting Extreme over it and the fan profile is set at 80%!

And yes I own a Lighting XT (see sig)
    
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