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MSI HD R5770 Hawk Review

jlqrb    -   February 21, 2010
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Conclusion:

The results of the MSI HD R5770 Hawk are outstanding and, even though this card is considered a mid-range product, it offers performance and quality that are well beyond its price range. Let's face it, the HD 57XX series performance is about as good as it gets when it comes to a sub $200 dollar graphics card at the moment. Being that ATI is the only graphics card company with DX 11 support, it makes sense that this series has become an extremely popular choice for many PC gamers. So, with performance and technology support not being the question here, let's have a look at what makes the MSI HD R5770 Hawk a real stand-out from the other cards based on the ATI Radeon HD 5770 GPU. The first feature that really makes it surpass the other models is the use of military class components. These parts are found throughout the card and are used in the highly-conductive capacitors that have a rare metal (tantalum) core that is extremely conductive, to the solid caps that are very durable and have a 10 year life span. These high class components also consist of Solid State Chokes that create no buzz noise and a 7+1 phase PWM design that will supply better current throughout the GPU. The use of all these high quality parts will not only add extra stability and value to the card, but will greatly raise the overclocking potential as well. Also, fitting in with the use of quality components is MSI's multiple heatpipe Twin Frozr II GPU cooler. This heatsink uses a Nickel-plated copper base with three heatpipes to transfer heat and has a large cooling area with dual 80mm PWM fans. The Twin Frozr II worked exceptionally well and was able to keep the core under 70c, even with the GPU voltage adjusted up to 1.3V. The best part of this cooler though, is how silent it operates. In both normal and demanding situations, the fan was hardly audible and it wasn't until the fan rotation was around 82% that the noise started to get loud. With all of these high quality parts, one thing about the HD R5770 Hawk didn't make sense to me and that was the use of only one DVI-I port. Most HD 5570 graphics cards utilize a dual port configuration that makes setting up ATI's Eyefinity a breeze, but with only one DVI-I port it could make set up more complicated.

Now, after talking up the overclocking potential of the military class components and great cooling capabilities of the MSI HD R5770 Hawk, did it live up to it's overclocking hype? The answer to that question is a resounding, yes! During overclocking the Hawk's GPU core maxed out at 1025Mhz, which is roughly a 17% overclock and the memory was extremely overclockable as well, reaching a final frequency of 1410MHz before running into any stability issues. These clocks will make this card an absolute value to the overclocking community, but the MSI Hawk isn't done yet. For the extreme enthusiasts of the world, MSI has also added a software based voltage regulator that allows the voltage to be manually adjusted from a overclocking program such as MSI Afterburner and V-Check points that, when connected to a Multimeter, can get on-the-fly voltage readings for both the GPU and memory. Even though the memory clocked extremely well, it would have been a nice touch to see some sort of cooling solution for the GDDR5 chips on the HD R5770 Hawk, which could have raised the overclocking potential to an even higher level.

What you have with the MSI HD R5770 Hawk is a extremely powerful, high quality product that comes at a great price and adds all the little extras that make it stand out from the crowd. Even though the card has its eyes on the overclockers in the room, there is no need to worry if adjusting clock speeds is not your thing, as the Hawk comes clocked 25MHz faster than other HD 5770 graphics cards giving you a little extra boost of performance right out of the box. So, if you find yourself in the market for an HD 5770 graphics card, the HD R5770 Hawk  is definitely a few steps up from the reference design and one that I highly recommend.

 

Pros:

  • Performance
  • Price
  • Extremely high overclocking potential
  • Twin Frozr II Cooler
  • Military class components
  • V-Points
  • Quiet
  • DX 11
  • ATI Eyefinity Technology

 

Cons:

  • Only one DVI-I Port
  • No memory cooling


 

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