Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk Review

ccokeman - 2010-04-18 20:55:49 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: May 20, 2010
Price: $365

Introduction:

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.

 

Closer Look:

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!


 

Closer Look:

Inno3D's GTX 470 Hawk is based on the 40nm GT 100 Fermi architecture and comes equipped with 448 CUDA cores,14 Streaming Multi Processors, 56 Texture units and 40 ROP's. Like the GTX 480, GDDR5 memory is used for the GTX 470 you just get a lower capacity (1280 vs. 1536), with lower clock speeds of 837Mhz running through a narrower bus width of 320bits. One look at the Hawk's cooling solution tells you that this is not your standard GTX 470. This large cooling solution looks like it came straight out of the Arctic Cooling catalog with its three fans, heatpipe construction and massive fin array. This large cooling solution is built to tame the immense heat generated by the large die size. It will also take up in excess of two expansion slots, making it a 3 slot solution. Hope you have room!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connectivity options are standard fare for the GTX 470 with two Dual Link DVI ports and a Mini HDMI port. The back end of the card is wide open for good airflow over the board and voltage regulation components.

 

 

Along the top spine of the card, you have the SLI bridge connections that allow up to four cards to be run in a quad SLI configuration, as long as you have a board that supports it. The power connections used on the GTX 470 Hawk are dual PCIe 6 pin connections. The GTX 470 has a maximum TDP of 215 watts, which is 35 less than its big brother, the GTX 480. The recommended power supply for the GTX 470 is at least 550 watts.

 

 

Pulling the Hawk apart is the only way to see exactly how the cooling solution is built and how it is implemented on the PCB. The heatsink is held on with a series of of ten screws that also hold on the aluminum heatsink for the memory, MOSFETS, and the VRM circuit. To get to the base of the assembly, you need first remove the main heat sink, the memory and  finally the VRM heat sink. You are then left with the base board, with all of the components open for inspection.

 

 

The cooling solution used on the Hawk resembles something straight from Arctic Cooling, but I have been told this is an in-house design. This heatpipe equipped cooling solution uses a total of five copper heatpipes that feed into two separate aluminum fin arrays. The three fans used on this heat sink are PWM controlled to offer both silence and airflow. The maximum airflow through the heatsink is 35CFM at 29dbA. The fans run between 900 and 2000 RPM. As I mentioned before, the heat sink is large, but the actual measurements come in at a hefty 260x114x53mm at 561g. The base is shows some machining marks, but nothing that you can feel with a fingernail run across the surface. Inno3D states that this cooling solution will show a 24% reduction in load temperatures. But for the enthusiast, that just means more room to overclock! So will it allow higher clock speeds? We'll have to see.

 

 

 

The clock speeds employed by this card are 607Mhz on the Fixed function units and and 1281 Mhz on the CUDA cores. We are used to seeing amounts of memory that comes in sizes we are used to, such as 512MB,1GB, 2GB and more, but Nvidia has added a little more to the equation with a bump to 1280MB. Samsung GDDR5 memory is used for this implementation and is clocked at a mild 837MHz or 3348Mhz effective.

 

 

So we now know whether or not the Hawk is anything special. But to really prove that, it has to be tested.


 

Specifications:

 
Graphics Card
GeForce GTX 470
GeForce GTX 480
Processing Units
Graphics Processing clusters
4
4
Streaming Multiprocessors
14
15
CUDA Cores
    448
480
Texture Units
56
60
ROP Units
40
48
Clock Speeds
Graphics Clock (Fixed Function Units)
607Mhz
700Mhz
Processor Clock (CUDA Cores)
1281Mhz
1401Mhz
Memory clock rate(Clock Rate/Data Rate)
837MHz  (3348MHz)
924 MHz(3696 MHz)
Memory
Total Video Memory
1280 MB
1536 MB
Memory Interface
320 bit
384 bit
Total Memory Bandwidth
133.9 GB/s
177.4 GB/s
Fillrate
Texture Fill Rate(Bilinear)
34 GigaTexels/sec
42.0 GigaTexels/sec
Physical & Thermal
Fabrication Process
40nm
40nm
Connectors
2x Dual Link DVI-I, Mini HDMI
2x Dual Link DVI-I, Mini HDMI
Form Factor
Dual Slot
Dual Slot
Power Connectors
2x6 Pin
1x6 Pin, 1x8 Pin
Max Board Power (TDP)
215 watts
250 watts
Recommended Power Supply
550 watts
600 watts
GPU Thermal Threshold
105°C
105°C

Features:

Testing:

Testing of the Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk  will consist of running the card through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where it falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the Nvidia control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market.  The drivers used in this test will be the 10.4 Catalyst drivers for ATI and 197.45 Forceware drivers from Nvidia. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

After figuring out the way to clock this card based on the lessons learned when I looked at the GTX 480, there really are only two clock speeds to work with as the shader and core clock domains are locked together. So you increase the shader clock and the core clock follows at half the speed of the shader clock. The best numbers with this card were not the most stable, but maxing the clock speed set in the cards BIOS of 790Mhz (1580Mhz) on the core was possible for some light 3D benching, but nothing more. The highest clock speed that was stable enough to be used for gaming was 762Mhz on the core (1524Mhz). This amounts to an increase of (156Mhz), or just under 26% on the core/shader clocks. The memory on the other hand, was a bit more stingy with only a 40Mhz improvement. This was actually a big disappointment, considering the big gains seen on the core/shader clocks. But you can't have your cake and eat it too.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Each card has been tested for its maximum stable clock speeds using MSI's Kombuster utility. So far my testing has shown that higher clock speeds may be stable in games where GPU usage does not reach 100%, but will crash within a few minutes using this utility. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a 15 minute test at 1920x1200 8x AA.

 

 

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Darkest of Days
  6. Bioshock 2
  7. Just Cause 2
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0
  9. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  10. Resident Evil 5
  11. 3DMark 06 Professional
  12. 3DMark Vantage
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

Testing:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The GTX 470 Hawk starts out in FarCry 2 with a commanding performance lead over the HD 5850 in all four resolutions both in bone stock trim and when overclocked. The margin at 1280 x 1024 is much greater than the 9 FPS margin at 2560x1600 when overclocked, but still a better than 10% bump over the HD 5850 at its maximum clock speeds.


 

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA Physx and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied - in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots, and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses - chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows, just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

When you crank up the settings, Metro 2033 really puts a load on the video card. In this DX 11 title, the GTX 470 Hawk has a slight performance advantage when compared to the HD 5850 in all four resolutions at stock speeds. When overclocked, the performance advantage of the Hawk sees a slight bump upwards

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The HD 5850 Toxic finally sneaks past the GTX 470 in this benchamrk with a 2 FPS advantage at 2560 x 1600. Even with the advantage given to the ATI based HD 5850 card, the difference is not large enough to to make a difference during game play.


 

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first-person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The GTX 470 Hawk shows some muscle in this game with its performance numbers. In three out of four benchmark tests, the GTX 470 came out ahead of the HD 5870 when overclocked, a mighty respectable feat.


 

Testing:

What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The GTX 470 delivers higher FPS than the HD 5850 OC model in this test at lower end of the spectrum, but is outclassed a bit on the big end. Even so, you still get playable frames.


 

Testing:

BioShock 2 is the sequel to a game that won more than 50 game of the year awards and sold more than 2.5 million units worldwide. Though a first-person shooter at its core, BioShock 2 blends that with RPG elements and drops you into an environment like no other - the underwater dystopian city of Rapture. Set approximately ten years after the events of the original, BioShock 2 allows the player to be one of the most iconic video game characters of recent years, a Big Daddy. Powered by the Unreal Engine 2.5 and featuring Havok Physics, BioShock 2 also adds multiplayer to the mix, filling in the one hole prevalent in the first game. There are seven different multiplayer game modes that take place in 1959, before the events of the original BioShock.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Bioshock 2 has a decidedly ATI performance slant, but the GTX 470 Hawk still delivers decent frame rates up to the 2560 x 1600 test resolution.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main storyline, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to; crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The Hawk delivers higher performance than the HD 5850 in three out of four resolutions at stock speeds. When the card is overclocked, performance is very close to the 5870.


 

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes; Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

In all the resolutions, the GTX 470 Hawk outperforms the HD 5850 and HD 5870, showing the strong DirectX 11 performance.


 

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, The Joker and Batman. The Joker Has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to ply your trade.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Even with high settings, each of the tested cards deliver FPS numbers that make this game play smoothly. The GTX 470 delivers 10 FPS more than the HD 5870 when overclocked at 2560 x 1600.


 

Testing:

Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield a survivor of the events at Raccoon City who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the gen6sis of the latest Bio Organic agents you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and a co-op gaming style.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The higher clock speeds and additional 1GB of memory help the Toxic 5850 at 2560 x 1600 at stock speeds, but the GTX 470 Hawk moves even with it when you turn up the clock speeds.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

As in the last few benchmarks, the Toxic 5850 runs a bit slower in the lower resolutions, but steps up at the top end to deliver a higher level of performance than the GTX 470. When overclocked however, the GTX 470 Hawk pulls back ahead until 2560 x 1600.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

In this benchmark, the HD 5850 is ahead of the GTX 470 Hawk in all four resolutions at both stock and overclocked speeds.


 

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using MSI Kombuster which is paired with MSI's afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using the stability test set to a resolution of 1920 x 1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 15 minute time frame to run the test ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video cards BIOS for the first test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario. The idle test will be a 20 minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

The Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk uses an in house design for the cooling solution that uses three PWM controlled fans. It's obvious from looking at the load temperatures, that the cooling solution works as intended. While noise was not measured, the fact of the matter is I never heard the fans ramp up high enough to be noticeable. Maybe in a quiet room with a silent case you could hear the fans, but in a real life, normal noise environment, noise was a non issue. This is part of the reason for this cards existence, t it fills the need for a lower noise, higher performance cooling solution. It does this with lower overclocked load temperatures than any of the cards shown, except for the Toxic HD 5850.


 

Testing:

Power Consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and load stated and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use MSI Kombuster to load the GPU for a 15 minute test an use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

One thing that surprised me right off the bat were the power consumption numbers on this card. The idle and load numbers best those of the HD 5850 Toxic in all four measures using less power than the HD 5870 in three out of four measures. Pretty stout for a power hog!


 

Conclusion:

The Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk is a stock clocked card with one hell of a cooling solution. This cooling solution helps the card just about max out the clock speed maximums set in the VGA BIOS of 790Mhz (1580Mhz Shaders) at 762Mhz or a 26% increase over the base clock speed of 607Mhz. That's a pretty stout jump for any video card on air cooling. However, the memory clock speed was a bit less prolific with an increase of only 40Mhz that took the memory up to 876Mhz (1751Mhz). Kind of a let down, but still something you get extra. What this additional clock speed does is allow the Hawk to deliver some pretty decent performance numbers while besting a 2GB, overclocked HD 5850 in the majority of the testing. With the impressive cooling solution on this card from Inno3D, I was surprised to see it running at the Nvidia specified clock speeds. With the cooling covered, I would have thought a little massaging of the clock speeds would be in order, but that was not the case. Stock clocks are what it had right out of the box. But that really leaves you the fun of finding the best clock speeds for your tastes.

The biggest feature of this card aside from its performance and overclocking abilities, is the massive cooling solution that Inno3D has used to keep the thermals in line. Its widely known that the GF 100 is a heater disguised as a video card, as seen by some even trying to cook an egg on the heat sink of the GTX 480. The cooling solution looks every bit like it came straight from the Arctic Cooling catalog, but I was assured that this was an in house design and not an aftermarket part. As such, I have to give Inno3D credit for implementing a solution that works with very little, to no noise. The temperatures peaked at 60°C under load when overclocked, quite a bit lower than the reference cooled cards that have been reported in the press. In fact the claim is a 24% reduction in operating temperatures and noise. I can believe it.

Now you have to wonder what this high end cooling solution plus manufacturer warranty will cost. The answer to the million dollar question is that the Hawk sees a small $15 dollar premium over the base $349 price tag that the reference cooled card cards carry at your e-tailer of choice. For your performance dollar, the Inno3D GTX 470 Hawk comes with a massive factory installed, low noise heat sink, delivers excellent performance in both stock and overclocked trim and runs exceptionally cool to allow you some headroom to stretch its overclocking legs for additional performance. You really can't go wrong!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: