The HAWK series is one of my favorite, and that's mainly because it sits towards the top of the chart when it comes to what you can do with a card. At the bottom of the stack you've got your reference card. From there we introduce an overclock and over that you can start to look at custom cooling.
Once you get out of that area, you're into cards like the HAWK and Lightning which utilize custom PCBs. That introduces the ability to gain an even higher overclock than other models, and when combined with MSIs own overclocking software, Afterburner, we can really reach for the skies.
Unlike the Lightning series, though, the HAWK series name is more aimed around the midrange market with one of our most recent favorites being the GTX 470 HAWK. With the release of the GTX 560 Ti, though, a lot of pressure has been applied to the mid-range AMD models and today we intend to find out what the HD 6870 HAWK can bring to the party.
Before we look at the performance, though, we'll quickly look at the package and then the card itself. Once that's done we'll look at the default specifications along with what we overclocked the card to. After that the fun stuff begins and we pit the model up against a number of others to see what kind of performance we're able to achieve.
Because the focus on the HAWK series is much about the overclock and the out of the box overclock isn't the largest we've seen, we've decided to just skip out of the box performance today and instead overclock the card as high as we can while seeing how it compares to other cards in the AMD line-up and its new competition; the GTX 560 Ti.
The standout items in the package would include the mini-DP to DP adapter and the three little cables that you can see towards the bottom of the last pic. These, with a volt meter, allow you to grab the voltage of the AUX, Memory and GPU with ease. It's not the first time we've seen them, so you should have a good idea of how they work. We'll see exactly where they go on the card in just a minute, though.