MSI R9 270X Hawk Reviewccokeman - October 14, 2013
Category: Video Cards
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MSI R9 270X Introduction:
Over the years, MSI has put together some overclocking and enthusiast friendly GPU products with its Lightning series cards and has even worked some magic for the mainstream segment with video cards that do not break the bank and deliver great performance for your dollars spent. Recently, I looked at the Hawk Edition for the green camp, which provided value as well as performance for the mainstream gamer. Now with the introduction of AMD's latest R9 series cards, MSI has worked its magic on another mainstream offering, the R9 270X Hawk. This card features enhancements to the core to support DX 11.2 and the ability to use any of the four display outputs for a 3x1 Eyefinity configuration, as well as compatibility with AMD's new Mantle API.
Outside the AMD specifics, we have to look at what MSI brings to the table to support the architecture. We get MSI's Military Class 4 technology used with the 8+2+1 VRM circuit, enhanced cooling performance thanks to MSI's own Twin Frozr cooling solution with dust removal technology, a dual BIOS switch with the stock 1100MHz/1150MHz Boost profile, and a no holds barred LN2-ready configuration that disables OCP protection and active phase switching to deliver the power to the components for the highest possible clock speeds. Triple voltage control is the third part of the equation, allowing the user to tune the voltages needed to improve overclocking and ultimately gaming performance. Priced at $219, the MSI R9 270X Hawk comes with a price premium over the reference card, but adds so much more to the card for that price point. Let's see what MSI has in store for the mainstream gamer running at 1080 resolutions and see whether it stacks up to the competition.
MSI R9 270X Closer Look:
The packaging for the MSI R9 270X Hawk features the image of an F-117 Nighthawk (or as we commonly know it, the Stealth Fighter) as it is lifting off the tarmac for another mission. Highlights on the front panel show this is a factory overclocked model using the latest R9 series hardware from AMD, supporting PCIE 3.0 and DirectX 11.2. The back panel details the feature set on the R9 270X Hawk, as well as the minimum system requirements for using this graphics card. To the right, the base specifications are communicated in a many different languages to cover the global scope of the brand. The front panel of the package flips open to detail the MSI-specific feature set employed on the R9 270X Hawk. One of the new features is a dual BIOS featuring two profiles, stock and LN2, which invokes active phase switching and disabling of the OCP Protections. Military Class 4 components are used on this card with Super Ferrite chokes, dark capacitors, and tantalum-filled Hi-C caps. On the bottom, MSI digs into the Twin Frozr 4 cooling solution that uses Superpipe and dust removal technologies, which work with the 100mm propeller blade fans.
Internally we get a pair of black boxes; one with the MSI logo embossed on it. The thinner package has the accessory bundle, while the bottom holds the R9 270X Hawk securely in a black foam to protect against transit damage. The accessory bundle consists of documentation and a driver disk, while the hardware support comes in the form of a pair of dual 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PEG power adapters, DVI to VGA adapter, and the v-check point harnesses. The latter devices are used to allow the end user the ability to check voltages of the GPU, Memory, and PLL circuit without relying on software.
Having seen what the Hawk series from MSI is capable of in the past, let's see how this iteration fares and how it is equipped.