Today, AMD has thrown down the gauntlet to nVidia and challenged them to a duel between GTX 590 and their own HD 6990. MSI, manufacturer of graphics cards took a different approach in creation of a product that deserves the coveted title of "the best graphics card in the world."

MSI's Top End Graphics Cards: N580GTX Lighting, R6970 Lighting - identically capable cards, yet two different GPUs power them

Insisting on equality policy, the company launched their top-of-the-range cards on the same day. According to MSI, they didn’t want to put any difference between AMD and nVidia – Lighting series is their highest factory overclocked parts and two launched parts are based on both the GeForce GTX 580 and Radeon HD 6970.

The most interesting part about the release is a claim that both parts can reach 1GHz clock (up from 772MHz on the GTX580 and up from 880MHz on the HD 6970), a testament of MSI’s engineering capabilities:

"This results in huge boosts to overclocking potential and stability, enabling the air-cooled N580GTX Lightning to break the 1GHz core clock barrier with ease."


In order to achieve high clocks, both cards are based on custom PCBs (Printed Circuit Board) with "Power4" architecture and Twin Frozr III heatsink. As the name says, TwinFrozr reached third generation, combining "fat" heatpipes (8mm instead of 6mm) with two high-efficiency fans named "Propeller Blade".

While baseline specifications on the Lighting cards are identical to the standard ones – GeForce GTX 580 carries 1.5GB, Radeon HD 6970 carries 2GB GDDR5 memory – everything else was changed. For example, display connectivity on the N580GTX Lighting wildely differs from the stock design: MSI placed two DVI connectors just like the reference parts, but also added full-sized DisplayPort and HDMI 1.4 ports.

Regardless of you being a fan of AMD or nVidia, at the end of the day – it is board vendors that make true experience. From the looks of it, MSI just might have pulled it off.