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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

DiRT-2 Demo DX11 Benchmark Results

DiRT-2 features a roster of contemporary off-road events, taking players to diverse and challenging real-world environments. This World Tour has players competing in aggressive multi-car, and intense solo races at extraordinary new locations. Everything from canyon racing and jungle trails to city stadium-based events. Span the globe as players unlock tours in stunning locations spread across the face of the world. USA, Japan, Malaysia, Baja Mexico, Croatia, London, and more venues await, as players climb to the pinnacle of modern competitive off-road racing.

Multiple disciplines are featured; encompassing the very best that modern off-roading has to offer. Powered by the third generation of the EGOTM Engine's award-winning racing game technology, DiRT-2 benefits from tuned-up car-handling physics and new damaged engine effects. It showcases a spectacular new level of visual fidelity, with cars and tracks twice as detailed as those seen in GRID. The DiRT-2 garage houses a collection of officially licensed rally cars and off-road vehicles, specifically selected to deliver aggressive and fast paced racing. Covering seven vehicle classes, players are given the keys to powerful vehicles right away. In DiRT-2 the opening drive is the Group N Subaru, essentially making the ultimate car from the original game the starting point in the sequel, and the rides just get even more impressive as you rack up points.

The primary contribution that DirectX-11 makes to the DiRT-2 Demo benchmark is in the way water is displayed when a car is passing through it, and in the way cloth items are rendered. The water graphics are pretty obvious, and there are several places in the Moroccan race scene where cars are plowing through large and small puddles. Each one is unique, and they are all believable, especially when more than one car is in the scene. The cloth effects are not as obvious, except in the slower-moving menu screens; when there is a race on, there's precious little time to notice the realistic furls in a course-side flag. I should also note that the flags are much more noticeable in the actual game than in the demo, so they do add a little more to the realism there, that is absent from the benchmark.

On a side note, I appreciate the fact that the demo's built-in benchmark has variable game play. I know its lame, but I most always watch it intently, just to see how well "my" car is being driven. So far, my finest telekinetic efforts have yielded a best finish of second place!

MSI_6870_Hawk_Dirt2.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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