Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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The video card landscape has changed drastically over the past nine months. ATI really has thrown down the gauntlet with it's HD 5xxx series cards that feature DirectX 11 support from the top to the bottom of the segment. At that point, Nvidia had nothing to compete with the 5970, much less the 5870 and 5850. The GTX 285 and 295 were good efforts, but still lacked DirectX 11 support. The green-faithful had to sit back and wait, as the Fermi bugs were worked out to bring the architecture to market. The wait allowed Nvidia to deliver a card that outperformed the HD 5870 with the GTX 480, and quickly took back the single GPU performance crown. The Inno3D GTX 470 on the other hand, is designed to compete with the HD 5850 and is what we will be looking at today. One of the drawbacks on most stock, high performance video cards, is the reference cooling solution. The GTX 470 is not immune to this criticism. To solve this problem, Inno3D has put together a card that incorporates a massive cooling solution to allow the card to run cooler, with less noise, to provide a better experience for the end user. This is a "Win-Win" situation. It helps prolong the lifespan of the card, while allowing the enthusiast the ability to bump the clock speeds up without fear of cooking what has already been shown to be a hot running chip. Lets see if the Hawk will to fly with the eagles, or roost with the chickens.
The packaging for the Inno3D GTX 470 has a unique look with the holographic imagery on the front panel that is flanked on either side by a solid black accent that has the letters "GTX" embossed on it. On the front panel, the highlights list includes the included mouse pad as part of the bundle with the Nvidia technologies supported along the bottom. These include 3D Vision Surround (Nvidia's Eyefinity), Physx, Cuda and SLI. The rear panel highlights the GTX 470's DirectX 11 functionality, a quick look at 3D Vision Surround and an image that looks straight out of Nvidias Design Garage that shows off real time ray tracing for a realistic image.
Inside the flashy exterior wrapper is a plain cardboard box that houses the GTX 470 Hawk. Opening this box up, you can see the cooling solution used by Inno3D to keep the thermals of the 448 CUDA cores in check. Hopefully this will pay dividends when it comes time to overclock this card.
The bundle that comes with the Hawk is kind of slim. This is in part made up with the inclusion of a full sized mouse pad that is close in size to the Razer eXactMat I use. What you get is a DVI to to d-sub adapter, a molex to 6 pin PCIe power adapter, the iChill branded mouse pad, a driver disk and an application disk. This application disk includes two Nvidia programs to test out the capabilities and performance of the GTX 470 Hawk. Supersonic Sled is a short game that uses GPU Physx effects for the fluids, smoke, dust and pilots joints. Particle simulation is used for the rocket dust, fireballs and smoke trails. Tessellation is used for the terrain and image processing for the motion blur. The object of the game is to go as fast as you can, without blowing up the sled. Nvidia has also set up a site so you can post up your best scores. Design Garage illustrates the strength of the GT 400 architecture by using Ray tracing to render a photo-realistic image of some high end supercars.
The external packaging does not give any indication of whether this is a bone-stock or factory overclocked card, or even whether there's a little something special about the Hawk besides the bundle. Time to take a look and find out!