In the shadows of others.
For testing the MSI R6970 Lightning, I have used our resident testbed which comprises of an Intel Core i7-2600K, Kingston HyperX T1 4GB DDR3-2200MHz memory, Gigabyte P67A-UD7 motherboard, Kingston V-Series 64GB SSD with Windows 7 Ultimate running on it; all of which is powered by a Cooler Master 1200W Silent Pro Gold PSU. For comparisons I have added the Zotac GTX 580 and 570 plus the AMD HD 6970 and 6950. Also, the recently reviewed N580GTX Lightning which, price and specs wise, happens to be the biggest competitor for the MSI R6970 Lightning. Apart from 3DMark, all benchmarks were run at a resolution of 1920×1200.
Apart from Far Cry 2 and 3DMark Vantage (obviously) the R6970 Lightning seems to be either touching at the heels of a standard GTX 580, or surpassing it. The MSI R6970 Lightning is one of the very few HD 6970 cards that, at factory settings, comes this close to a GTX 580 and threatens the lead from Nvidia’s second in command, now that the GTX 590 is out.