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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 Details

The gloves are off now so to speak as we take a more detailed look at the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk video card.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Front_PCB.jpg

The MSI GTX 560Ti Hawk sports a chocolate brown PCB which makes a nice difference from the bright colors we have bocome accustomed to with the video cards of old. In the 'MSI hierarchy' the Hawk is typically one step below the Lightning (MSI's top end card of which a GTX 560Ti variant doesn't exist as yet) and includes a few goodies not found on other models. In this section we will take a look at these.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Profile_Switch.jpg

First up we have the P/S switch, this switch allows you to select between Silent mode (lower noise but higher GPU temperature) and Performance mode (lower GPU temperature but more noise from the fan). There is no real question as to my preferred mode but it's nice to have a choice. You might also notice that there is a third option labelled Reserved, the function of this setting is undisclosed so selecting it might well be tempting fate. To the right we see the unidentified header, my best guess is that it is a simple programming interface for the performance profiles, but I don't know this for sure. It could even be just a 3-pin fan header.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_UTC_78D09AL.jpg

A close up here of the V-check points seen earlier. MSI didn't make clear in their supplied documentation which point was which and I had to remove the cooler assembly to reveal the secret. Clearly labelled from top to bottom are; V-GPU, V-MEM and V-PLL. These correspond with the triple over voltage feature supported by the N560GTX-Ti Hawk from MSI, although the range of over voltage leaves a little room for improvement (+150mV for GPU, +80mV for MEM and +30mV for AUX/PLL).

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Samsung_K4610325FE.jpg

Eight Samsung K4G10325FE HC04 128MB modules make up the 1GB of memory available. Loosely translated the code tells us that these GDDR5 modules are rated 1.5v and operate 0.40ns 5GB/s and are Halogen free commercial modules.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_RT8120B.jpg

The RT8120 is a single-phase synchronous buck PWM DC/DC voltage controller manufactured by Richtek Technology Corporation.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_uP6218AN.jpg

For voltage control MSI have utilized the uP6218AM VRM Controller.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_Rear_PCB.jpg

The rear of the PCB is a fairly well populated and there is a nice surprise here for the curious enthusiasts lurking out there.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_uP6282AD.jpg

Four uP6282AD Mosfet Drivers from uPI Semiconductor Corp control 2 phases each for a total of 8 phases.

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_PWM_LEDs.jpg

And here is that little surprise I mentioned earlier, in the form of PWM activity LED's and some extra switch goodness. Firstly I would like to talk a little about the PWM activity LED's, if you are a energy conscious user then you will be happy to learn that MSI include a little app that automatically reduces PWM phase usage to conserve power when they are not needed. In the image below you will see that they glow pretty bright red when active.

Secondly let's ponder the uses of the OCP Unlocker and Xtreme cool switches, these type of switches are usually reserved for MSI's Lightning series of cards. OCP stands for over current protection and enabling this option would deliver more current for a more stable overclock. Xtreme cool is less obvious, I can only assume it is for sub-zero overclocking support (to aid with cold bug boots etc).

MSI_N560GTX-Ti_Hawk_PWM_LEDs_Active.jpg

Let's take a little time to look at the features and specifications of the N560GTX-Ti Hawk from MSI and then we will get straight into performance testing.



 

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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