MSI 7970 Twin Frozr III graphics card review

MSI 7970 Twin Frozr III graphics card review

MSI 7970 Twin Frozr III graphics card review.

MSI Twin Frozr III 7970 graphics card utilizes the latest AMD chipset.  Code named "Tahiti", this AMD chip stands atop of it's field in the crypto-currency mining realm.  This card is factory unlocked, which means it can be Over Clocked, and voltage adjusted.  This is particularly useful while mining bitcoins, litecoins, and/or other crypto-currencies.  Lowering the voltage, lowers the temperature of the card.  Please note, that the voltage adjustments are available for windows based machines only.  My understanding, is Linux does not have the capacity to adjust the voltage, yet.  If I'm mistaken, please send me a note, detailing how to do this.  I'll update this review.  You can flash the bios in these cards, to achieve lower voltages.  However, I'm not including this information in this review.

This review is based on mining litecoins, in a single gpu mining rig.  Your results may vary.

System details

Motherboard: ASUS M5A99FX PRO

Processor: AMD FX 6100 6-Core Processor

Memory/RAM: Corsair Vengeance 8GB

Power Supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M - 1000W 80 PLUS Bronze Power Supply

Graphics card: MSI AMD Radeon 7970 Grahics Card

Operating system:  Xubuntu 12.04

AMD Drivers: 13.8 Beta

AMD SDK: 2.8.1.0

AMD ADL: 5.0

 

Overview

The MSI AMD 7970 Twin Frozr III GPU, includes two high speed cooling fans.  They are enclosed in an aluminum shroud, which is a departure from the typical plastic housings.  The overall fan speed of the Twin Frozr is quite high.  You should note, that when the fan speeds are at the higher settings, it sounds like a vacuum cleaner.  It's quite distracting.  If you keep your mining rigs in your bedroom, you may want to reconsider.  

If you have a windows machine, the Twin Frozr will undervolt, to keep temps down.  I can be a tedious game working with the Over Clocking settings.  Each GPU is a little bit different, and your results will vary.  MSI has made a nice graphics card for bitcoin & litecoin mining; although, not my favorite card for mining.  It should do the trick.

Mining litecoins can be an enormous undertaking.  Scrypt mining is taxing on GPU's, and the person configuring them.  Finding the correct engine clock to memory clock ratio, can be a laborious process.  The net is riddled with "help" requests.  I hope to shine some light on this subject.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_MSIIMG_1107.jpg   b2ap3_thumbnail_MSIIMG_1102.jpg

b2ap3_thumbnail_MSIIMG_1095.jpg   b2ap3_thumbnail_MSIIMG_1093.jpg

Mining performance

The MSI Twin Frozr III is a capable miner.  With some caveats, this card performs at the same level as other top tier AMD 7970 graphics cards.  The stock voltage on the MSI is: 1.256v.  This is fairly normal for a stock voltage setting.  However, this is far too high for scrypt mining purposes.  The increased voltage, bumps the heat up significantly.  This test was using Linux, and it was not capable of lowering the voltage, hence the higher temperature.  The fan noise was significant also.  This card is meant for a well cooled, and well insulated room.

My first test was using the following settings:

gpu-threads = 2

intensity = 13

engine = 1050

mem clock = 1500

powertune = 10%

worksize = 256

thread concurrency = 18,368

Net Result: = 705 - 720 kh/s 

b2ap3_thumbnail_MSISelection_002.png   b2ap3_thumbnail_MSIcgminer_004.png

Final stable settings:

gpu-threads = 2

intensity = 13

engine = 1095

mem clock = 1500

powertune = 10%

worksize = 256

thread concurrency = 11,200

Net Result = 740 Kh/s

b2ap3_thumbnail_MSISelection_006.png   b2ap3_thumbnail_MSIcgminer_007.png

Conclusion:

After much tweaking, the MSI Twin Frozr III settled in at around 730-740 Kh/s.  It is a stable GPU for mining.  Although, if you are running a Linux machine for your mining rig, then I would recommend another card.  The inability to undervolt in Linux is a huge detriment.  As you can see, the temperatures were quite high, for a single GPU, well ventilated, mining rig.  There are ways to get around the voltage limitation, but is outside this review.  Flashing the bios is the only way I know of to reduce the voltage while running Linux.  Utilizing a windows machine and using the applications Afterburner and/or Trixx will alleviate your voltage woes, without bricking your graphics card.  Not to mention any hope in receiving warranty assistance.

Pros: 

Stable hash rate

voltage is unlocked (for windows machines)

Cons:

Fans are noisy at high speed

High stock voltage = high temps while running Linux

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