The back of the card runs an aluminum backplate with a copper heatpipe across the center, cooling the hotspots behind the inductors and toward the back-side of the GPU. This will need direct airflow from a case fan to really get proper use, but should work significantly better than Gigabyte’s Xtreme backplate. GPU core cooling is handled by something to the tune of ~8~9 heatpipes (could not get exact count at the show), most of which go directly across the GPU die area of the board.
Above: MSI is running 3x8 pin headers.
Power components also help spread thermal load, though, as MSI is using a doubling scheme to get 14+3 phases on the Lightning. The Lightning uses all IR components, relying on the IR3595A and 3570B controllers, with a stock board TDP of 350W. In order to leverage these components, like the EVGA Kingpin card, MSI hosts a special LN2 BIOS with all limitations removed. Users with XOC skills can employ the LN2 BIOS switch to get additional voltage to the GPU core, though there will ultimately be some thermal limitations until switching to exotic cooling.
And, of course, there are a lot of RGB LEDs: The card’s back-side is filled with digital RGB LEDs, producing a more even transition and additional visual effects than standard diodes.
Price is TBD. For more of a hands-on, check the video above.
Editorial: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick