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MSI R9 270X Hawk Review


MSI R9 270X Testing:

Testing of the MSI R9 270X Hawk will consist of running it and comparison cards 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 a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 320.18 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 13.5 beta 2 drivers and latest CAP profile. The results generated in my testing were reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.


Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:


Comparison Video Cards:




  • MSI R9 270X Hawk: 1215MHz, Memory 1615MHz

Overclocking is a way to gain additional FPS performance basically for free. MSI's Special Edition cards allow the end user to increase the voltages on three key parameters, masquerading as the triple over voltage control feature set. Unfortunately, with the rush to ship and be ready for the AMD launch, it looks like MSI's utility that normally works out of the box is not ready for the feature, so I feel there is more left on the table with the latest Pitcairn (Curaucao XT) once you put the squeeze on it with the additional voltage controls, once they are ready. Even so, under load the R9 270X Hawk has 1.21v applied to the core, so we get some overclocking headroom for the enthusiast, but not much on the core due to the out-of-the-box 1150MHz boost clock. The memory is also aggressively clocked at 1400MHz, delivering a measurable performance boost over the previous generation HD 7800 GHz edition. Overclocking was fairly straight forward without the added voltage control variables. Boost the core until it is unstable and then back down roughly 10 to 15MHz. In this case, the MSI R8 270X Hawk is willing to clock to 1215MHz without adding any voltage. The memory used on this card easily scaled up to 1600MHz, which meant a 200MHz bump over the 1400MHz base memory clock speed. A small gain on the core and big gains in the memory department without tweaking voltage are sure to boost the FPS output based on the scoring in 3DMark


Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were rerun until they passed a full hour of testing.



  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Splinter Cell Blacklist
  3. Bioshock Infinite
  4. Crysis 3
  5. Far Cry 3
  6. Battlefield 3
  7. Batman: Arkham City
  8. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  9. 3DMark


  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

  1. MSI R9 270X Hawk Introduction & Closer Look
  2. MSI R9 270X Hawk Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. MSI R9 270X Hawk Specifications & Features
  4. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Metro: Last Light
  6. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist
  7. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Bioshock Infinite
  8. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Crysis 3
  9. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Far Cry 3
  10. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Battlefield 3
  11. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Batman: Arkham City
  12. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Unigine Heaven 4.0
  13. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: 3DMark
  14. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Temperatures
  15. MSI R9 270X Hawk Testing: Power Consumption
  16. MSI R9 270X Hawk Conclusion
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