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Written by David Ramsey   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
Overclocking the MSI N680GTX Lightning
Closer Look: Under the Cooler
Overclocking Details
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX11: 3DMark11
DX11: F1 2010
DX11: Batman: Arkham City
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 3.0
DX11: Battlefield 3
Overclocked N680GTX Lightning Final Thoughts

Overclocking the MSI GeForce N680GTX Lightning

Manufacturer: Micro-Star International (MSI)
Product Name: N680GTX Lightning
Model Number: V823
UPC: 816909099126
Suggested Retail Price: $599.99 (Newegg)

Full Disclosure: MSI provided the product sample used in this article.

Any overclocker knows that cranking the clock speed means that power usage goes up, and in many cases to get the best overclock it's necessary to increase the voltage as well. While enthusiast motherboards with modern digital power circuits make increasing the voltage to the CPU and motherboard components easy, it's not at all easy to do with most video cards. In fact to increase voltage to a video card's GPU generally requires some soldering skills.


MSI's GTX680 Lightning is one of the first Kepler-based video cards built on a fully custom PCB, and MSI included the ability to adjust the voltage for the GPU, memory, and DLLs on the card. However, the software required to do this wasn't available at the time of my original review, so I decided not to waste time on benchmarking based on the limited overclocking I could achieve without voltage adjustment. Now that MSI Afterburner 2.2.3 is available, it's time for a full-bore overclocking run!



# RE: Overclocking the MSI N680GTX Lightningkzinti1 2012-08-09 00:59
My very favorite flavor of Nvidia cards! I can't wait for the Lightning GTX680 XE wi/4GB. memory.
It appears only MSI can bring out the very best in these gpu's. If only Nvidia would give these boutique card makers a freer rein to make these cards live up to their utmost potential.
We overclockers know the dangers of running these at the bleeding edge of high-performance and accept the responsibility of any consequences.
Nvidia should allow us to sign away their warranty and then give us the freedom to tweak these cards to the very edge of destruction. It's our cards and our risk and Nvidia needs to quit babying us.
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# Suffering,.....RealNeil 2012-08-09 07:48
"There's no doubt that the MSI N680GTX Lighting is a fabulously fast video card that begs to be overclocked, especially with some exotic cooling. Right now, though, it's rather a pain to do so, and we can only hope the situation improves in the future"
____________________ ___________

I'd love to be saddled with such pain. Honestly, I'd probably leave it stock except for special gaming sessions.
NVIDIA probably doesn't want to deal with folks who OC these cards ~too~ much and destroy them, then proclaim the card to be junk and ask for another one. So they attempt to keep them throttled down to acceptable levels.
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# RE: Suffering,.....David Ramsey 2012-08-09 08:47
If you have no plans to overclock the card, save yourself $100 and buy a reference card.
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# Moot pointRealNeil 2012-08-09 08:57
Good advice,.....but It doesn't look like I'll be able to get either one of them anytime soon. If I was in the market, I would be doing comparisons and would most likely do just that. Maybe I would look for one that would 'save' it's overclock settings between boots.
For now, I'm happy with my two GTX570s in SLI, and my two XFX Radeon R7770 Core Editions in crossfire. Being retired, I no longer have the bucks to buy the best.
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# RE: Moot pointDavid Ramsey 2012-08-09 09:14
I imagine two 570s in SLI will provide performance very close to, if not exceeding, that of a single GTX680.
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# Good enough for meRealNeil 2012-08-09 09:22
The two 570s used to be in separate systems and were OK then. Then my daughter sent me one of the R7770s as a gift, so I bought another one and changed both systems to dual card setups.
Both are quite acceptable playing my favorite shooters, and the R7770s are better than what I though they would be.
Benchmarks really tell the difference between the two setups, but usage does not.
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