This year, AMD and NVIDIA have completely updated their lineup, refreshing the budget solutions segment as well. Thanks to this, buyers with limited funds can purchase faster and more advanced graphics accelerators. On the pages of our site, all the main budget models have already been considered. Now there is a reason to return to this topic. In this review, we will take a look at two inexpensive MSI graphics cards from the Aero line and at the same time test them in a new list of gaming applications. Therefore, this test will not only give an idea of specific budget-class products, but also serve as an addition to our large test of the Radeon RX 560 and GeForce GTX 1050.
A feature of the considered Radeon RX 560 and GeForce GTX 1050 is a small form factor that allows them to be used in compact Mini-ITX systems. However, for this class of devices, this is a frequent occurrence. Budget solutions do not require a complex power system and have a low TDP, which is why many manufacturers produce small compact versions of these video adapters.
Let’s see what MSI video adapters will offer us, evaluate the capabilities of the cooling system, and test them for overclocking.
MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX 4G OC
Let’s start with the AMD Radeon RX 560. Previously, we looked at the economical version of the Radeon RX 560 with 2 GB and the older version of the Radeon RX 560 with 4 GB of memory and additional power. A feature of the MSI video adapter is the presence of 4 GB of video memory in the absence of an external power connector.
The MSI Radeon RX 560 Aero ITX comes in a small compact box. The complete set is limited to a disk with the software.
Before us is a compact video card with two-slot cooling. The overall length of the device is 15.5 cm, and the board is even shorter.
From above cooling is covered with a plastic casing. One large diameter fan is used.
One of the screws on the cooler is protected by a warranty seal.
There are three connectors on the rear panel: DisplayPort, HDMI and DVI-D.
Let’s take a closer look at the cooling system.
Under the casing is a solid aluminum radiator with a massive base. This design is often used in budget video art.
Since the flat base occupies only the central part of the structure, the air passes quietly between the ribs. This contributes to the airflow of the board, which is favorable for the elements of the power node.
The printed circuit board is very compact, the length of the textolite is 14.5 cm. The GPU power system has three phases.
The compact Polaris 21 chip does not have a protective frame. Four gigabytes of memory are typed in Micron microcircuits marked 6SA47 D9SXD.
According to official specifications, the GPU frequency is declared in the range from 1175 MHz (baseline) to 1275 MHz (maximum Boost value). However, video adapters without external power with more stringent power restrictions also have lower frequencies. In this case, this is 1196 MHz for the core, which is slightly higher than the initial frequency of the PowerColor Red Dragon RX 560 2GB GDDR5 OC. The effective memory frequency is at the standard level of 7000 MHz.
Under load, the core frequency is not kept at the same level due to the mentioned power limitations, dropping below 1196 MHz. In fact, the video card works in the usual Boost mode, but with a low initial value.
The tests were carried out on an open stand at an indoor temperature of 22 °C. In the Superposition benchmark, the core frequencies were kept within 1170-1180 MHz, and a long 15-minute continuous test warmed up the core to 69 ° C. Among games, Project CARS 2 turned out to be the heaviest application — in this application there were rare frequency drops to 1154 MHz and the peak temperature increased to 70 ° C.
The fan barely spins up to 1400 rpm at peak times, the noise is minimal. Operating temperatures can be called typical for models in this series. As for the frequencies, the mentioned option from PowerColor showed more significant drawdowns. So the initial potential of MSI Aero among the economical versions of the Radeon RX 560 is quite good.
To evaluate the capabilities of older versions of the Radeon RX 560, MSI Aero was also tested at higher frequencies. To do this, the power limit was increased, and the core frequency was set to 1250 MHz. This is slightly below the peak level of 1275 MHz to account for possible variable Boost.
Radeon RX 560 without additional power overclock worse than older versions. The MSI video adapter also did not show record results, but slightly outperformed the PowerColor accelerator. We managed to pass all tests with a core clock of 1335 MHz and a memory overclock of up to 8000 MHz. The Polaris 21 chip heats up dramatically with increasing frequencies, and a simple heatsink can hardly maintain an acceptable temperature regime. In this case, we limited ourselves to fixing the fan speed at 50% of the maximum (less than 2300 RPM). This made it possible to keep temperatures within 80 °C. Only Project CARS 2 managed to warm up the core above this level.
When the power limit was increased to the maximum, the core frequency was stably kept at the level of 1335 MHz, but in Project CARS 2 there were periodic deviations of 5-15 MHz down.
Since maintaining stability requires high RPMs and is associated with high noise, practical overclocking for everyday gaming use will have to be limited to lower frequencies.
It should also be noted that with the AMD Crimson Edition 17.10.2 driver, memory overclocking is blocked. And although this version appears in the upper screenshot of GPU-Z, in order to overclock ours, we had to roll back to an older and more stable version of AMD Crimson Edition 17.9.3.