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Written by Hank Tolman   
Thursday, 03 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics Card
Closer Look: MSI R6870 Hawk
MSI R6870 Hawk Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: DiRT-2 Demo
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
MSI R6870 Hawk Temperatures and Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

DX10: 3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage is a PC benchmark suite designed to test the DirectX10 graphics card performance. FutureMark 3DMark Vantage is the latest addition the 3DMark benchmark series built by FutureMark corporation. Although 3DMark Vantage requires NVIDIA PhysX to be installed for program operation, only the CPU/Physics test relies on this technology.

3DMark Vantage offers benchmark tests focusing on GPU, CPU, and Physics performance. Benchmark Reviews uses the two GPU-specific tests for grading video card performance: Jane Nash and New Calico. These tests isolate graphical performance, and remove processor dependence from the benchmark results.

  • 3DMark Vantage v1.02
    • Extreme Settings: (Extreme Quality, 8x Multisample Anti-Aliasing, 16x Anisotropic Filtering, 1:2 Scale)

3DMark Vantage GPU Test: Jane Nash

Of the two GPU tests 3DMark Vantage offers, the Jane Nash performance benchmark is slightly less demanding. In a short video scene the special agent escapes a secret lair by water, nearly losing her shirt in the process. Benchmark Reviews tests this DirectX-10 scene at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions, and uses Extreme quality settings with 8x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. The 1:2 scale is utilized, and is the highest this test allows. By maximizing the processing levels of this test, the scene creates the highest level of graphical demand possible and sorts the strong from the weak.

MSI_6870_Hawk_Nash.jpg

3DMark Vantage GPU Test: New Calico

New Calico is the second GPU test in the 3DMark Vantage test suite. Of the two GPU tests, New Calico is the most demanding. In a short video scene featuring a galactic battleground, there is a massive display of busy objects across the screen. Benchmark Reviews tests this DirectX-10 scene at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 resolutions, and uses Extreme quality settings with 8x anti-aliasing and 16x anisotropic filtering. The 1:2 scale is utilized, and is the highest this test allows. Using the highest graphics processing level available allows our test products to separate themselves and stand out (if possible).

MSI_6870_Hawk_Calico.jpg

Graphics Card

GeForce GTS450

Radeon HD5770

GeForce GTX460SE

Radeon HD6850

Radeon HD6870

GPU Cores

240

800

288

960

1120

Core Clock (MHz)

850

875

648

775

930

Shader Clock (MHz)

1700

N/A

1296

N/A

N/A

Memory Clock (MHz)

1000

1225

850

1000

1050

Memory Amount

1024MB GDDR3

1024MB GDDR5

1024MB GDDR5

1024MB GDDR5

1280MB GDDR5

Memory Interface

128-bit

256-bit

192-bit

256-bit

256-bit



 

Comments 

 
# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics Carddev 2011-03-06 22:47
It's rather baffling how you got the 450 and 460SEs specs wrong. Also given the 6870 price I don't think a comparison with the 560Ti would've been so far off.
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# Open PlatformRealNeil 2011-03-07 07:41
I've been reading on the web about many people who are buying newer Radeon cards that are reference design, and then flashing the BIOS of their card to the BIOS of a more expensive overclocked brand and model.
Yeah, they're flashing across brands too. They claim that they get the benefits built into the higher priced cards for less money. The BIOS on this card is popular. I expect to see cards come with unique identifier chips built-in in the future to prevent this.
I like MSI's cooler design and have it on two Fermi based cards now. They do run quieter and certainly much cooler too.
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# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics Cardhcforde 2011-03-07 07:55
Nice review of the 6870. I have been a fan of ATI/AMD cards for years unless I needed another brand for a specialized purpose. I am currently running 2-2gb ASUS Eyefinity6 cards in Xfire. However the comparison cards used in the review don't make sense to me. Why not a full GTX 460 rather than the dumbed down 'SE' version. Why not a 560ti as their price points are more similar. I have to give credit to Nvidia for the 560ti and 570. They appear to be the price performance leaders when it comes to full value (S-3D added value capability). If you could upgrade this review to include the GTX460 and the GTX 560ti I think this review would have more relevant significance.
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# Relatively easy to compareBruceBruce 2011-03-07 08:15
One of the advantages of the way we do video card testing, is that all the results on this site are pretty consistent, across different reviewers. Feel free to look around at some of our other video card reviews to get test data on other cards.
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# RE: Relatively easy to comparehcforde 2011-03-09 04:57
But if the test bed is different it will not be a true comparison. Most people that I know want to see how cards that are similar in price stack up together in a given system. Trying to compare 'Card A" in a system with 4 cores and 4 threads with "Card B" in another system with 2 cores and 2 threads doesn't make me feel comfortable with the results.
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# RE: RE: Relatively easy to compareBruceBruce 2011-03-09 05:43
Most of the reviewers on this site are using Quad-core Intels for their video card test bench. I'm using an i5-750, OC at 4.0 GHz on a P55 mobo and Hank here is using the Intel Core i5-2500K at 3.3GHz on a P67 mobo. We're both using 4GB of DDR3-1600MHz. For most video games, that's going to give you identical performance. The exceptions are GTA4, Crysis, and one or two others that are not inclded in our test suite. The biggest differences you tend to see between sites is caused by the different settings for visual quality. Eveyone seems to do it differently, 4x AA here and 16x AA there. That has a major impact on frame rates.
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# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics CardHank 2011-03-07 10:34
I pointed out at the beginning of the article that this was more about what's new and different with the R6870 Hawk than other Radeon HD 6870 cards. Feel free to check out the reviews of the 560Ti cards and other 6870 cards to see where this one falls into place. Unfortunately, you can't accomodate everyone with their desires of what to see compared in a review. Your best bet is to check out multiple reviews.

Also, @dev, thanks for pointing out that I forgot to change the GPU cores for the GTS 450 when I changed the chart, it should be 192 instead of 240. The GTX 460SE specs are right though, even if I didn't round them up like a lot of sites do.

##evga.com/products/moreInfo.asp?pn=01G-P3-1366-TR&family=GeForce%20400%20Series%20Family&sw=

Next time, try to look past a single typographical error, there are many in this review, to be sure.
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# RE: MSI R6870 Hawk Graphics CardPinakio 2011-03-09 12:52
Fine effort by BMR once again. MSI is surely looking good with their innovative designs like Twin-Frozer, which is very effective and getting all the positive feed back that it deserves throughout the net. Even more interesting is Afterburner, it's good to see a leading board manufacturer putting resources in the right direction.
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