MSI R9 280X Gaming 6GB

MSI offers four Radeon R9 280X cards, all of which are garnished with the company's Twin Frozr IV cooler. The version we have is the R9 280X Gaming 6GB and while it features a larger 6GB memory capacity, the same card can be purchased with the standard 3GB buffer.

While the 6GB model costs $400, the 3GB model can be had for $300. Given there are no other differences between these cards other than the memory buffer size, we highly recommend gamers go with the much cheaper 3GB version.

There is no instance where a Radeon R9 280X will require more than 3GB of memory. While a 6GB buffer is ideal for multi-monitor setups or even 4K displays, the 280X cannot provide playable performance at these resolutions, in fact even two cards would struggle and likely fail.

Memory aside, the MSI R9 280X Gaming is an impressive looking graphics card that shares the same PCB dimensions as the Asus R9 280X DirectCU II TOP. In fact, the MSI and Asus cards also feature a strikingly similar cooler as well, though the fan and heatpipe configuration is slightly different.

Each company puts its own special touch on the Radeon R9 280X and MSI is no different. Whereas Asus employed a CoolTech fan, Gigabyte used Triangle Cool technology and HIS made their card gold, MSI has SuperPipes.

MSI's card moves heat from the GPU to the fin grid array with the company's special 'SuperPipe' technology. It claims that SuperPipes transfer heat twice as fast as regular heatpipes, enabling an MSI Gaming graphics card to stay cooler than the competition.

SuperPipes sound pretty unique but they're no more special than CoolTech fans, Triangle Cool heatsinks or gold graphics cards. They are just regular old 6-8mm heatpipes, nothing more, nothing less. MSI says they are super because they are 60% thicker than regular heatpipes, though we thought 6mm heatpipes were more standard than 5mm.

Still, MSI has used a very large heatsink to cool its R9 280X and it features five heatpipes (one 8mm and four 6mm) to distribute heat evenly across the block.

Similar to Gigabyte's Ultra Durable VGA range, MSI has what it calls 'Military Class' and the R9 280X Gaming 6GB is a Military Class 4 product. This means only MIL-STD-810G certified components have been used such as solid caps, solid state chokes and Hi-C CAPs.

MSI has clocked this card at 1050MHz for the core and 6000MHz for the memory. It has also stuck with the standard 6-pin/8-pin PCIe power configuration, while the outputs are also standard including DVI, HDMI and dual mini-DisplayPorts.