MSI GeForce RTX 4070 GAMING X TRIO 12G Review
A Factory Overclocked Example of NVIDIA’s RTX 4070
We are just a few days into general availability of RTX 4070 cards, and not only are there still cards available as I write this, but available at MSRP! What a difference a couple of years makes, huh? Finally, with the launch of a new NVIDIA GPU, consumers can compare models using reviews like this one, informing their purchase – rather than buying whichever card has the least outrageous markup on any given day.
MSI’s GeForce RTX 4070 GAMING X TRIO 12G offers a big triple-fan cooler and a Boost Clock of 2610 MHz out of the box – a number that matches the RTX 4070 Ti’s Boost Clock – 135 MHz above the Founders Edition of the RTX 4070 we tested for our launch review. In fact, this overclock can be extended by another 15 MHz to an even 150 MHz using an Extreme Performance profile via the MSI Center software.
So, how well can a larger, cooler card perform in comparison to the compact Founders Edition? Let’s take a look.
The MSI GeForce RTX 4070 GAMING X TRIO 12G
This card is another example of a cool and quiet TRI FROZR 3 design. I’ve been impressed with MSI’s GPU coolers since my GTX 560 Ti Twin Frozr II from back in the day, and with their overbuilt heatsinks MSI is able to use very conservative fan curves to keep noise down. This GAMING X TRIO also offers RGB lighting for those that enjoy that sort of thing. I’m not judging you if you do. I do, too.
The card measures 338 mm (13.31 inches) in length, is 141 mm (5.55 inches) wide/tall, and 52 mm (2.05 inches) thick. It weighs 1214 grams (2.68 lbs). It uses the 12VHPWR connector, which may disappoint those hoping for an AIB design with traditional 8-pin connectors – though it goes without saying that the adapter is included.
MSI offers a datasheet (link, PDF) for this product with all of the pertinent details, with a significant focus on the cooler and its impressive list of technologies. These include:
- TRI FROZR 3 – Stay cool and quiet. MSI’s TRI FROZR 3 thermal design enhances heat dissipation all around the graphics card
- TORX FAN 5.0 – Fan blades linked by ring arcs and a fan cowl work together to stabilize and maintain high-pressure airflow
- Copper Baseplate – A solid nickel-plated copper baseplate transfers heat from the GPU to all heat pipes for better cooling
- Core Pipe – Precision-machined heat pipes ensure max contact and spread heat along the full length of the heatsink
- Airflow Control – Don’t sweat it, Airflow Control guides the air to exactly where it needs to be for maximum cooling
- Zero Frozr – The fans completely stop when temperatures are relatively low, eliminating all noise
It’s a nice looking card (subjective), with a much larger cooler than NVIDIA’s Founders Edition (objective), and promises to be very quiet (speculative). Why don’t we actually test it?
Some Performance Tests
Before looking at a few benchmarks, let’s talk about clocks and power. As this card carries a 135 MHz overclock out of the box, there should be some improvement over reference, and probably at the expense of power draw. But we don’t have to speculate. We can measure things. We have the technology.
Here is a direct comparison of Founders Edition vs. MSI GAMING X TRIO GPU clocks under load:
Vertical axis enlarged to show texture
Clocks are indeed higher with this MSI card, with a top GPU clock of 2835 MHz under load, compared to a high of 2775 MHz observed with the Founders Edition in the same test. Obviously this isn’t a 135 MHz disparity, but GeForce cards seem to have a mind of their own in gaming situations.
The added speed comes at a bit of a cost, though average power was only slightly higher with the GAMING X TRIO card:
The GAMING X TRIO was still close to NVIDIA’s 200W TGP for this GPU, with average power of 205.6 watts during this test, compared to the 192.3 watts of the Founders Edition. The highest momentary draw recorded with the MSI GAMING X TRIO was 230.9 watts.
|PC Perspective GPU Test Platform|
|Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (Stock)|
|Motherboard||MSI MEG X670E ACE
BIOS v1.25 Beta
AGESA ComboPI 188.8.131.52 Patch A
Resizable BAR Enabled
|Memory||32GB (16GBx2) G.Skill Trident Z NEO DDR5-6000 CL30|
|Storage||SK Hynix Platinum P41 2TB NVMe SSD|
|Power Supply||be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500W|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Pro, 21H2|
|Drivers||GeForce Game Ready Driver 526.72 – 527.62
GRD 431.42 (RTX 4070 Press Driver)
Moving on to some benchmark results, we begin with a look at 3DMark Speed Way:
With an average score (after three identical runs) of exactly 100 points higher than the Founders Edition, we see that there is a small but certainly measurable performance improvement from the MSI GAMING X TRIO card. Let’s see if the same can be said from the game engine tests.
And here are three game benchmark results:
I don’t think we need to see any more. The factory overclock – aided by generous cooling – allows this MSI GAMING X TRIO card to consistently out-perform the Founders Edition, though we talking about some pretty low single-digit FPS increases.
As to thermals, after completing ten consecutive runs of the Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition benchmark (at 3440×1440 / Extreme) in a 20 C room, the max recorded GPU temp was only 59.5 C, with max Hot Spot of 72.4 C. Memory temps topped out at 58 C. And the fans barely had to spin up to keep things cool, with a max of 30% during all runs – which translates to speeds of just under 900 RPM. I don’t think you’re going to do much better than that with any cooler design this side of Noctua.
Due to the extremely low volume of the fans, I did not record noise with this card. The CPU cooler was significantly louder than the GPU. A goal for this year is to set up a test station with a passively-cooled CPU, and use it for GPU noise measurements. If I manage to set this up in time I’ll add some results here – but it’s safe to say that at ~900 RPM this card is going to be effectively silent inside a case.
NVIDIA’s RTX 4070 already seems to be a much more popular launch than other recent GeForce offerings, and it’s hard to argue against a xx70 card that matches the performance of the previous xx80 card, for less money. And please, try to keep pricing of these things in their proper context. I’ll expound on this thought in the next two paragraphs.
Consider that the GTX 1080 launched at $599 in May of 2016 (that was SEVEN years ago), and the Founders Edition was originally $699 (a $100 premium!). Now, it didn’t take all that long for NVIDIA to drop the price of the GTX 1080 to $499, and by the time the GTX 1080 Ti Founders Edition launched we were looking at a $699 flagship. By the time the RTX 2080 launched, pricing had jumped to $799, and many of us lamented the “RTX tax”. Somehow the RTX 3080 launching at the original $699 price of the GTX 1080 FE was considered a slap in the face, but it wasn’t ever widely available for $699 (thanks to the obsession with “mining” make-believe digital money).
Here we are, well into our third year since the RTX 3080 launch, and mining isn’t profitable anymore, so cards are starting to become readily available at MSRP again. And that is significant as the $599 MSRP of the RTX 4070 is legitimate, and you will be able to buy one at that price. Even a big, overbuilt, factory-overclocked variant like this MSI GAMING X TRIO is only $50 more, and can be found right now for $649.99 (Newegg link), in stock and shipping as I write this.
Pricing rant over. You, dear reader, will have to decide if RTX 3080-level performance – with access to the latest DLSS technology, overall improvements to real-time ray tracing performance, and AV1 encoding – has been fairly priced this generation. I think it has, and that the RTX 4070 will be the most popular NVIDIA card this generation – until the RTX 4060 Ti launches, that is. But who knows when that will be.
A look at the tasteful RGB lighting from the GAMING X TRIO
MSI is giving potential buyers a lot of reasons to consider their GAMING X TRIO card, as the $50 premium over the reference price buys a cool and extremely quiet TRI FROZR 3 cooler, and a respectable factory overclock that consistently offers a few more FPS than a stock card, all while only consuming about 15 – 20 additional watts.
Given the solid performance and ultra quiet operation of the MSI GeForce RTX 4070 GAMING X TRIO 12G, I can easily recommend the card to anyone looking for a little more than what NVIDIA’s Founders Edition can provide.
This is what we consider the responsible disclosure of our review policies and procedures.
How Product Was Obtained
The product is on loan from MSI for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The product remains the property of MSI but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
MSI had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
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Back when those other cards launched 1080 and 2080 could play anything you could throw at it. 3070 was good for 1440 with some compromises. 4070 makes even more compromises at 1440+. Game development is outpacing GPUs yet Nvidia coming in with bare minimum cards at premium prices. Skip this gen or go AMD