I always feel like I start with this lately, but the MSI HAWK series is one of my favorite video card series on the market. It's not that every series is one of my favorites, but the three main performance series from MSI (Lightning, Power Edition and HAWK) are all standout options and do tower above those from other companies.
The HAWK series is the main stream version of the Lightning series essentially. Most the time the model is as tricked out as the Lightning series, but is instead focused at the more mainstream GPU models instead of the top single GPU offerings like the NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 680 or AMD Radeon HD 7970.
Today, though, the HAWK video card we are looking at it based on the popular AMD Radeon HD 7870 GPU, which has become a really good part for AMD. More so because its competition is very must limited at the moment. For how much longer? We're not sure, but it's safe to probably assume that by the time Computex comes around in June, we'll be seeing something from NVIDIA.
As always there are a few things we've got to do before we get into the performance side of things. The first thing we're going to do is check out the package and bundle that MSI has put together. From there we'll move onto the video card to see what's going on and check out the specifications.
Being part of the HAWK series and the focus being largely on the overclocking side of things we will be overclocking the video card today with the help of MSI Afterburner to see just what kind of performance we're able to get. Once we've done that we'll quickly cover the testbed and get then get straight into the performance side of things.
Looking at the box we've got a fair bit going on with a design that opens up and gives us a look at the video card along with some of the main features. The big thing for the HAWK based card is the Unlocked Digital Power which brings with it an Unlocked BIOS, Enhanced Power Design and a digital PWM controller which all come together to help increase the overclocking ability.
The other big feature is the 3x3 OC Kits which brings the V-Check points which we'll look at on the next page. Triple Overvoltage which lets us adjust the voltage to not just the core, but also the AUX and memory. Finally you've got the Military Class III setup which brings with it higher quality components across the board.
Moving onto the package we've got a fairly decent bundle going on. We've got the normal line up of paperwork including the Military Class III certificate and driver CD. Also included are two dual Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connectors, a DVI to VGA connector and a MiniDP to DP connector - this is something we continue to see companies ignore. Finally we finish off with our three vCheck cables which are used to check the voltage.
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- Page 1 [Introduction and Package]
- Page 2 [The Card and Specifications]
- Page 3 [Benchmarks - Test System Setup]
- Page 4 [Benchmarks - 3DMark 11]
- Page 5 [Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark]
- Page 6 [Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2]
- Page 7 [Benchmarks - Mafia II]
- Page 8 [Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2]
- Page 9 [Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator]
- Page 10 [Benchmarks - Just Cause 2]
- Page 11 [Benchmarks - Metro 2033]
- Page 12 [Benchmarks - Dirt 3]
- Page 13 [Benchmarks - Far Cry 2]
- Page 14 [Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF]
- Page 15 [Temperature Test]
- Page 16 [Sound Test]
- Page 17 [Power Consumption Test]
- Page 18 [Final Thoughts]