Graphics Cards Guide

MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition review

MSI N580GTX Lightning Xtreme Edition - Memory Overload

Compare This

Overall rating 8/10
Excellent cooler
Dual-slot solution
Relatively high clock speeds out of the box
Too pricey
3GB memory has little impact on performance

That 3GB of GDDR5

That 3GB of GDDR5

To find out if the 3GB of memory on the MSI Lightning Xtreme actually does anything (and a valid reason for us to test our new 30-inch display, which has a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels), we tested the MSI Lightning Xtreme and the ASUS Matrix GTX580 Platinum at the same clock speeds. That meant bringing down the faster core and memory clocks of the MSI to the same 816MHz (core) and 4008MHz DDR (memory) as the ASUS Matrix.

We then tested the two cards at three benchmarks utilizing the highest settings at 2560 x 1600 to find out the effects of the larger frame buffer on the MSI card, if any. As you can see below, the gaming performance was not favorable for the 3GB card. With both cards at the same clocks, the MSI was in fact fractionally behind the ASUS. While the difference is minor enough to chalk it down to the expected variance, it effectively dispels any notion that more memory is better, even at such ultra-high settings.

Perhaps there are certain workloads that will really use the extra memory, such as surround gaming with higher resolutions or 3D gaming. But for the majority of the users, we believe the extra memory won't come in handy.