MSI N460GTX Hawk Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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The GTX 460 from NVIDIA was launched a few short months ago in July of 2010. Since then we have seen manufacturers deliver models with improved cooling and ever higher clock speeds. Some of these are reference-based designs while others are not. One design that is far from the reference fold is the card we will look at today, the N460GTX HAWK from MSI. This follows up on the success of the MSI HD R5770 HAWK we looked at back in February of this year. That card exceeded expectations and was an overclocking beast so the expectations are that MSI is going to follow suit with its NVIDIA rendition, the N460GTX HAWK. This card comes out of the gate with all the right stuff. Military class components, a 7+1 phase power circuit, active phase switching and MSI's now familiar Twin Frozer cooling solution that has become a proven commodity. Add in the flexibility of being the first card to enable triple voltage controls for the GPU core, memory and PLL circuits (with voltage monitoring points that are more than just a spot on the PCB) plus a three year warranty and you have what looks to be a pretty solid combination. Let's dive right in and see if all the promises become a reality.
The front panel of the packaging has a picture of an F-117 Stealth fighter to the left with a wealth of information to the right side of the front. There is the name of this card, the N460GTX, a seal that touts the three year warranty, the fact that the HAWK has the ability to adjust three separate voltages (GPU, PLL, Memory) and the list of technologies this card supports such as DirectX 11, NVIDIA's PhysX, 3DVision and SLI. Also mentioned are MSI specific items such as the Afterburner overclocking utility and the military class components used on this card. The front panel flips up giving the consumer an explanation of the over voltage controls and military class components and why they are better parts than normally used. Items mentioned are the 7+1 Phase PWM design, Super Ferrite Chokes, Hi-c and Solid Capacitors. The N460GTX HAWK can be seen through the window in the box showing the Twin Frozer cooling solution. The rear panel lists the minimum system requirements and the features of this card. With plenty of information on the outside, MSI hopes to educate the customer so they can make an informed purchase.
Inside the well illustrated outer cover you get a foam filled inner box that holds the HAWK and its accessory bundle. Underneath the foam cushioning is a separate compartment that holds most of the bundle while the power adapters are in the foam sleeve.
The accessory bundle provided by MSI contains everything you will need to get the most out of all the functionality of this video card. You get a manual, Quick Install guide, a driver disk, DVI to VGA adapter, Mini HDMI to HDMI adapter, two molex to PCIe power adapters and a trio of voltage check point extension cables to make it easy to read the three over voltage levels capable of being adjusted on this card from MSI.
MSI has seemingly equipped the HAWK with all of the tools necessary to get into the trenches and do battle with the multitude of video cards on the market. Let's see if the equipment stands up!