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MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming 2GB (N760 TF 2GD5/OC)

MSI’s Gaming series products all feature eye-catching packaging. The N760 TF 2GD5/OC model we’ve got for our tests is no exception.

 

The product features, specifications and minimum system requirements are listed on the back of the packaging. The graphics card is fixed in the middle of the cardboard box you will find under the colorful external wrapper. Above it, there’s a flat box with accessories which include two power adapters, a DVI->D-Sub adapter, a CD with drivers and utilities, and a brief installation guide.

The graphics card is manufactured in China and comes with a 3-year warranty. Interestingly, it is priced at $260, which is not much higher compared to Nvidia’s recommended price, although the MSI version differs a lot from the reference GeForce GTX 760.

The MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming looks stylish and powerful as its face side is covered with the cooler’s metal casing with two fans. It doesn’t look bulky, though. Its dimensions are 262x116x38 mm.

In the top view we can see power connectors and heat pipes piercing the heatsink. The reverse side of the PCB is exposed, revealing memory chips as well as empty spots for more memory chips. There’s a neat plastic cap on each of the card’s connectors.

The MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming has the following selection of video outputs: dual-link DVI-I and DVI-D ports, one HDMI 1.4a, and one DisplayPort version 1.2.

Notwithstanding the cooler type, the vent grid in the card’s mounting bracket does a good job of exhausting the hot air out of the computer case.

The MSI version has the same two SLI connectors as the reference GTX 760 but their power connectors differ:

 

Instead of two 6-pin power connectors, the MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming has 6-pin and 8-pin ones, implying an improved power system. On the other hand, the peak power draw is specified to be 170 watts as with the reference GeForce GTX 760. By the way, the connectors of power cables turn out to be right under a heat pipe, so while there are no problems with plugging them in, you may find it difficult to take them out afterwards.

Although massive, the cooler is only secured with four screws around the GPU. It is easy to take it off. Underneath it, we found a metal plate that helps reduce the temperature of the power transistors and memory chips.

Take note of the card’s stiffness rib, by the way. It will block both SLI connectors if you use stiff connecting bridges, making it impossible to include the card into 3-way SLI configurations (which require connecting bridges of that type). So, you may want to install an MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming into the bottom/second PCIe x16 slot and another graphics card (not this model from MSI) into the first slot.

We removed the metal plate to check out the card’s PCB design:

MSI’s custom design features an improved power system and premium Military Class IV components complying with the American military standard MIL-STD-810G. So we can see here aluminum-core solid-state capacitors with ultra-low resistance and 10-year service life, economical Hi-c capacitors, and Super Ferrite Chokes with 10% higher energy efficiency and 30% higher current capacity compared to ordinary chokes.

All of this can be had for about the same money as a reference GeForce GTX 760.

The 5-phase GPU voltage regulator is managed by an RT8802A controller from Richtek Technology which is installed on the reverse side of the PCB.

There are two more power phases for the graphics memory and PLL.

The card’s 28nm GK104 chip is revision A2. It was manufactured in Taiwan on the 8th week of 2013 (the end of February).

The base GPU clock rate is 1020 MHz in 3D mode. It can be boosted to 1085 MHz. After setting the Power and Temperature Targets are their maximums, the GPU frequency peaked up to 1085 MHz in boost mode, according to our monitoring tools. Besides that, you can use MSI Gaming App to quickly switch the card into one of three available operation modes:

In the OC mode, the GPU works at 1085/1150 MHz, which is quite impressive in comparison with the GPU clock rate of the reference GeForce GTX 760 (980/1033 MHz). The Gaming mode is the default operation mode for the MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming whereas the Silent Mode brings the clock rates down to the reference card’s. Besides, the GPU clock rate goes down to 135 MHz in 2D applications and the voltage drops from 1.2 to 0.875 volts.

The ASIC quality of the GPU is rather low at 74.2%.

The MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming carries 2 GB of graphics memory in FCBGA-packaged chips soldered to both sides of its PCB. These are H5GQ2H24AFR R0C chips from Hynix.

The memory is rated for 6000 MHz and is actually clocked at 6000 MHz on the MSI card. So, there is no factory overclocking in this respect. In 2D applications the memory frequency is lowered to 648 MHz. Thus, the MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming has the following specs in its default operating mode:

Besides the premium PCB components and pre-overclocked GPU, the MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming features the exclusive cooler called Twin Frozr IV:

It consists of a large aluminum heatsink with four heat pipes, three of each are 6 mm in diameter. The fourth pipe is 8 mm.

The heatsink is supposed to feature the Airflow Control technology which directs the heat flow towards the heat pipe by means of a special deflector and thus improves the cooler’s performance. We couldn’t find any deflectors in this heatsink, though. The cooler’s heat pipes are referred to as Super Pipes. MSI claims they have twice the heat transfer speed of ordinary heat pipes.

The heat pipes are soldered to the heatsink’s aluminum fins as well as to the nickel-plated copper base. The cooler employs two 100mm PLD10010S12HH fans from Power Logic with Propeller Blade (the slanted blades ensure higher pressure at lower noise) and Dust Removal (temporary backward rotation when shutting down to remove dust) technologies.

The fans are PWM-regulated in a speed range of 900 to 3000 RPM. They have no highlighting.

Hereinafter, to check out the cards temperatures we used five runs of the pretty resource-hungry Aliens vs. Predator (2010) benchmark at the highest visual quality settings, at a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. We used 16x anisotropic filtering but no MSAA 4x:

We used MSI Afterburner 3.0.0 beta 10/11 and GPU-Z version 0.7.1/0.7.2 for monitoring of temperatures inside the closed system case, which configuration is discussed in detail in the corresponding chapter of the roundup. All tests were performed at 26°C room temperature.

The Twin Frozr IV cooler amazed us with its performance and noise level. With its fans regulated automatically, the GPU was only 73°C hot. Most impressively, the fans were rotating at 1300 RPM only.


Automatic fan mode

Maximum fan speed

We’ll discuss the noise factor shortly, yet we want to assure you that the MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming is quite comfortable at that speed of the fans. When the maximum speed of 3000 RPM is set manually, the fans are rather loud, but the peak GPU temperature is 13°C lower at 61°C. The coolers of the other two graphics cards are far less efficient.

The MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming turned out to have the highest overclocking potential, too. Without changing its GPU voltage, we increased the GPU and memory clock rates by 135 and 1500 MHz, respectively.

The resulting GPU clock rate was 1155/1220 MHz in 3D applications whereas the graphics memory was stable at 7508 MHz.

The overclocked card grew 6°C hotter but its fans only accelerated by 90 RPM.

Thus, the MSI GeForce GTX 760 OC Gaming remains comfortable acoustically in 3D applications even when overclocked, which is quite a rare thing for a midrange graphics card. MSI’s cooler is praiseworthy indeed.

 
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