First Looks: MSI N465GTX Twin Frozr II Golden Edition
All that Glitters is not Gold
Copper is one of the world’s most widely-used metals and it is easily recognizable thanks to its distinctive reddish orange color. Amongst the elements in the Periodic Table, it is surpassed only by silver in terms of thermal conductivity, and therefore it is highly sought after by DIY enthusiasts when used in heatsinks. MSI recognizes this and has pulled out all the stops to give us the N465GTX Twin Frozr II Golden Edition, perhaps the only GTX 465 graphics card in the world to sport an all-copper custom cooler.
The Golden Boy
To be fair, MSI already has a pretty decent custom cooler in the form of its Twin Frozr II cooler. In our tests of the regular MSI N465GTX Twin Frozr II, we found it was a good 17 degrees cooler than a reference GeForce GTX 465. However, it seems that even that is not good enough for MSI.
So to improve on the card, MSI has fitted it with the same Twin Frozr II cooler except that the cooler is now fashioned entirely out of copper. The first thing you’ll notice about the card, apart from the familiar reddish orange hue of copper, is that it is significantly heavier than the regular N465GTX Twin Frozr II. This is due to copper weighing more than the usual copper and aluminum blend.
However, apart from the material of the cooler, this Golden Edition card has little else to differentiate it from the regular one. It packs the same “Military Class Components” that we are seeing on an increasing number of MSI products, and some of these components include HI-C Caps for better voltage regulation and solid state chokes for better overclocking performance. It is also fully compatible with MSI’s excellent Afterburner overclocking software, allowing users’ to tweak the card’s core voltage values for better overclocking potential. The N465GTX Golden Edition even packs the same reference clock speeds as the regular card, which is quite disappointing.
Since the MSI N465GTX Golden Edition is running on reference clock speeds, performance is nothing to shout about. It performs as well as any other GeForce GTX 465 card that is running at reference clock speeds.
What we were more interested in was the effectiveness of the all-copper cooler. And we were quite disappointed with our findings, as they showed that the N465GTX Twin Frozr II Golden Edition was in fact running hotter than a standard N465GTX Twin Frozr II card. Although the difference was small - the Golden Edition card recorded 70 degrees Celsius, whereas the regular card recorded 67 degrees Celsius - we were expecting the Golden Edition card to be cooler because of its all-copper cooler.
The reason we can think of is that while copper is a better thermal conductor than aluminum, it also loses heat less quickly because of its greater mass. This is also why manufacturers often employ a hybrid design with copper in heatsink cores but aluminum for cooling fins.
Although the MSI N465GTX Golden Edition is a special limited edition card with only 2500 pieces worldwide - of which 30 have been allocated to Singapore - we cannot justify the premium it commands over the regular non-copper edition simply because it in no way improves on the latter. Unless you fancy the all-copper design for aesthetic reasons, the N465GTX Twin Frozr II is a better buy.