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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Video Card
Closer Look: MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk
MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Details
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Street Fighter IV
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Overclocking
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look: MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk

Let's take a good look at the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk's exterior, later we shall strip it down to see what secrets the Hawk is hiding. The image below shows a very professional looking video card, it measures 24.4cm long x 11.6cm tall and is a true dual slot design.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Top_View.jpg

The guts of the MSI Twin Frozr III cooler are well hidden by the gun-metal color aluminum shroud. This shroud improves over the previous Twin Frozr II design and looks much less hideous and much more functional. Twin 92mm 'Propeller Blade' fans dominate the front face of the GTX 560Ti Hawk and complete the aesthetics.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Free_Standing_2.jpg

Looking along the spine of the GTX 560Ti Hawk we see a new feature that is starting to grace modern GeForce GPU's. I am talking of course about the semi aesthetic, fully functional re-enforcement bar that stops the card warping over time due to the weight of the Twin Frozr III cooler. Anyone who has installed an aftermarket cooler in the past has noticed that the sheer weight will pull the card down and cause it to warp, thankfully this problem is now alleviated.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_PCIe_Power_Connectors.jpg

The MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk requires two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors from your PSU, while MSI includes two molex to 6-pin adapter cables it is highly recommended to use a PSU that already has these connectors present.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_SLI_BIOS_Switch.jpg

As is the norm we see only one SLI finger so 2-way SLI is all you will get from the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk. Next to the SLI connector is a cooling profile switch, we will look at this in more detail later in the review along with the unidentified header to its right.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Vcheck_Points.jpg

At the rear of the card are three V-check points, MSI include little adapters for these to make it easier to take readings with a multi-meter which we will look at closer later in the review. In my opinion it would be much easier to take said readings if the V-check points were in a much more accessible place.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_PCI_Bracket.jpg

For output we have a mini HDMI connector and two DVI-I connectors, bundled with the card you get a mini HDMI to HDMI adapter and a DVI to D-SUB adapter, so as far as connectors go MSI has pretty much covered all the bases here. The top half of the PCI bracket is vented and we have a nice MSI logo cut out, but the design of the cooler exhausts the hot air inside the case rather than out here.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Side_View.jpg

In this side profile view we see that the Twin Frozr III cooler make full use of the dual slot dimensions. Two 8mm and two 6mm heatpipes emerge here and transport the GPU heat to the aluminum fin array of the Twin Frozr III heatsink.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Cooler_Removed.jpg

Removing the cooler assembly reveals yet another heatsink, MSI have dubbed this the 'Form-in-one' heatsink and it covers all of the memory IC's and the power circuitry. There is a slight bit of overkill with the thermal paste here but nothing that can't be remedied, the temperature recordings are good so only us perfectionists need worry about cleaning and refining here.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Fan.jpg

The Twin Frozr III design incorporates two 92mm propeller blade PWM fans introduced by MSI on their Cyclone II coolers. These fans have proven track record for cooling ability but they are not the quietest when running at full speed, thankfully you won't need to ramp them up to 100% to get optimum performance as they cool very effectively on their auto cycle with minimal noise disruption.



 

Comments 

 
# Congrats!Austin Downing 2011-05-19 18:16
Congrats on getting quoted by MSI!
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# RE: Congrats!Steven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-05-20 23:40
Thanks Austin, it's nice when your work is appreciated isn't it :D
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# RE: RE: Congrats!Steven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-05-23 23:55
MSI liked this article so much that they posted it twice on their Facebook :P
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# re:MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Video CardPinakio 2011-05-21 16:12
I've got two questions Steven, first- are those nickel plated copper heatpipes or aluminum ones? Next, you probably have reviewed MSI's Twin-frozrII series of cards in past, do you consider this Twin-frozrIII/Hawk to be a real upgrade on what already is a very good cooling solution? I mean is it worth the extra $$? Regards.

* Not to mention a fine effort again from you guys:)
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# RE: re:MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Video CardSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-05-22 04:22
Thanks for the positive comment, Pinaio.
1)They are nickel plated copper heatpipes.
2)I have not actually reviewed a video card with the twin frozr II, but if you look at Bruce Norman's review of the MSI N560GTX-Ti Twin Frozr II here at BmR #benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=689&Itemid=72&limit=1&limitstart=1 you will see they are essentially the same cooler with a different shroud and different fans (as I described in my final thoughts). The extra $$ is not necessarily just for the cooler but the different features the Hawk card has over the Twin Frozr II card.

Hope this helps.
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# RE: RE: re:MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Video CardPinakio 2011-05-22 22:19
Thank you for the explanation:) Yes, after looking carefully through the feature set, it's obvious that the 'Hawks' are more aggressive in terms of factory OC and overvolting plus there is the so called 'propeller' fan. Anyway looking fwd for more reviews.
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# MSI 560 HAWKgangsta072 2011-05-23 03:47
Would buy that adapter just because of the looks :D
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# PiccoloAviral 2011-05-30 07:55
Hi Steven, I just purchased this card and it does performs brilliantly! However, I cant manage to make it reduce its PWM phase usage (all LEDs are always lit) and I cant even obtain this app that you speak of.. How to go about this?
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# RE: PiccoloSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-05-30 13:41
Insert your driver and utility dvd and click on the afterburner icon. You will see a button at the bottom called 'N560GTX-Ti Hawk APS'

Hope this helps.
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# RE: RE: PiccoloAviral 2011-05-30 21:16
Thanks a ton.. works like a charm!!
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# RE: Piccologangsta072 2011-05-31 06:33
not necessary - leave it as it is
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# Great reviewChris 2011-08-03 22:15
After doing a lot of research, I decided to buy this card. It seems like the 560Ti to beat performance-wise. Will report back when it arrives.

MSI's bizarre marketing aside, the cooler seems to be the best custom air cooler on the market right now.
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# guideAlireza 2011-10-03 12:18
Hi Steven;
I've got a pretty hard to answer question!! I'm totally confused to buy this card (MSI N560 GTX Ti hawk)or ATI HD 6950 2GB reference version and flash it to HD 6970 2GB which is quit stronger than this card.But I don't know anything about the risks of this flashing process and consequences. The price of this card (MSI) is about 30$ cheaper than 2GB version of 6950 in our country. But XFX version of 6950 2gb has the same price as the MSI card has.What do you say Steven? (power consumption of this card is higher than HD 6950)
Thank you very much.
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# RE: guideSteven Iglesias-Hearst 2011-10-03 12:37
Good question Alireza, one that I can only answer in part though.

Buying a reference 6950 to flash to a 6970 is a risky choice. First you must find a compatible BIOS and then of course you have to flash it.

If the flash goes wrong or you use an incompatible BIOS you will only see a blank screen next time you boot, some 6950's have dual BIOS switch to overcome this issue but some don't. If the flash does not work out you will have to install another card in slot one and the failed flash card in slot 2 and use the -i function of atiflash to detect the correct GPU to and reflash the BIOS to the correct card.

For example where the failed GPU is in slot 2 the command "atiflash -i" would list any installed GPU's starting with 0 upwards, the second card would typically be 1. The command to reflash that would be "atiflash -r -f 1 biosname.bin"

While the GTX560Ti HAWK has higher power consumption, my testing shows that it is better than the 6950 2gb at the tested resolutions in most tests.

If you do manage to flash a HD6950 to a HD6970 you would see a big rise in power consumption and heat production but obviously you would get much better FPS.

What are your thoughts?
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# RE: RE: guideDavid Ramsey 2011-10-03 13:01
I have seen several 6550s that won't flash to 6970 at all (like the one I have). This probably means AMD now has dedicated 6950 dies. Or something.

The one 6950 I've played with that would flash to 6970 would always crash under heavy load, probably because it only had a single 6-pin power connector, rather than the dual 6-pin power connectors a "real" 6970 has.

Bottom line: if you can flash your 6950 to a 6970 and it runs well, great, but don't buy any 6950 expecting to be able to do this.
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# power suply?darky 2012-01-17 16:10
i plan to buy FSP - 750 Watt Aurum GOLD ATX 12V V2.3 80+ Gold
no i see it have only 18 Amps available per lane (12x18=216w)
you think is possible to use it or ill better start looking for a single lane ( CM Silent Pro M850)
thanks in advance for reply
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# RE: power suply?Steven Iglesias-Hearst 2012-01-18 16:36
Look into the Corsair TX or HX series, 750 is plenty powerful for just one GPU.
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