MSI’s premium Lightning brand has been their highest offering for any PC enthusiast willing to risk their hardware to achieve world records and insane overclocks. For the last few years nearly every Lightning card has been a champion in competitions and world record attempts, and MSI’s latest creation, the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 980 Ti Lightning, pulls no punches. Pictures of the card were leaked yesterday and this is really one sweet-looking cooler design. Hit the jump for more pixel porn.
Like every Lightning card before it, the Geforce GTX 980 Ti Lightning has a black-and-yellow colour scheme and it follows on the latest trend of having three fans keeping things cool, which are all 100mm in diameter. There’s a serious amount of cooling going on here, but it probably won’t be enough to support Wiz Khalifa in his escape from the TSA officers. The heatsink is enormous, spanning the card’s entire length, with five aluminium heatpipes helping to spread the heat out to the fins equally.
Underneath the heatsink, the card features a custom circuit board design, with voltage measuring points along the edge of the card, alongside two 8-pin PEG connectors and one 6-pin connector, for a total possible power draw of 375 watts, if we’re just looking at the ATX specifications here. In the middle of the board are fifteen (that’s right, 15!) power phases to stabilise power delivery to the GPU. There’s also a three-stage BIOS switch on the board. Although there aren’t any close-up pictures of this switch, the same switch on the GTX 780 Ti Lightning had an origional BIOS, a backup of the original for restoration purposes, and a LN2 setting which allowed for extra controls to be unlocked to control voltages and enable higher clocks and power draws with liquid nitrogen cooling.
The yellow highlights on the cooler also spell out the letters “OC”, which is a pretty cool detail that puts the point across as to what this card is capable of. I’m expecting that there will be several records broken on launch day with this behemoth, and I’m pretty certain that Neo has been lovingly stroking it for days in secret when its not slicing its way through our benchmark suite.
The clock speed details in the leak are interesting and I’m certain that there’s much more headroom on tap for enthusiasts to exploit later on. The stock and boost clocks for the GPU are 1203MHz and 1303 MHz respectively, while the memory sits at 7.10GHz effective. This isn’t the highest clocks ever for an out-of-the-box overclocked card, so it should be exciting to see how far MSI has managed to take this GPU.
No launch date for the GTX 980 Ti Lightning was revealed in the leak, but you can probably expect it to pop up sometime in the next four weeks or so. Pricing isn’t available either, but somewhere around $750 (approx. R9800 today) wouldn’t be unheard of for such a high-end product.