MSI GeForce GTX 780 LIGHTNING Video Card Review
MSI GeForce GTX 780 LIGHTNING Video Card ReviewWe’ve got MSI’s flagship GeForce GTX 780 LIGHTNING video card to evaluate today. This video card has a new design, comes completely customized from the ground up, and has obtained the highest overclocked we’ve ever achieved on a GTX 780. We have the latest patch installed, which at this time is 126.96.36.199. You can read our video card performance and image quality evaluation here to learn about this game and what its graphics settings mean. For this game, we kept the texture resolution at very high for every video card, and used the appropriate AA options. We stuck with using the system spec setting to set very high quality, or high, or medium or low quality as needed.
Our run through takes place in “Safeties Off” level. We utilize the entire level by using no damage so that we can run through the entire level from start to finish. We start at the beginning cut scene and run all the way to the end of the level before you get on the lift to head down to the facility. There are a lot of explosions, every bit of the games graphical features tested including tessellation, ambient occlusion, shadowing, lighting, depth of field, high particle count, and vegetation.
In Crysis 3 we meet the first gameplay difference we experienced between the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING overclocked and the GALAXY GTX 780 HOF overclocked. First let’s talk about the cards running at default clock speeds.
In this game, with both video cards out of the box, we were able to run at the “High” in game setting. We tried to push the graphics settings to the “Very High” option, but that was way too graphically demanding, even with just SMAA 1X enabled. Therefore, we had to settle for the next highest setting, which is “High.” Alongside that, we were able to push both video cards up to the SMAA 4X option. SMAA 2X played more than fast enough, we had a little juice left to push it higher, and SMAA 4X fit the bill. This allowed great image quality and reduction of aliasing with no blurring. The MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING was a bit faster than the GALAXY video card.
Now, when we overclocked both video cards, the higher clock speed and memory speed on the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING did affect our playable setting. With the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING we were able to run at “Very High” in game quality setting with SMAA 2TX enabled. However, on the slower clocked GALAXY GTX 780 HOF we had to run at SMAA 1X, also at “Very High.” This is one AA setting below the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING.
What this means is that this game looked better on the overclocked MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING due to a higher level of AA. The jaggies were less, and the game looked better for it.
We also tried 1920×1080, and with the cards at default clock speeds we found 1920×1080 with “Very High” settings and SMAA 4X were playable. Or, optionally 4X MSAA was also playable. When we overclocked the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING, we found we could bump the game up to 8X MSAA at 1920×1200 with “Very High” settings! So if 1080p is your bag, overclocking the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING provides nothing but win.
MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING vs. AMD Radeon HD 7990
AMD has done some recent magic with its drivers. Frame Pacing is now a technology which exists and allows smoother frametimes in many games. The caveat is it only works up to 2560×1600 resolution currently. But since that is what we are testing at today, we get to benefit from that. This has allowed a game like Crysis 3 to feel and perform smoother on dual GPU CrossFire video cards. This means that now lower framerates are more acceptable and playable. Previously, we had to rely on high framerates to create the smooth feeling gaming.
The AMD Radeon HD 7990 is now playable at 2560×1600 with “Very High” settings enabled and MGPU SMAA 2X AA enabled. When running in multiple GPUs, this game reduces the AA options available. You cannot run SMAA 4X or SMAA 2TX on multi GPU video cards. However, what is Hilfiger Outlet replaced is a mode called MGPU SMAA 2X, which does take a larger performance hit than SMAA 2TX does.
You will see that the average framerate is overall lower on the AMD Radeon HD 7 Hilfiger Outlet 990, compared to the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING. However, with Frame Pacing, it has made these lower framerates tolerable in this game. Therefore, the AMD Radeon HD 7990 offers a better gameplay experience compared to the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING out of the box. We can run at “Very High” image quality, which provides a much more immersive gameplay experience.
Though, something interesting happens when we overclock our MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING to its highest stable overclock. When we do this, “Very High” gameplay setting now becomes playable. With SMAA at 2TX, and “Very High” enabled, the gameplay experience now matches the AMD Radeon HD 7 Hilfiger Outlet 990. In fact, the performance is even higher on the MSI GTX 780 LIGHTNING than the AMD Radeon HD 7990 Hilfiger Outlet ! Now, there is a difference in performance between SMAA 2TX and MGPU SMAA 2X, but the image quality is the same. Therefore, the gameplay experience is now the same between both video cards when you overclock the LIGHTNING.