The HAWK version of the GTX 460 doesn't carry with it the same weight as the HD 5770 version did when we looked at it. The main reason for this is that since launch we've seen companies offer us big OC models out of the box straight away. The leg up that MSI have on the competition isn't quite as strong as back then.
Saying that, the GTX 460 HAWK is another fantastic version of the card. The Twin FrozrII cooler as always has proved itself and really is a fantastic cooler. There's also those little extras like the ability to check voltages that make the card stand out a little more than the competition. You have to wonder how much more you're paying for this ability, though, and if it wasn't there then how much would the card be?
This is a real tough one today. Being part of the GTX 460 crowd the HAWK model offers us fantastic value compared to most other models on the market. Against other GTX 460s it's a little tougher as its clocks aren't quite as high as others. The fact that MSI have chosen to leave the memory clock at stock is also disappointing. The voltage checking abilities while cool, are probably going to be ignored by most users.
Of course there's always the argument that you can overclock the model, but that can be done with any card. Like the Cyclone, the HAWK has a shining light; the cooler. While the Cyclone carries with it only a 725MHz core which is a fair chunk down on some of the competition, the cooler is one of the best. The same can be said about the HAWK. Again while lagging a little behind the out of the box clocks when compared to the competition, its cooler is better than the three cards above it which carry with them those bigger clocks.
The chances are that if you're a fan of MSI cards you'll know the Twin Frozr II cooler. That also means you'll probably also know how good a cooler it is. The other good news is that you're not really paying all that much of a premium for the model; it's no more expensive than some of the top GTX 460s we've already looked at.
How the HAWK version differs to the other GTX 460s we've looked at is it's designed to be overclocked. MSI expect the user to buy it and overclock it. Does that mean that they don't need to push those out of the box clocks as high? Maybe.
What we're ultimately doing is nitpicking, and that's only because we've seen so many GTX 460s in such a short time. Every model is still so fresh to us. The MSI GTX 460 HAWK ticks all the right boxes and while those ticks are bigger than any other model in this price bracket and some slightly higher, they're not quite as large as some of the other GTX 460s we've looked at.
Saying all that, if you're a fan of the Twin FrozrII or simply want one of the better cooling solutions for this model and you're happy to overclock yourself, this is another great model. If you don't want to OC there's faster out of the box options, and if you do, there's some cheaper options. The shining light for the HAWK is that cooler, though, which really stands out. Does it stand out enough for you to choose it over other GTX 460s? That's a question only you can answer.
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