It’s been hard to evaluate video cards these days as there is no difference between a model from one manufacturer and a model from another one based on the same graphics chip, since they are all identical and provided by the chip manufacturer (NVIDIA or AMD) and the only thing the video card “manufacturer” does is to add their sticker to the video card and put the card in a box with the “manufacturer” logo. This is why we were so excited to review a model where the manufacturer actually added something really unique to the video card: MSI N260GTX Lighting Black Edition comes with an overclocking panel (called AirForce) that can be installed on your case or desk, allowing you to overclock the video card by touching some buttons, making overcloking easy especially for the newbie. Other features were added to the video card as well: double the memory compared to the standard model (1,792 MB vs. 896 MB), 10-phase voltage regulator circuit, solid aluminum caps, ferrite chokes, low RDS(on) transistors, test points on the board for you to check the GPU and memory voltages using a voltmeter and a better cooler.

The drawback of design its own product instead of using NVIDIA’s reference model is that it takes time, and by the time your product reaches the market it may be already too late. Although GeForce GTX 260/216 is not the latest product from NVIDIA, we cannot consider it obsolete, making it an interesting choice.

Before going into the specifics from MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition, let’s take a look at the product box, which is somewhat different as well, remembering a jewel case.

MSI N260GTX Lightning Black EditionFigure 1: MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition box.

MSI N260GTX Lightning Black EditionFigure 2: MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition box.

MSI N260GTX Lightning Black EditionFigure 3: MSI N260GTX Lightning Black Edition box.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.