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MSI Radeon HD R7870 2 GB Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC

MSI currently offers as many as three different Radeon HD 7870 models. The R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC is the most interesting product of the three, because it not only has higher clock frequencies, but is also equipped with a unique cooling system. Let’s take a closer look at this particular graphics card.

The card comes in a medium sized cardboard box with a flying MSI Twin Frozr III cooler on the front:

 

Besides the detailed information on the back of the package, every key feature of the product is described in great detail on the broadside of the box:

There is also a window revealing the graphics card cooler, so you will be able to check it out without taking out the graphics card. Inside the box there is a casing made of polyurethane foam that holds the graphics card and all accessories carefully secured in individual slots:

Among them are two adapter-cables for additional power, CrossFireX bridge, mini DisplayPort → DisplayPort adapter, a CD disk with drivers and utilities, installation guide and a marketing booklet. The card is manufactured in China and is priced at $299. It comes with a 3-year warranty.

MSI graphics cards boast their own unique style and are easily recognizable. MSI Radeon HD R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC is also no exception:

 

The front of the graphics card is covered with a metal casing of the two-fan cooling system. One side of this casing hangs off the side of the graphics card PCB. As a result, the card is 272 mm long. The back is not covered with anything, which is, actually, good.

MSI Radeon HD R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC features one DVI-I (Dual-Link) Out, one HDMI version 1.4s and two mini DisplayPort version 1.2 ports:

The mesh on the bracket, through which hot some of the air is pushed out of the system case, is shaped as “MSI” logo, so you can easily figure out the graphics card maker’s name by just looking at the back of the system case.

One MIO connector to combine two graphics cards like that in a CrossFireX configuration and two six-pin additional power connectors are located in their traditional spots.

 

The cooling system is fastened with four screws along the perimeter of the casing, so it can be easily removed. After that you only need to unscrew the metal heat-spreader over the voltage regulator components and memory chips and you will be able to see the PCB:

 

Despite our expectations, MSI engineers decided not to design their own PCB layout, but used the reference design. The VRM part between the outs panel and the GPU is designed as 5+1+1 (GPU + Memory + PLL):

The VRM is controlled with a CHiL Semiconductor CHL8225 chip.

Judging by the marking, Pitcairn XT graphic processor was made on week 6 of 2012 (mid February):

Unlike the reference AMD Radeon HD 7870, the graphics processor on MSI Radeon HD R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC works at 1050 MHz instead of the nominal 1000 MHz frequency. This is a very modest boost, especially since the competitors, as well as MSI themselves offer HD 7870 models working at 1100 MHz frequency. Nevertheless, MSI Radeon HD R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC does score points for factory overclocking.

Two gigabytes of GDDR5 memory are in eight FCBGA-chips on the front of the PCB. They are made by Hynix Semiconductor Inc:

H5GQ2H24MFR T2C marking indicates theoretical effective frequency of 5000 MHz, but the memory on MSI Radeon HD R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC graphics card works at 4800 MHz, which is the nominal rate for Radeon HD 7870 graphics cards. I wish MSI also increased the memory frequency, as it has tremendous overclocking potential. On the other hand, memory overclocking on Radeon HD 78xx and HD 79xx doesn’t boost the performance too much that is why we are not particularly upset about the fact that they decided to use reference frequencies for the memory.

The GPU-Z utility gives us a snapshot of the graphics card’s specifications:

 
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