|MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Friday, 24 September 2010|
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MSI N460GTX HAWK Video Card Review
The slew of NVIDIA GTX 460 video cards that hit the market in the last month was impressive. Everybody wanted as much of the pie as they could get, which was not surprising given the level of performance that the GTX460 offers for so little cash. On almost every level, the GTX 460 was a game-changer for Fermi. Some vendors weren't satisfied with just putting a label on the reference design, and MSI is one of them. They have at least two different non-reference designs, with some variations of each available. The N460GTX HAWK we're looking at today is a completely new board design with some advanced features no one else can match. They have also adapted their well-regarded Twin Frozr cooling design for the HAWK, even bumping up the heat pipe count to four, which provides good coverage for the NVIDIA heat spreader, that's much larger than comparable ATI GPU packages.
MSI N460GTX HAWK GeForce GTX 460
Software control of a video card's clocks and core voltage is the fastest and easiest way to improve its performance. MSI Afterburner is one of the best monitoring and control software products available, and MSI's latest version brings voltage control to all aspects of the GTX 460 design. With so much apparent thermal headroom available on the GTX 460, the ability to bump up the core voltage on the GPU is quite useful. Until now, most overclocking enthusiasts were left without a way to increase memory voltage, and were held back a bit by the performance of the Samsung GDDR5 parts running on stock voltage. To add some icing to the cake, version 2.0 of MSI Afterburner also allows the PLL system to be pushed harder, as well. This ensures that the components that are used in setting the actual clock rates are stable, as well. Add in a large and dense fin assembly, four heat pipes and twin fans, and you have a recipe for generous overclocks.
Let's take a complete look, inside and out, at the MSI N460GTX HAWK and then run it through Benchmark Review's full test suite. We're going to look at how this overclocked edition performs with a 780 MHz factory overclock, and then push it even further. There should be lots of headroom available, and if I'm lucky, I may be able to approach the world record holder for overclocking the GTX 460 GPU on air, who got 1.0 GHz with this same exact model
Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by MSI.