It was a couple of things, mostly being that there was a good deal at Microcenter for the MSI version. I was able to get a brand new one for about $550 and my parents split the cost with me for Christmas cause they knew I was looking at getting a new video card.
I also am a big fan of MSI products, and have a few in my rig so getting the MSI would match. The red and black with the white dragon logo that glows looks fantastic. It also has a protective backplate and comes with a nice utility program for overclocking and and other control over your card.
It’s a little bigger than the “reference” cards by about a half inch, but that wasn’t an issue cause I have a full tower case. You’ll need to measure the length to make sure your new card will fit, and then check the power PCI-e slots. This one takes two cords either with 8 slots or the 6+2 power cords. I had to go digging and find my cords from my Corsair PSU that’s a fully mod version. Depending on what you have you may need to upgrade your power supply.
Ultimately the differences are very small. I would have to say that the fastest, by a tiny bit, would be the Asus Strix. The MSI probably isn’t quite as fast as Gigabyte or Asus but it looks slick and runs the quietest. The Asus would be the second quietest, but it’s huge and won’t fit in every case.
You can’t go wrong with any of them, really.