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MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Video Card Review

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MSI N760 Temperatures

We’re at the start of a transition: for years the PC industry has produced faster and more powerful CPUs and GPUs, which always came with ever-higher power draws. But as the industry moves to smaller and smaller fabrication processes, we’re seeing power draws drop, and clever designs save even more power. Users benefit from GPUs that disable large portions of their circuitry when idle, leading to dramatically lower power draws and very cool idle temperatures. At the other end of the scale, reduced power at the higher end means smaller coolers, quieter fans, and less heat to worry about dissipating.

MSI_GTX_760_Angle.jpg

At the start of this test, I measure the idle temperature of the card with the card sitting at the Windows desktop, using the GPU-Z utility. Next, I start FurMark’s stress test and let it run until the temperature curve flattens and the temperature has not varied more than 1 degree in the last five minutes.

FurMark does two things extremely well: drive the thermal output of any graphics processor higher than applications of video games realistically could, and it does so with consistency every time. FurMark works great for testing the stability of a GPU as the temperature rises to the highest possible output. The temperatures discussed below are absolute maximum values, and not representative of real-world performance.

Keep in mind that my testbench is open to the air, and that affects the results by a lot. Still, the proven capability of the Twin Frozr design keep the N760 TF 2GD5/OC very cool.

Ambient Temperature 20C
XFX R7790 Idle Temperature 31C
XFX R7790 Load Temperature 67C

VGA Power Consumption

The new generation of video cards– AMD’s Southern Islands and NVIDIA’s Kepler– are certainly fast, but their new power saving features are almost as impressive. The move to a smaller process has helped, but both products benefit from a variety of power-saving techniques, including aggressively underclocking and undervolting themselves in low demand scenarios, as well as turning off unused portions of the card. Both companies also use other, proprietary methods to keep power usage low.

To measure isolated video card power consumption, Benchmark Reviews uses the Kill-A-Watt EZ (model P4460) power meter made by P3 International. A baseline test is taken without a video card installed inside our test computer system, which is allowed to boot into Windows 7 and rest idle at the login screen before power consumption is recorded. Once the baseline reading has been taken, the graphics card is installed and the system is again booted into Windows and left idle at the login screen. Another power reading is taken when the display sleeps, and then I measure the power under a heavy gaming load. Our final loaded power consumption reading is taken with the video card running a stress test using FurMark.

Below is a chart with the system totals displayed in watts for each specified test product:

Situation Power
Windows login, no video card 52 watts
Windows login, video card 68 watts
Windows desktop 69 watts
Windows desktop, display sleep 66 watts
Gaming load 155 watts
FurMark load 215 watts

Most moder graphics cards can drop the clockspeed and operations of the GPU in order to make it consume less power at idle. The N760 TF 2GD5/OC is no different and video card itself is only responsible for somewhere around 18 watts of power in idle mode. Even under the most intensive gaming conditions, the GTX 760 consumes only around 100 watts of power. That number rises to around 150 or so when stressing the GPU beyond what any normal application would.


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6 comments

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  1. whynotv2

    I apologize for my ignorance in advance, but I’m confused. How does this card warrant a Golden Tach, but the NVIDIA GeForce GTX760 that Olin recently reviewed gets nothing at all including the cons of “Expensive Mainstream product” and “Occasionally trailed GeForce GTX 660Ti”? Aren’t they the same card with different wrappers (plastic and fans) and different overclocking software?

    Also, it would be nice if all the reviewers used the same images (bar graphs/charts) when posting results. The page formats/forms are great, but having 2 (or more) reviews open at once and cycling through, the charts should be set up the same so that it makes it easier for visitors to compare. Thanks!

    1. Olin Coles

      It’s long been my practice that reference (engineering sample) products do not receive any rating. You cannot buy a NVIDIA-branded GeForce GTX 760, so I would be forced to rate the price of some other model. But then the question becomes which model do I pick? None. We rate value on the product reviewed, not the theoretical equivalent. The same goes for construction and appearance, which will differ between partner designs. The only item I could rate would be performance, but it makes no sense to give any rating at all since you can’t buy this card. Ultimately, it was best to explain my thoughts on the results for each category and let you draw your own conclusion.

      Hank’s conclusion for the MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC Twin Frozr Video Card is one that represents a product you can buy, that comes with custom engineering, with parts manufactured by a third party, and comes with a product warranty and customer support. The NVIDIA engineering sample doesn’t offer these things.

      1. whynotv2

        That makes sense Olin. I just got confused as I mentioned about what appeared to be 2 of the same card reviewed and drastic (in this case no award on one, a gold on the other). I’m all sorts of clear now. Thanks :)

  2. Hank Tolman

    First things first, any two different reviewers are going to have different opinions about what looks good, performs well, is valuable, etc. We use the conclusion section of each article to talk about our individual opinions and justify how we rate each section.

    I encourage you to read the conclusion sections to see why I rated the MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC the way I did and why Olin rated the reference design the way he did. Since I know a lot of people don’t read most of the article, I’ll try to answer your question succinctly here.

    Reasons why I gave the MSI N760 TF 2GD5/OC a Golden Tachometer:
    1. Stock Overclock + Great overclock potential. Reached 1215MHz with no problems
    2. Twin Frozr Cooling – Proven and highly reliable
    3. Additional Apps – Reference design has none, N760 has Gaming App, Predator, Afterburner, Kombustor, and more
    4. Price – before launch of GTX 760, GTX 660Ti’s cost a minimum of $279. Now you can find them for around $259 before rebates, etc. Why by a GTX 660Ti at the same price as the N760?
    5. Performance – N760 outperformed the 660Ti every time in my tests, as well as outperforming the 670, 7950, and 7970 on occasion.

    I don’t think I need more justification, but keep in mind that rating a reference design on a 0 to 10 scale like I did with the N760 is difficult because it doesn’t represent something that the consumer will actually be buying.

    1. Hank Tolman

      Also, thanks for the feedback on the charts. I’ve been experimenting with different chart formats to see which ones I like best. I like charts that specifically highlight the card being reviewed and the nearest competitors. I also like different colors for each of the test products. I am torn.

      1. whynotv2

        I rarely bother with the overall aesthetics because as you said, everyone has their own opinion and to be honest, with a mostly out of sight product, I could care less how it looks as long as it performs well :)

        I also thought your review was fine. I was just confused, and Olin cleared it up, with one getting an award and the other not.

        You are welcome :) Uniformity/consistency is always a plus on review sites :)

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