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MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING Video Card Review

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MSI R9 270X GAMING 2GD5 Overview

The MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING graphics card, model 912-V303-002, sells online for $199.99 (Amazon / NewEgg). The kit comes with an accessory package that includes: product manual, driver CD, CrossFireX cable, passive HDMI to DVI cable, and of course the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING graphics card.

If you’ve owned or read reviews for previous-generation AMD video cards in the past few years, you’re probably familiar with the classic “black slab with red accents” styling that AMD has traditionally used. Even these new Curacao XT-based cards use this same familiar styling, most of which will merely receive a vendor-specific sticker for branding. MSI has decided that these new video cards deserve better:

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The first thing you’ll notice is the dual-fan Twin Frozr GPU cooler. This high-performance cooler is quite elaborate: MSI replaces the basic AMD cooler with a large vapor chamber cooler of their own design. Four heat-pipe rods span away from the base plate, out to a massive collection of aluminum fins that dissipate the heat. These fins are cooled by a pair of 10cm propeller fans, which force large amounts of air over the heatsink without the noise of high-RPM fans.

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An aluminum Twin Frozr fan shroud wraps around the upper half of this graphics card, protecting the aluminum heatsink and fan blades from damage while at the same time focusing air pressure in towards the GPU. This is best illustrated in the image above, which reveals how the two 120mm PWM fans are directly over the heat-pipes and contact base. During normal operation heated air escapes from around the sides of the card, with vents in the header panel to help exhaust outside the computer case.

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The MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING graphics card measures 10.25″ long x 5.1″ wide x 1.5″ tall (260 x 129 x 38mm). Ideally, the R9 270X will be installed into a tower computer case with adequate internal cooling , but the reduced overall size lends itself to compact enclosures designed for mATX form-factor components.

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The available output connectors for the MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING graphics card include two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. The primary DVI connector is positioned closest to the board and enables 120Hz dual-link display. The secondary DVI connector is located beside the vents, and can be used for an additional display device.

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MSI’s Radeon R9 270X GAMING video card requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors for proper operation. While AMD suggests 180W typical power consumption (maximum), our own testing indicated the R9 270X GAMING card to draw only 150W at full load.

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With the Twin Frozr GPU heatsink cooler removed (illustrated below), a large aluminum head-spreader covers a portion of the printed circuit board where GDDR5 memory and power VRMs are located. This component assists in dissipating accumulated heat, and further extends the life of components such as the Hi-C CAP, SFC, and solid CAPs that already meet MIL-STDSTDSTD-810G military standard to ensure the best stability.

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In the next section, we share details on the new AMD ZeroCore Power Management technology featured on MSI’s Radeon R9 270X GAMING graphics card…


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