MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card

The HD 5770 HAWK is the best version of the model to date. Can the HAWK series do the same for the GTX 460?

Published Wed, Sep 1 2010 8:00 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 7:02 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package


MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 02 |

The HAWK series from MSI is relatively quite a new one. To date we've only seen one model come through from the company that carries with it the label and that was the HD 5770. To date it's still one of, if not the best HD 5770 we've used. MSIs eye for detail meant that the card just went so much faster than you expected it would.

The GTX 460 is a tougher game, though; many companies have come out with big clocked cards and MSI have already shown us again one of my favorite cards. The Cyclone version of the GTX 460 from MSI offers a fantastic cooling solution that's quiet and powerful. Out of all the GTX 460s we've tested to date, it's probably the best cooling we've used.

In an area where a lot is happening, the question is, can the HAWK version of the MSI GTX 460 stand out? To be honest, it could just be a little late. Maybe we needed this model at launch. We'll check out the card and its performance soon enough, though. For starters, let's get into the package and see what's going on.

The Package

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 03 |

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 04 |

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 05 |

The package has a few things going on, but nothing too out of the ordinary for the most part. We've got manual, quick user guide and driver CD to round off the paperwork side of things. As far as cables go, we've got two Dual Molex to 6-Pin PCI-E connectors, DVI to VGA connector and a mini HDMI to HDMI connector.

Also included are another three little cables. These are placed on the card and give you the ability to measure the voltage of particular areas; in this case the GPU, memory and PLL. While this might seem like something for the more advanced user, don't let it deter you; it's really something that can be ignored by most users.

Card and Specifications

The Card

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 06 |

Looking at the card, you can be forgiven for thinking you've seen it before. The Twin FrozrII is a popular cooling solution that MSI have used a lot this year. We don't see any reason to change from it, though, because it's a great cooler and has proved itself on many models.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 07 |

At the back of the card, while we've still got the same two 6-Pin PCI-E connectors, we've also got three other ones. As we mentioned just before, these are used in conjunction with the little cables in the bundle. With that and a volt meter you're able to measure the voltage of the GPU, Memory and PLL. To be honest, it's something that most people won't use. In saying that, it's these little extras that make the card a HAWK series one.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 08 |

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 09 |

As for the rest of the card, there are no real surprises. We've got a single SLI connector at the top of the card and the I/O interface gives us two Dual-Link DVI connectors and a single mini HDMI port.


MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 01 |

Out of the box the MSI HD GTX 460 HAWK carries with it a 780MHz core which is way up on the standard 675MHz that NVIDIA offer. It's not the highest out of the box clock, though. as we've seen two 800MHz cards and an 810MHz one previously.

Also, MSI have chosen to ignore the memory clock and it remains at the same 3600MHz QDR as most other cards come at.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 99 |

We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Western Digital, Noctua and Thermaltake.

We'll be checking out the HAWK against a number of cards here today, but let's see what kind of gains the model gives us over the Cyclone version from MSI which carries a 725MHz core.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 20 |

Straight away we see a nice little performance bump from that 780MHz core.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 1 and 2
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

Note: If a card doesn't support DirectX 11 the benchmark will be left out, if it does it will be included along with the DirectX10 results.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 21 |

Heaven performance is strong. You can see with these clocks the HAWK blitzes past the GTX 465 and has no trouble taking on some of the HD 5800 series.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH


Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10 and Release 11.5
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 22 |

CINEBENCH performance is just as we would expect from the model.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 23 |

RE5 performance is strong with the card only falling behind the GTX 470. We can also see that while the 725MHz core from the Cyclone wasn't enough to pass the GTX 465, the HAWK doesn't have the same issue, overtaking it at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - BattleForge


Version and / or Patch Used: Auto Patched at Load
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

The Gods have disappeared and the old sun has died, letting a vile twilight engulf the world of Nyn. In exchange for all treasures the mortals possessed, the evil giants agreed to forge a new sun and hurl it into the sky.

But the deal was betrayed, the treasure stolen and now the mortals flee the wrath of the giants. Under the light of a new sun the mortals stumble into a world changed and twisted by an age of twilight. The long journey home has become a conquest of survival.

Note: Supporting DirectX 11 we have seperated the graphs for NVIDIA and ATI cards. While the numbers between the two brands can be compared you have to make note that ATI based HD 5000 series cards are running DirectX 11.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 24 |

At 1920 x 1200 we can see the extra grunt on offer from the HAWK is able to push our average above that 60 FPS mark that we need to see. We also see that performance is again a little smoother at 1680 x 1050.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X is an arcade-style flight simulator video game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iPhone OS.

The fundamental gameplay mechanics are similar to those of other console-based flight series. Players take on enemies with over 50 aircraft available. Each mission is at real world locations in environments created with commercial satellite data. A cockpit, first person, and third person view are selectable. The third person view gives the player an external view of both their plane and the target.

Set above the skies of a near-future world, increasingly dependent on private military companies with elite mercenaries who have a relaxed view on the law. As these non-governmental organizations gain power, global conflict erupts with one powerful PMC attacking the United States.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 25 |

While the Cyclone was able to scrape in on that 60 FPS average at 2560 x 1600, the HAWK version manages to fly past it. We also see it's behind only the GTX 470 most of the time with it just falling a little behind the HD 5850 at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Darkest of Days

Darkest of Days

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.4
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Darkest of Days takes the player through time into historic battles in an effort to save key individuals from certain death. The battles range from Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876 to fighting in Pompeii as ash and fire rain down from an erupting Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD. Other locations include the battles of Antietam and Tannenberg, and a German World War II P.O.W. camp. There are different missions in every time period and the game takes about 4 hours to complete.

The game features over twenty weapons, both from the original time period as well as those brought back from the future. In addition, there are artillery weapons from different time periods to assist in battle.

Note: With the PhysX set to Medium or High Darkest of Days take advantage of the NVIDIA PhysX abilities. For that reason we will test ATI cards at the Low preset, NVIDIA based cards though will be tested at Low and High.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 26 |

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 27 |

Averages above 60 FPS at all resolutions and stronger performance than the GTX 465. Again we see the HAWK version of the GTX 460 only fall behind one card and that's the GTX 470 again.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 28 |

We see good numbers across the board here and a minimum of 30 FPS or better at all resolutions. Our averages are also up on both the GTX 460 and GTX 465 and in that department the model again only falls behind the GTX 470. As far as minimums go, the HD 5850 does again scrape ahead at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

Note: With support for PhysX NVIDIA based cards will be tested with the technology on and off, ATI cards will be tested with the technology off due to it not being supported on their cards.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 29 |

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 30 |

Good numbers across the board with PhysX off. We again see the card only comes second to the GTX 470 which is a lot more expensive. With PhysX on we've got good numbers up to 1920 x 1200. Unfortunately 2560 x 1600 isn't an option on this mid range model with PhysX cranked up.

Benchmarks - Dark Void

Dark Void

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

The game's story takes place during World War II and centers around a cargo pilot named William Augustus Grey (voiced by Nolan North) who is teleported to another world while flying through the Bermuda Triangle. In this world, known as the 'Void', Will encounters an alien race as well as other humans, which are known as the Watchers and the Survivors respectively.

Will reluctantly joins the Survivors who are engaged in a feud with the alien race to satisfy his desire to return to Earth. While aiding the Survivors, Will discovers that the Void is a middle ground that connects both the Watchers homeworld and Earth. It also becomes apparent that the Watchers are supplying the Axis powers with various supplies for reasons unknown. With the help of Nikola Tesla, Will utilizes retrofited Watcher technology to combat the Watchers and eventually find a way to escape the Void.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 31 |

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 32 |

Big numbers across the board with PhysX off. With it on we're also seeing very good numbers with minimums above 30 FPS at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

Far Cry 2

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 33 |

Over 30 FPS in the minimum department and a good bump over the Cyclone model.

Resident Evil 5

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 34 |

While performance does improve, we're still a few FPS away from that 60 FPS average. Mind you, we're dealing with the ultra high 2560 x 1600 resolution; 1920 x 1200 / 1080 gamers should be able to squeeze those extra 7 FPS with no dramas.

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 35 |

Across the board we see all cards are below the 60 FPS mark here.

Benchmarks - Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.51
Timedemo or Level Used: Sample File
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

ElcomSoft has pioneered many software innovations that have made it easier to recover passwords protecting various types of resources. For the first time in the industry, the company's patent-pending GPU acceleration makes its way into Wi-Fi password recovery, reducing the time required to recover Wi-Fi passwords up to a hundred times.

Supporting up to four NVIDIA boards such as GeForce 8, 9, and 200, as well as ATI video cards such as RADEON HD 4000 Series and up, Elcomsoft Wireless Security Auditor allows building servers with supercomputer performance at a fraction of the price.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 36 |

WSA performance doesn't hold any surprises with the model performing where we would expect it to.

Benchmarks - Badaboom


Version and / or Patch Used: Release
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

Badaboom eliminates the frustration of video conversion by providing users with speed, efficiency, quality, and a sleek interface. In a practice that used to take several hours, Badaboom converts feature-length movies in a matter of minutes while keeping the videos looking crisp and clear.

By harnessing the power of NVIDIA CUDA-enabled GPUs, Badaboom offloads the CPU to allow users to continue browsing the Internet or checking email without decreased system performance, making transcoding high-quality video fast, easy, and painless.

Note: With the requirement for a CUDA enabled graphics card to run Badaboom, this means that we can only use NVIDIA based cards for this test.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 37 |

Like WSA, we don't see any surprises here with the performance being where we would expect.

Temperature Test

Temperature Tests

With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 38 |

The Twin Frozr II has no problems proving itself here with it running exceptionally cool.

Sound Test

Sound Tests

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 39 |

Noise levels are a little up; nothing that we would be too worried about, though.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 40 |

Power draw is a little up on the HAWK, but again nothing serious. You wouldn't need any better a power supply to run the HAWK version of the GTX 460, versus any other one.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and ATI are on an even playing field. This includes benchmarks where PhysX can be forced off like Dark Void and Batman: Arkham Asylum, but not Darkest of Days.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark V2, CINEBENCH R11.5, Resident Evil 5, BattleForge, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off), Dark Void (PhysX Off) and our three High Quality tests which include Far Cry 2, Resident Evil 5 and Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 41 |

It's not the fastest GTX 460 we've tested, which doesn't come as a surprise since we've dealt with some 800MHz / 4000MHz QDR cards. Overall its performance is still very strong, though.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK 1GB Video Card 42 |

The overall value of the product continues to be exceptional when compared to just about every other model from NVIDIA and ATI. As far as it goes against other GTX 460s, it's pretty much in line with the other cards that carry with it a big overclock.

Final Thoughts

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.

What do awards mean? Click for details!

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

Newsletter Subscription

Similar Content

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles