Date Joined: 05/16/10
Pros: At the time of my initial purchase, was one of the more reasonably priced 7950's. Performance was more than satisfactory. Handled all of my newest games at a solid 58-60 fps at their stock Ultra settings. Plus the Twin Frozr 3 just looked killer with the all-metal construction. This being my first top-tier GPU purchase it was really imposing to hold this heavy metal beast for the first time.
Cons: However despite the killer looks I was getting really nervous playing Skyrim or any other graphically intense game. The fans would kick into overdrive like they were trying to generate lift. The whole thing would whine so loudly it overpowered my 7 case fans and my aftermarket CPU cooler. After seeing temps spike into the 90 - 100 C range I knew something was up. Reading around these reviews I noticed that some others had similar issues. Finally I decided to remove the twin Frozr and see if there was anything I could diagnose before I RMA'd it. Turns out someone at MSI had a vendetta against my poor GPU and in a fit of passive-aggressive rage had tried to drown the poor thing in thermal compound. Since I didn't have any myself at the time I simply cleaned off all the thermal grease I could and re-applied a small amount carefully with an old credit card. After re-installing the heatsink and the card I booted up Skyrim. Lo-and-behold there was no whine and my temps were 40 to 30 degrees C cooler! Seriously my idle temps dropped to 45 and my load temps never spike above 65.
Overall Review: I'm going to list this under other although it is my biggest gripe. However I'm not sure if it's MSI's fualt or the manufacturer of my motherboard. I purchased my motherboard for it's Trifire capabilities and despite the issue with this card's cooler I went ahead and bought 2 more (and a tube of high performance thermal compound) since it was an easy fix and I really do like the performance and aesthetics of this card. This card is not a tri-fire card. I installed all 3 GPUs in their designated slots and fitted the cross-fire connectors and the GPU bracket provided with my case. When I powered on my system I almost had a heart attack. The fan from my top card was rubbing against the PCB of the card under it! Now I thought it looked a little tight (and even waved a sheet of paper between the cards to make sure) but as this was my first time setting up trifire so I just assumed I was paranoid (safe assumption) and that the manufacturers of my mobo and gpu's new what they were doing. No matter how I arrange these things I cannot get them flush of one another. Now I'm going to have to purchase a new aftermarket cooler to use all 3 cards. Maybe I should have realized that a bottom venting cooler would be a bad idea in a tri-fire environment but the fact that the coolers can not even stay flush of one another comes before any argument of cooling efficiency.
Pros: I'm really happy with this video card. So far it's been able to take anything I throw at it and then some. The 3gb VRAM can't be beat and makes a noticeable difference in texture rendering and filtering. With RadeonPro I can max out and override everything on every game and still play at 60+ FPS. Overclocking this thing yields even more impressive results.
Cons: Like some other reviewers said the Twin Frozr III either works like a dream or seems to not work at all. My idle temps were in the 60-65 C range which alarmed me quite a bit. Playing a heavily modded Skyrim shot my temps to 98 C. After removing the cooler the reason was clear. Someone had attempted to drown my GPU in thermal grease. I carefully salvaged and cleaned up the puddle of the stuff surrounding the chip and reapplied a thin layer to the top and re-seated the cooler. Sure enough my idle temps dipped to 39 - 45 C and my full load temps were reduced significantly.
Overall Review: I'll give this card 4 eggs but I really had to delegate on how much the thermal grease thing made me feel. It's not a difficult fix if you know what you're doing but since it was so simple I'm shocked that a company I hold in as high a regard as MSI would ship cards in such an obviously impaired state. But, the card works magnificently now and I love how easily it overclocks now that the heat-sink works.