Totally silent; great performance
Bundle is lacking; software hard to parse at a glance
The Gigabyte card is also an overclocked card, having a stock GPU clock speed of 1033MHz, which is 118MHz higher than stock. It also features a decent overclock on its Boost Clock that gives it a ceiling of 1,111MHz when overclocked. The card includes a massive cooling apparatus that features twin 100mm fans blowing down onto aluminum fins fed by two fat copper heatpipes connected to a heat exchanger. The cooling setup is so big it overhangs the edges of the card a bit, but we don’t mind—it was the quietest card in our testing by a clear margin and remained silent even under full load—an impressive feat for a card that is overclocked this much.
Not the fanciest-looking fans, but they're quiet and they work.
Though the Gigabyte card was not as fast as the MSI board, it was nipping at the MSI's heels in every test and even beat it in two of the tests by the slimmest of margins. In reality, we can easily call it a wash between these two cards, and say they are both the fastest in this group of cards. One area in which the Gigabyte was the clear winner was in clock speeds, as it used GPU Boost to pump itself up to a surprising core clock speed of 1,241MHz, up from its 1,033MHz stock clock speed. It was also the quietest card in our tests, despite having the highest clock speeds.
Like the MSI board the bundle that comes with the card is minimal, including just two molex to six-pin power cable adapters and a CD with its OC Guru II software and drivers. The OC Guru software gets the job done but is not easy to use, and lacks any on-screen instructions.
The Gigabyte card is the most expensive card in this round—by $10—and is easily worth it. We are happy to pronounce it Kick Ass by virtue of its speed and quiet operation.
From the November Issue 2012