Graphics Cards Guide

MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition review

World Exclusive: MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition

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Lightning Storm

Lightning Storm

Not all graphics cards are equal, they are reference ones and then there are factory-overclocked ones. And even among factory-overclocked ones, not all are equal. There are normal factory-overclocked cards and then there is the biggest and meanest of them all � such as the MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition (which we'll be referring to it as the MSI N260 Lightning). The MSI N260 Lightning is the Taiwanese hardware giant's most hardcore card yet, and once you take a look at its feature list and specifications, you'll know why.

Based on the existing GeForce GTX 260 216-core, the MSI N260 Lightning is one of the most focused graphics card we've seen yet. MSI says the N260 Lightning uses only high-end 'military grade' components, which includes ultra long lifespan solid state capacitors, which are claimed to last 20% longer; and top grade high durability Hi-C Caps, which can tolerate 20% higher temperatures. It also features a 10-phase PWM, for better power delivery. In addition to all this, it also comes with what MSI calls the Twin Frozr cooler, a twin-fan cooler featuring five heat pipes. All this means that the card can overclock to a greater extent and can do so more safely and with greater stability.

Out of the box, the MSI N260 Lightning is clocked at a staggering 655MHz at the core, 2000 MHz DDR at the memory and 1404MHz at the shaders. This represents a significant improvement over a bog standard GeForce GTX 260's equivalent clock speeds of 576MHz, 1998MHz DDR and 1242MHz. Furthermore, it comes with a staggering 1792MB of GDDR3 memory, twice that of other GTX 260 graphics cards. This amount of memory is typically found on only on the GTX 295 dual-GPU graphics card. If you ask us, this MSI N260GTX Lightning is over-engineered. But would it over-deliver? That we'll find out shortly.

The MSI N260 Lightning also comes with an "AirForce Panel" that allows for even greater overclocking by giving users the freedom to tweak and adjust clock speeds and voltage settings on-the-fly. All in all, the MSI N260 Lightning is a serious piece of extreme, hardcore gaming kit.