MSI Radeon R7 370 Gaming 2GB Graphics CardThe AMD Pitcairn GPU was first released in March 2012 with the Radeon HD 7870 and 7850 graphics card. Since debuting back in 2012 it was again used on the AMD Radeon R7 270X and 270 and it appears to have been repurposed for the AMD Radeon R7 370 video card that came out in June 2015. AMD's Pitcairn GPU has to be one of the most successful GPUs every released by chip maker as they've been able to hang onto this one for over three years by altering clock speeds and adding new features like AMD Virtual Super Resolution (VSR) with driver updates. The only bad thing is that the older GCN 1.0 architecture doesn't support AMD FreeSync or TrueAudio, so just a heads up there if those are features you must have. The good news is the Radeon R7 370 supports DirectX 12 at feature level 11_1 for those running Windows 10! With 1024 GCN 1.0 stream processors in 16 compute units (32 ROPs and 64 Texture Units) and 2GB of VRAM on a 256-bit bus, the AMD Radeon R7 370 is no slouch and is a very capable card for 1080P gaming. The AMD Radeon R7 370 Reference Card is clocked at 975 MHz on the GPU core clock, but you can find models from board partners that are factory overclocked well beyond AMD's recommended core clocks. The price starts at $149.99 for a base model or you can step up to a factory overclocked model with a beefed up Twin Frozr V GPU cooler like the MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G that we are looking at today for just $158.99 shipped. The MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G video card comes out of the box with a base clock of 1000 MHz and a maximum boost clock of 1050 MHz. The cards 2GB of GDDR5 video memory is also overclocked and comes set to 1425 MHz or 5700 MHz effective. The AMD Radeon R7 370 reference card is clocked at 975 MHz core and 5600 MHz memory, so this is a modest 7.7% increase on the core and 1.8% increase on the memory frequencies. With these clock speeds You are looking at a texture fillrate of 67.2 GT/s and a memory bandwidth of 182.4 GB/s. The MSI R7 370 Gaming 2GB video card features the usual black design with red accents and measures in at 258 x 132 x 37 mm in dimension. This makes MSI's R7 370 Gaming card 10.2-inches in length. The Twin Frozr V GPU cooler features two 94mm Torx Fans with Zero Froxr technology, which means that the fans don't spin at idle for silent 0dB operation. The GPU cooler also boasts special SuperSU heat pipes (S-shaped) for better heat dissipation. Along the top edge of the R7 370 you'll find a single AMD CrossFire multi-GPU interconnect for those that might want to combine two of these cards together for even greater performance. Just to the right of the interconnect you'll see a dragon and the MSI logo that are backlit with an LED. The MSI Gaming Dragon has five LED lighting modes that can be controlled with the optional MSI Gaming App. Along the top edge of the PCB near the end of the graphics card you'll find the single rear-facing 6-pin PCIe power connector. MSI recommends at least a 500W power supply for running one of these cards or a 600W or larger model for those running two in dual mode with AMD CrossFire Technology. The MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G does not come with a back plate as you can see from the image above. We should note that MSI is using a custom PCB with MIL-STD-810G certified "Military Class" components including HI-C CAPs for high efficiency, Super Ferrite Chokes for lower temps and better power stability and lastly and solid aluminum CAPs that have over a 10-year lifespan. This card has a single UEFI vBIOS on it and there are no DIP switches or advanced overclocking features to be found on the custom PCB. MSI went with one DisplayPort 1.2 output (Max Resolution: 4096x2160 @60 Hz), one HDMI 1.4a output (Max Resolution: 4096x2160 @24 Hz) and a DVI-I & DVI-D outputs (Max Resolution: 2560 x 1600 @60 Hz). MSI includes a DVI to VGA adapter in the accessory bundle, so the MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G should be able to connect to pretty much any monitor on the market. You can easily hook up three monitors to this card at one, but it's really not intended to be a multiple monitor gaming card as it doesn't have the horse power needed to game on three 1080P monitors at a resolution of 5760 x 1080. Here you can make out the two 6mm thick heat pipes that make up the TWIN FROZR V GPU cooler. These heat pipes make direct contact with the GPU to ensure the best possible heat transfer to large aluminum heatsink fin array that has a horizontal fin arrangement that allows for some of the hot air to be vented outside of the case. The fan shroud isn't designed to direct the hot air from the case though, so much will be blown back into the case. If you install the MSI Gaming App you can customize the clock speeds of your card, the LED lighting and even the blue light balance of your display with the 'Eye Rest' feature that really does work. Modes: Boost Clock / Base Clock/ Memory Frequency OC Mode: 1050 MHz / 1000 MHz / 5700 MHz Gaming Mode: 1030 MHz / 980 MHz / 5600MHz Silent Mode: 975 MHz / 925 MHz / 5600MHz Now that we have a good understanding of what the MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G is all about we can take a look at the test system and get straight into testing!
Test SystemBefore we look at the numbers, let's take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done using a fresh install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. There has been some concern of people testing a cold card versus a hot card, but we've always done out testing 'hot' since the site started back more than a decade ago. Video Cards & Drivers used for testing:
- AMD CATALYST 15.8
- NVIDIA GeForce 355.65
Intel X79/LGA2011 PlatformThe Intel X79 platform that we used to test the all of the video cards was running the ASUS P9X79-E WS motherboard with BIOS 1704 that came out on 05/08/2015. We went with the Intel Core i7-4960X Ivy Bridge-E processor to power this platform as it is PCIe 3.0 certified, so all graphics cards are tested with PCI Express Gen 3 enabled. The Kingston HyperX 10th Anniversary 16GB 2400MHz quad channel memory kit was set to XMP Profile #2. This profile defaults to 2133MHz with 1.65v and 11-13-13-30 2T memory timings. The OCZ Vertex 460 240GB SSD was run with latest firmware available. A Corsair AX860i digital power supply provides clean power to the system and is also silent as the fan hardly ever spins up. This is critical to our testing as it lowers the ambient noise level of the room and gives us more accurate sound measurements. Here are the exact hardware components that we are using on our test system:
|The Intel X79 Test Platform|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-4960X|
ASUS P9X79-E WS
16GB Kingston 2133MHz
|Solid-State Drive||OCZ Vertex 460 240GB|
|Cooling||Intel TS13X (Asetek)|
|Power Supply||Corsair AX860i|
|Operating System||Windows 10 64-bit|
|Monitor||Sharp PN-K321 32" 4K|
Battlefield 4Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. It is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3 and was released on October 29, 2013 in North America. Battlefield 4's single-player Campaign takes place in 2020, six years after the events of its predecessor. Tensions between Russia and the United States have been running at a record high. On top of this, China is also on the brink of war, as Admiral Chang, the main antagonist, plans to overthrow China's current government; and, if successful, the Russians will have full support from the Chinese, bringing China into a war with the United States. This game title uses the Frostbite 3 game engine and looks great. We tested Battlefield 4 with the Ultra graphics quality preset as most discrete desktop graphics cards can easily play with this IQ setting at 1080P and we still want to be able to push the higher-end cards down the road. We used FRAPS to benchmark with these settings on the Shanghai level. All tests were done with the DirectX 11 API unless noted in the chart. Battlefield 4 is more CPU intensive than any other game that we benchmark with as 25% of the CPU is used up during gameplay. You can see that six threads are being used and that the processor is running in Turbo mode at 3.96GHz more times than not. Benchmark Results: In Battlefield 4 with Ultra settings at Full HD 1080P resolutions we found that all three video cards were somewhat close, but the ASUS GeForce GTX 950 STRIX 2GB was more than 10% faster than the MSI Radeon R7 370 GAMING 2GB video card. Benchmark Results: Here is a look at the performance over time and you can see that the ASUS GeForce GTX 950 STRIX was faster than the MSI Radeon R7 370 across the entire benchmark run!
DOTA 2DOTA 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena video game, the stand-alone sequel to the Defense of the Ancients (DotA) Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne mod. Developed by Valve Corporation, DOTA 2 was released as a free-to-play title for Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux in July 2013. In August 2015 the most recent STEAM survey shows that at any given time of the day there are on average 600,000 people playing the game title with a peak of nearly 1 million. DOTA 2 uses the Source game engine by Valve. We tested DOTA 2 at 1920 x 1080 screen resolution with VSync disabled. The rest of the settings we set to high or enabled. We did go into the console and raise the fps_max from 120 to 1000 to raise the frame cap ceiling to set it to 1000 fps to better show the performance differences between the cards. Without raising the FPS cap it should be noted that all the cards we tested had exactly the same average frame rate as they were at the frame rate cap for most all of the benchmark. We used Game 4 in the International grand championship match as our test replay. We ran FRAPS for 90 seconds starting at the 28:00 minute mark on the replay of CDEC vs EG. This part of the game is known as the 6 Million Dollar Echo Slam and is one of the memorable matches we've seen. The Match ID is 1697818230 if you'd like to download this section and try it out on your own system to see how it compares to our results. In the replay that we used we found the GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 950 cards to offer very similar performance on our test system and we honestly couldn't tell a difference between the two cards in our system. The MSI R7 370 GAMING 2G0 video card on the other hand was found to have lower performance. The minimum frame rate was down just 2-3 FPS, but the average was lower by nearly 10 FPS and the peak frame rate was 25 FPS lower. Benchmark Results: Here is the FPS result charted over time and you can see how the NVIDIA GeForce cards appear to excel at the periods of the replay where not much action is going on, but the AMD and NVIDIA cards are very similar when you get a large number of Heroes in one area battling it out.
Grand Theft Auto VGrand Theft Auto V, currently one of the hottest PC games, was finally released for the PC on April 14, 2015. Developed by Rockstar, it is set in 2013 and the city of Los Santos. It utilizes the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine (RAGE) which Rockstar has been using since 2006, with multiple updates for technology improvements. In Grand Theft Auto V we set the game to run with no MSAA with 16x AF and high image quality settings as we didn't want the GPU to bottleneck the system too bad, but wanted a setup that your average gamer would actually play on. Benchmark Results: In GTA V we ran the games built-in benchmark three times and averaged the numbers. The ASUS GeForce GTX 950 STRIX had a 70 FPS average versus the 64 FPS average on the MSI Radeon R7 370 Gaming 2G. The MSI Radeon R7 370 had the same peak frame rate as as the GeForce GTX 950, but the minimum was 24% lower and we care more about the minimums than anything else as that is usually when you notice a jitter or rough gameplay.
Metro Last Light
Metro: Last Light is a first-person shooter video game developed by Ukrainian studio 4A Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic world and features action-oriented gameplay with a combination of survival horror elements. It uses the 4A Game engine and was released in May 2013. Metro: Last Light was benchmarked with very high image quality settings with the SSAA set to off and 4x AF. These settings are tough for entry level discrete graphics cards, but are more than playable on high-end gaming graphics cards. We benchmarked this game title on the Theater level.
We again found around 20% CPU usage on Metro: Last Light.Benchmark Results: In Metro: Last Light the ASUS GeForce GTX 950 STRIX performed 30% faster on average than the MSI Radeon R7 370 Gaming 2G video card. Benchmark Results: Here is a look at our manual FRAPS benchmark! The MSI Radeon R7 370 Gaming 2G is clearly performing slower than the GeForce GTX 950 across the board.
ThiefThief is a series of stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the Late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix on February 25, 2014. We ran Thief with the image quality settings set at normal with VSYNC disabled. Thief appears to be running on the six physical cores of the Intel Core i7-4960X processor and averages around 17-24% CPU usage from what we were able to tell from the CPU utilization meter that is built into the Windows 8.1 task manager. Benchmark Results: The ASUS Geforce GTX 950 STRIX averaged 67.8 FPS and the MSI Radeon R7 370 was just shy of 57.3 FPS, so the GTX 950 was 18% faster than the R7 370. Benchmark Results: Some pretty good scaling here from the $150-$200 price range cards. were seen here in our Thief benchmark run.
3DMark 20133DMark Fire Strike Benchmark Results - For high performance gaming PCs Futuremark's 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark was developed to test the performance of dedicated gaming PCs. Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine to test DirectX 11 hardware.
Fire Strike Benchmark Results:
Benchmark Results: The 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark had the EVGA GeForce GTX 960 SSC video card coming in with an overall score of 7,054 versus a score of 6,156 on the ASUS GeForce GTX 950 STRIX 2GB video card. TheMSI Radeon R7 370 was in the back of the pack again with an overall score of 5461.
Temperature & Noise TestingTemperatures are important to enthusiasts and gamers, so we took a bit of time and did some temperature testing on the the ASUS version of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 video card. MSI R7 370 Gaming 2GB Idle Temps: The MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G video card has no fans spinning at idle, so the card is dead silent. With no fans spinning to help keep the GPU cool we observed the idle temperature being 57C. MSI R7 370 Gaming 2GB Load Temps: When gaming we hit 67C in a room where the temperature was 67F (20.5C), so we have no complaints at all. GPU-Z did not correctly report the fan speed on this particular card.
We test noise levels with an Extech sound level meter that has ±1.5dB accuracy that meets Type 2 standards. This meter ranges from 35dB to 90dB on the low measurement range, which is perfect for us as our test room usually averages around 36dB. We measure the sound level two inches above the corner of the motherboard with 'A' frequency weighting. The microphone wind cover is used to make sure no wind is blowing across the microphone, which would seriously throw off the data.All of the cards have no fans spinning at idle, so the idle noise is the same on all of the cards. The only reason the system is above ambient noise levels is due to CPU's water cooler fans and pump noise. With the fans running while gaming, the MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G hit 40.4 dB on our open test bench, so it didn't get loud at all. We didn't notice any choke noise or fan noise while gaming when we tried the card inside of a PC case. The noise between the three cards we tested was pretty much the same at both idle and load since none of the fans spun at idle and all GPU coolers were dual fan models with low RPM fan speeds.