Introduction & Closer Look
Model: R7 370 Gaming 2G
Price: £119 (At time of review)
So it’s been around a year and a half since AMD have brought anything “new” to the graphics arena and the anticipation for faster cards to rival the latest onslaught of NVIDIA cards has been very high; can AMD deliver and avoid disappointing consumers who have been waiting for a new option from AMD for the best part of a year.
Well enter the R7 370, AMD’s answer to the NVIDIA GTX 750Ti and close rival to the GTX 960; 2 cards focused and aimed primarily at 1080p gamers. With high end gamers looking for 1440p and 4K HD suitable solutions, it makes sense to target the majority of PC gamers who effectively still use and intend to remain on 1080p; if it’s not broken, why fix it? Of course eSports is a rampant feature in PC gaming today and any professional gamer will tell you, high resolution is actually a handicap to competitive gaming due to many reasons; I’m not a pro-gamer, but just look at Dreamhack or LCS, they use up to 1080p screens for a reason!
It’s abundantly clear that 1080p gaming is going nowhere and AMD have their affordable, yet suitably powerful R7 370 ready for you and today is going to be all about this; more specifically the MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G model which features MSI’s stalwart red and black gaming design. Touching more on the specifications of the card itself, this particular model is based on the new Trinidad chip; the R7 370 is officially Trinidad PRO. With 2.8 million transistors and based on the 28 nm manufacturing process, it shares near identical specifications to the HD 7870 Pitcairn GPU from 2012 and the R9 270x, also based on Pitcairn which was released in 2013; doesn’t actually look like anything new, but sometimes tweaks and modifications can make all the difference in terms of performance.
Add MSI’s Twin Frozr V cooler into the mix which wasn’t actually available back in 2012, then it should make for quite an interesting review; the MSI Twin Frozr V is regarded as one of the best GPU air coolers on the market for design, performance whilst usually offering good value for money.
So taking a look at the MSI R7 370 Gaming 2G graphics card in the flesh, the first thing to note is the ever popular MSI Twin Frozr V cooler in all its red and black glory; if you have seen ANY MSI Gaming branded product, this leaves little to the imagination and the theme follows throughout their entire range; this includes their motherboards which allows for colour scheme matching between their range of products. The Twin Frozr V cooler features a semi passive design and features 2 x fans which are designed to dissipate any heat from the heat sink with as little noise as it possibly can.
This card might be geared for 1080p gaming, but it has a wide array of outputs which include HDMI, DisplayPort 1.2 and 2 x Dual link DVI ports which supports AMD Eyefinity; bear in mind this particular model features 2GB of GDDR5 memory although a 4GB version will be available at some point in the near future.
The R7 370 features a TDP of 150w thus allowing AMD to use only 1 x 6pin PCI-e connector which means lower performing 450w and 500w power supplies should in theory have no problems in running this card to its full potential; when I say 450w/500w power supplies, I am of course referring to ones of good quality, brand, OEM etc. and not cheap generic “fireworks”.
Running a super tight ITX case with limited GPU room? Well the R7 370 is a dual slot card and in the case of the MSI card, it measures in just under 9” making this a very viable option for a LAN gaming rig, or even for a powerful HTPC for your living room; 2 way CrossFire is also available on this card meaning if in future you required more performance and you had ample power and space spare, adding a 2nd wouldn’t be too much of a hassle.
This card unlike a lot of other MSI Gaming themed graphics cards doesn’t feature a back plate; although it’s not a vital accessory, it does look aesthetically pleasing in comparison to bare PCB. Maybe MSI will change this in latest revisions (if any), but it isn’t my place to speculate, but a back plate would certainly have added a little more class to this card in terms of design.
For those wanting a full list of this particular cards specifications, you can find these on the next page!