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MSI Radeon R9 270X ITX Review

MSI's latest AMD ITX Graphics Card gets put under the spotlight.

Ripping off the film reveals the full dragon design on the top of the card, in a rather nice shiny relief gloss effect, in contrast to the rest of the black plastic which is matt in texture.  Rotating the card 90 degrees anti-clockwise we have the 4 display outputs for the graphics card.

  • 2x Mini Display Port Outputs
  • 1x Gold Plated HDMI Output (Full Size)
  • 1x DVI-I Output

 

The included adapters also offer the conversion of these to 1x Full size Display Port (from Mini Display Port) and 1x VGA /DSub (from the DVI-I Port)

Above the connectors in the 2nd PCI spacing we just have the vent for the cooler, normally on a 270X you would get a second DVI-I or DVD-D Port, not the case on the ITX version, however if you wanted to run an additional DVI screen you can purchase adapters to convert the DP or HDMI ports.

Again rotating the card another 90 degrees anti-clockwise we see the top edge of the card, first up is the small AMD Crossfire connector, this is welcome sight on an ITX card but is maybe a feature that the majority of people buying an ITX card will never use. Most ITX boards only come with a single PCI-e lane so you couldn’t fit two of these cards even if you wanted, those I suppose you could install the ITX card inside a regular mATX or bigger system as the PCI brackets are standard.

Next connector up is the power connector for the PCIe, the ITX card uses an 8 PIN connector, and once again MSI have included a little adapter to convert this to a standard 6 PIN connector should you not have an 8 PIN on your PSU loom.  All the standard 270X cards that I’ve seen prior to this use 2x 6 PIN power connectors, does this mean the ITX card is not as fast as the regular 270X or have MSI found a way of reducing the power requirements?

The back edge just has intakes for the cooling systems and the bottom edge as expected have the PCIE 3.0 slot.  I like the look and finish of the card, the black and red looks gamey and racy.  The overall style matches that of the rest of the GAMING range from MSI and this card would go extremely well with their ITX boards like the Z87I-GAMING and the new Z97I-GAMING

The card feels very solid and well built, the custom cooler they have made is securely fastened and oozes quality, very often we see cards with flimsy coolers that are prone to rattling and breaking but this feels and looks very good indeed.

The card is only 17cm in length allowing it to be fitted into the majority of smaller ITX cases, it’s worth noting however that the cooler is a little taller than the PCI card back-plate, 15.8mm according to my handy digital callipers (eBay Special) this is fine for installation into my Elite 110 cases but it’s worth bearing in mind if you are thinking of using an ultra slim case.

Onto testing the card, rather than running a massive number of tests against competing cards and different models I’m interested in knowing how this card stacks up against its full size sibling, and whether or not MSI have had to knock the GPU back in order to squeeze it all into the ITX form factor, after all if you purchasing a 270X you want to know if you’re getting 270X performance! And not just a name badge.

Time for a bit of testing