MSI Radeon R9 270X 2GB HAWK Overclocked Video Card Review

MSI Radeon R9 270X 2GB HAWK Overclocked Video Card Review

We test out the HAWK based Radeon R9 270X. Let's see just what kind of overclock we can get out of this video card. We're expecting big things.

@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sat, Dec 7 2013 1:01 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: MSI

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 36 IMAGES

This MSI R9 270X 2GB HAWK is a card that I've wanted to test since the R9 270X launched. We've actually been sitting on the cards for weeks because when we went to test it, we went into MSI Afterburner only to find that the ability to adjust voltages wasn't available. While not always a big problem for everyone, the bottom line is: the HAWK series of cards, like the Lightning series, are all about overclocking.

One of the bigger features of these two series is that they added an extended range of options when it comes to adjusting voltages. So to not be able to adjust the voltages on the card seemed almost pointless. We emailed MSI and they said a newer version of MSI Afterburner was coming that would open up these features, but it wasn't yet available. So we shelved the card for the mean time and worked through what felt like a 100 different video cards while we waited for an updated version of MSI Afterburner to come out.

When we finally got ourselves a new version of the software, we installed it alongside our MSI R9 270X 2GB HAWK for the second time. Once we got into Windows, we found ourselves greeted with our lovely voltage adjustment options. Woohoo!

So with all that working, it was time to see just what we could get out of the new MSI R9 270X 2GB HAWK. Before we show you just what we managed to achieve, we've got to do a few other things; the first thing being a look at the package.

Package

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Looking at the front of the box, you can see the MSI logo in the top left corner and a clear indication that we're dealing with a HAWK series card. You can see in the top right corner that the exact model we're dealing with is the Radeon R9 270X. If we open up the box, you can see the top flap gives us an absolute wealth of information. We've got: a run down on the Dual BIOS switch that offers a mode for LN2 overclockers, the Military Class 4 components that bring with it the Super Ferrite Choke, Highly Conductive Capacitors, and Dark Solid Capacitors. Finally, the main highlight is the OC KITS, which brings with it the Voltage Check Points and Triple Overvoltage via GPU, Memory, and VDDC.

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If we head to the bottom half of the box, you can see the Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooler is the highlight here with its Dust Removal Technology, Dual 10CM fans, nickel-plated copper base, and SuperPipe Technology. Turning the box over, you can see we've got features that are more related to the GPU itself along with the minimum system requirements.

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Moving away from the outside of the box and onto the inside, you can see we've got a quick user guide, manual, and driver CD across the top. We've also got two dual Molex to 6-Pin PCIe power connectors, DVI to VGA connector, and the three cables required to use the V-Check Points on the card. We'll take a closer look at those when we look at the card itself in just a moment.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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Taking a look at the card, you can see the massive Twin Frozr IV Advanced cooler which really does take up almost every inch of the card. We've got two massive 10cm fans along with a huge heat sink and a bunch of heat pipes coming out of the bottom of the card. The Twin Frozr IV cooler has always been a personal favorite of ours and we're really looking forward to seeing how it performs when we up the voltage through the card and increase the clocks.

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If we head to the back of the card, you can see we've got three little connectors next to the main one for our fan. These three connectors are for our Voltage check points as we mentioned earlier. While it is a cool feature, it's probably something that LN2 overclockers will make more use of verses the everyday consumer.

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Staying at the back of the card, but moving to the top, you can see that power comes in the form of two 6-Pin PCIe power connectors. Next to that, you can also see a switch that lets us shift between two different BIOS that are installed. This is again something that most people probably aren't going to bother with, as the second BIOS is aimed at LN2 overclockers thanks to Over Current Protection and Active Phase Switching being disabled. Heading to the front of the card, you can see we've got a single CrossFire connector in the event that you want to run two of these cards together.

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Finishing up our look at the card, we head around to the I/O side of things. Connectivity comes in the form of two Dual-Link DVI connectors; one is a DVI-D and the other is a DVI-I. You can see we've also got a HDMI port and a full size DisplayPort connector to round things off.

Specifications

Looking below, you can see that our MSI R9 270X 2GB HAWK carries with it just the reference clocks. This is due to how early we got the card; MSI hadn't decided on the final overclock on the card. While not shown, the retail version of the card you will buy in store comes with a core clock of 1150MHz via boost. As for the 2GB of GDDR5, in typical MSI fashion they have chosen to leave that at the reference clock, which is 5600MHz QDR.

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Still, out of the box clocks are something we really don't care about today. Today we're all about the overclock. Looking above, you can see that with our voltages pumped up we managed to push the core to a really strong 1285MHz.

As for the 2GB of GDDR5, that got a nice boost from 5600MHz QDR too 6400MHz QDR. This is a strong overclock and we're really looking forward to seeing the numbers we get out of the setup.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

We've got a large number of cards in our graphs today because we really want to see just how this heavily overclocked MSI R9 270X 2GB HAWK is able to compete against more expensive cards. From the AMD side of things, we've got the reference R7 260X and the recently released HIS R9 270 IceQ X2 2GB.

The reference R9 270X 2GB is also here and we're really looking forward to seeing what kind of performance increase we're able to get against that. The VisionTek R9 280X 2GB is here too for good measure and we really want to see how close we can get to this more expensive card when we throw the overclock into the mix.

To round off the AMD side of things, we've got the R9 290 4GB and R9 290X 4GB running in Uber mode. And for the NVIDIA side of things, we've chosen to include just the GTX 770 2GB here today.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks come to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders, and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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You can see straight away the overclock gives us a nice boost in performance with the Performance score breaking the 10k mark. This really puts us quite close to the R9 280X and GTX 770. It's also a strong boost over the reference clock card.

You can see when we move to the Extreme preset though, it's not nearly as close to the R9 280X and GTX 770.

Benchmarks - 3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Fire Strike

Version and / or Patch Used: 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark

Buy It Here

Fire Strike is our new showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today. Fire Strike will only be available in the Windows editions of 3DMark initially.

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Fire Strike manages to see a really strong performance boost over the reference clocked card. We're really looking forward to seeing what happens when we get into our gaming benchmarks in just a moment.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

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.

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Heaven sees a good jump of around 15 - 20% depending on the resolution. You can see we're still a bit off of the R9 280X, but we do manage to really close the gap between the two cards.

Benchmarks - Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.sega.com/?t=EnglishUSA

Product Homepage: http://www.pso2.com/us/html/index.html

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 and experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven, free-to-play multiplayer online RPG from SEGA. Take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets. Join fellow adventurers and fight against the legions of darkness to banish them from the galaxy.

Score explanation: Less than 2000: Please adjust your game settings because the processing load is quite heavy.

2000 through 5000: The game runs fine at the setting, if you have room, you can adjust some settings.

5001+: The game works wonderfully at this setting.

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PSO2 has always benefited well from overclocking and here you can see a nice jump in performance. While the reference card manages to just sneak in with that 5000 point score (which is where we want to be), the overclock propels us towards the 6000 point mark, giving us a decent amount of breathing room.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game: "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 performance looks good at both 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050, with some playable numbers being seen as well as some extra breathing room being seen at the higher resolution.

At 2560 x 1600 though, we really see no change in the overall FPS and we continue to fall shy of that 60 FPS number we're on the hunt for.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Just Cause 2 numbers are looking fantastic across the board, and while the reference clocked card managed to give us playable numbers across the board, the overclock comes in handy as we move from the 60 FPS range into the 70 FPS range.

Benchmarks - F1 2012

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com

In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany's famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar.

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F1 2012 manages to see some fantastic performance gains across the board as we see some very playable FPS. You can see we manage to start closing in on the more expensive R9 280X as well, which is great news.

Benchmarks - Metro Last Light

Metro Last Light

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://enterthemetro.com/ /

Metro: Last Light takes place one year after the events of Metro 2033, proceeding from the ending where Artyom chose to call down the missile strike on the Dark Ones. The Rangers have since occupied the D6 military facility, with Artyom having become an official member of the group. Khan, the nomad mystic, arrives at D6 to inform Artyom and the Rangers that a single Dark One survived the missile strike. Khan believes the Dark One is the key to humanity's future, and wants to make peace with it, while Ranger leader Colonel Miller wants to kill the creature due to its potential threat. Miller sends Artyom to the surface with a mission to kill the Dark One; he is accompanied by Anna, Miller's sarcastic daughter and the Rangers' best sniper.

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While we really do see some great performance gains across the board, you can see we still fall short of that 60 FPS average we need at all resolutions.

Benchmarks - Dirt Showdown

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

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DiRT Showdown sees some really good gains across the board, but more importantly, you can see at the highest resolution we now manage to get an even 60 FPS, bringing the game into that playable level for us.

Benchmarks - Nexuiz

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.alientrap.org/

Product Homepage: http://www.nexuiz.com/

Nexuiz is an Arena First Person shooter coming soon to consoles. Nexuiz is fast paced with extremely competitive game play. IllFonic brings Alientrap Software's Nexuiz to next-gen gaming consoles around the world while staying true to the game play refined over the years through development. IllFonic introduces a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated. Nexuiz for consoles is powered by CryENGINE 3.

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Overclocking isn't always a benefit under Nexuiz, and while we don't have results for the reference R9 270X, you can see that the numbers here are almost in line with the lower-end R9 270, which gives us an idea that performance would've dropped back. Either way, the numbers would've continued to be too low across all resolutions to be playable.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://sniperelitev2.com/us/age.html

Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

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Sniper Elite V2 sees some great performance gains across the board, and you can see at 1920 x 1200 we get some extra breathing room as we move out of the 60 FPS area and into the 70 FPS one. We see a gain of over 10% at 2560 x 1600 as well, but with an average of only 50 FPS, we're short of that 60 FPS number we're always-on the hunt for.

Benchmarks - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://eu.square-enix.com/en

Product Homepage: http://www.sleepingdogs.net/

The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.

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We continue to see these great numbers across the board, and you can see again at the highest resolution, the overclock helps us move out of the 60 FPS zone and into the 70 FPS zone.

These are the kind of improvements we love to see when overclocking. Sure, going from 124 FPS to 144 FPS at 1680 x 1050 is great, but the gains at 2560 x 1600 are much more helpful.

Benchmarks - Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.ioi.dk/

Product Homepage: http://hitman.com/

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth game developed by I/O Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on I/O Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise. The game was released on 20 November 2012, which is in the 47th week of the year (in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47).

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Hitman: Absolution sees some good performance bumps across the board; including at 2560 x 1600. While our minimum comes in strong at 46 FPS, we would've preferred the average sit a little higher than the 54 FPS we have here.

Benchmarks - Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.nixxes.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.tombraider.com/us/base/agegate?refer=184&

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows to universal critical acclaim.

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Tom Raider sees a great jump at 1680 x 1050 as we move from 54 FPS to 60 FPS and the minimum moves from 40 FPS to 45 FPS.

While we manage to also see some nice gains in the resolutions above that, the overall numbers are just too low for us to consider them playable.

Benchmarks - BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://irrationalgames.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.bioshockinfinite.com

BioShock Infinite is a first-person shooter video game and the third installment in the BioShock series. Previously known as "Project Icarus", it is being developed by Irrational Games and was released worldwide on the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms on March 26, 2013. BioShock Infinite is not part of the storyline of previous BioShock games but features similar gameplay concepts and themes.

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Looking at BioShock Infinite, you can see that the overclock again gives us a nice bit of extra breathing room at 1680 x 1050 as we move from a 62 FPS average to a 68 FPS one.

While we continue to see some nice gains at the resolutions above that, the overall numbers are too low, with 1920 x 1200 coming in at 55 FPS.

Benchmarks - Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Origin Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Custom 60 Second Run with FRAPS

Developer Homepage: http://dice.se/

Product Homepage: https://www.battlefield.com/games/battlefield-4

Battlefield 4 (also known as BF4) is an upcoming first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. The game is a sequel to 2011's Battlefield 3. Battlefield 4 features several changes compared to its predecessor. The game's heads-up display is much the same, composed of two compact rectangles. The lower left-hand corner features a mini-map and compass for navigation, and a simplified objective notice above it; the lower right includes a compact ammo counter and health meter. The mini-map, as well as the main game screen, shows symbols marking three kinds of entities: blue for allies, green for squadmates, and red/orange for enemies.

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At 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050, we see the MSI R9 270X HAWK 2GB performs extremely well with some great minimums and averages.

Moving to the highest resolution though, we see a decent minimum, but the overall average sits lower than where we'd like it to be.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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Turning on AA and AF sees Metro: Last Light numbers just plummet. This is clearly not an option for the R9 270X, even when heavily overclocked.

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Just Cause 2 sees some nice gains and we've got a strong 79 FPS average being seen at 1920 x 1200. While we see a 5 FPS gain at 2560 x 1600, the 50 FPS average here is unfortunately too low.

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Just like Metro: Last Light, you can see our Sleeping Dogs numbers are just way too low at both resolutions; even with gains of around 10%.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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Heading to 81c, the MSI R9 270X 2GB HAWK does get quite warm. It's not a huge surprise though, with the way AMD has handled the cooling profiles with the R series cards. Also, with the added voltage and the very strong core overclock, the increase number doesn't shock us all that much.

Sound Test

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).

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The card might run a bit warm...but damn does it run quiet. Considering the overclock, the extra voltage, and the overall boost in performance, the noise levels on this card are really fantastic.

Power Consumption Test

Using our 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 video 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 SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal 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.

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Power draw under load is climbing up towards 400 watt. Not a big surprise and we'd recommend something around the 500 - 550Watt mark as a minimum when it comes to choosing a power supply.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

The R9 270X 2GB starts at $199.99 with a lot of brands coming in at around the same price level. With that said though, we've got a number of companies who offer cards at a slightly higher price due to a stronger overclock or a much higher quality cooler. The HAWK model from MSI was always going to carry one of the larger premiums, and at $229.99 at the time of writing, it's the most expensive R9 270X 2GB available at Newegg.

Is this card worth an extra $30? If you've ever used the HAWK or Lightning Series from MSI, you'd agree straight away that the premium is worth it. These are quality cards and MSI has really never disappointed with them. This time is no different. We've got a huge overclock achieved, and while the card does run a little warm, we still can't get over the extremely low noise levels that the card puts out.

When it comes to the features of the card, the cooler is of course one of the big stand outs. We don't need to say anything else about that though, as we just covered how much we love it. The other features related to the HAWK stand out so much though, and it's because of those extras like Military Class 4 components and the OC KITS with Triple Overvoltage, that we're able to achieve such a strong overclock.

While of course there is no rule that says you need to overclock the card, if you're going to move away from something like the Twin Frozr IV Gaming version of the R9 270X to the HAWK version, you're really not doing the model any justice unless you fire up MSI Afterburner and have some real fun with the card.

This is just one of those cards that really ticks all the boxes. We've got a huge features list that makes a real difference in performance. We've got awesome overclocking, an absolutely fantastic cooler that really stands out, and while the price comes in higher than other R9 270X cards, it's really worth it for the reasons we just mentioned.

If you're looking for a high quality R9 270X, don't mind spending a little bit extra, and would like to dabble with Overclocking, there really isn't an option better than the HAWK based version from MSI. It's just a quality video card.

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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.

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.

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