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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

MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Final Thoughts

I am overall very impressed with the performance of the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk, in most tests it was able to better a stock HD6950 and an overclocked HD6950 where a stock NVIDIA GTX 560Ti would not be able to. MSI really know how to build a great video card and our results have proved this today, this card is certainly worthy of the HAWK moniker and my only hope is that further experimentation will yield better overclocking results.

The Twin Frozr III is essentially the same as the Twin Frozr II. The main differences between the two are; 1) Improved 'Propeller Blade' fans, 2) MSI's 'Form-in-one' heatsink covering all of the memory and power circuitry, and 3) An improved shroud design that not only enhances the aesthetic qualities of the cooler, but also covers the aluminum fin array much better. These enhancements culminate to make the overclocked GTX 560Ti Hawk run cooler than a GTX 560Ti with a reference design cooler when under load.

MSI N560GTX Ti Hawk Conclusion

Important: In this section I am going to write a brief five point summary on the following categories; Performance, Appearance, Construction, Functionality and Value. These views are my own and help me to give the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk Video Card a rating out of 10. A high or low score does not necessarily mean that it is better or worse than a similar video card that has been reviewed by another writer here at Benchmark Reviews, which may have got a higher or lower score. It is however a good indicator of whether the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk is good or not. I would strongly urge you to read the entire review, if you have not already, so that you can make an educated decision for yourself.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Angle_Box.jpg

The graphics performance of the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk is way above standard, sure other GTX 560Ti cards may be able to reach this core clock but the Hawk does it out of the box. In seven out of our ten tests the 560Ti Hawk manages to beat not only a stock speed HD6950 but also an overclocked variant of the HD6950, this is something a reference design GTX 560Ti is unable to achieve.

The appearance of the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk is, as I'm sure you will agree, very nice indeed. The side view is given extra attention thanks to the anti-warp edge support and shroud design that provide both function and aesthetics. These additions are relatively simple but it makes all the difference once you install the card into your system. There are some that will surely disagree but thanks to the graphic nature of this review you can easily make your mind up for yourself. One thing is for sure, the Twin Frozr III design really makes the Twin Frozr II look ugly.

Construction is excellent as you would expect from a company with a good reputation like MSI, there were some slightly missed areas during the cleaning process but it is nothing major as it only hurts the aesthetics and not the performance. Taking the card to pieces and reconstructing it was a breeze and everything lined up perfectly, the Twin Frozr III cooler is solid and really adds some weight. This gives the feel of confidence when handling the card that you won't break it.

Functionality is very good, I can't help but keep singing praise for the Twin Frozr III cooler, it really is so good. The MSI Afterburner and Kombustor utilities are very handy when it comes to overclocking and stress testing your video card. The bundled APS (Auto Phase Switching) utility should help reduce power consumption by disabling power phases when they are not needed, I would have prefered if it would run without confirmation after every boot but it only takes 2 clicks to enable it. The V-Check points and the fan profile switch add a whole new level of functionality to the GTX 560Ti and will give enthusiasts something extra to play with.

The MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk video card is available now for $264.99 at NewEgg.com at this price point it is only a small premium over the average price of $249.99 for a standard GTX 560Ti. Throughout our tests the price/performance ratio is very appealing indeed, but the GTX460 has come down in price recently and still offers excellent overall cost/performance. The very high factory overclock and quality cooler design are this cards main selling point.

Pros:goldentachaward.png

+ Twin Frozr III cooler is excellent
+ V-Check points
+ Very nice looks
+ Excellent build quality
+ Good price/performance ratio
+ SLI support
+ PWM LED's and APS utility
+ Fan profile switch
+ 8+1 Phase Design
+ Xtreme cool and OCP unlocker switches
+ Variety of outputs: D-SUB, DVI-I and HDMI

Cons:

- Hot air from GPU exhausted into case
- Fan noise at 100% is not good
- Overclocking needs to be re-visited

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 9.50
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.50
  • Value: 8.75

Final Score: 9.25 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

Questions? Comments? Benchmark Reviews really wants your feedback. We invite you to leave your remarks in our Discussion Forum.

NewEgg.com

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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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