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Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst   
Thursday, 19 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 Overclocking

Before I start overclocking I like to get a little bit of information, firstly I like to establish operating temperatures and since we know these are well within specifications we can quickly move on. Next I like to know what the voltage and clock limits are, so I fired up the bundled MSI Afterburner utility. I established that vCore was adjustable between 825mV and 1150mV and clock speeds were limited to 1350MHz max on the GPU (linked Shaders 2700MHz) and 3500MHz DDR (7GHz effective!!!) maximum frequency for the memory. This is more than enough range to move forward with, armed with this info I know I can squeeze every last drop of performance out of the MSI GTX 560Ti Hawk. My preferred weapons are MSI Afterburner (v2.2.0 Beta 3) for fine tuning while using FurMark (v1.9.0) to load the GPU.


Above is a reminder of the temperature and clock speeds of the MSI GTX 560Ti Hawk, everything looked as if the Hawk was going to break some serious barriers but sadly it wasn't to be. During my overclocking session with FurMark the MSI GTX 560Ti Hawk had passed the 1GHz GPU barrier (1067MHz) but it proved to be unstable during benchmark testing. It wasn't until I reduced the GPU clock speed to 990MHz (+81mV GPU voltage) that stability was again established. Memory overclocks became unstable above 2230MHz DDR (4.4GHz effective) despite an 80mV voltage increase on the memory voltage.

Due to time constraints I wasn't able to experiment further with clock speeds and the potential stability enhancements from enabling OCP via the switch on the rear side of the PCB. I fully intend to experiment further with overclocking the MSI GTX 560Ti Hawk as I believe this card has more potential, until then though the increases in performance from this round of overclocking are displayed below.

Test Item Standard GPU/RAM Overclocked GPU/RAM Improvement
MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk 950/1050 MHz 990/1115 MHz 40/65 MHz
DX10: Street Fighter IV 183.51 189.99 6.48 FPS (3.53%)
DX10: 3dMark Jane Nash 34.92 36.20

1.27 FPS (3.65%)

DX10: 3dMark Calico 29.57 30.06 0.48 FPS (1.63%)
DX11: HAWX 2 109 114 5 FPS (4.58%)
DX11: Aliens vs Predator 36.60 38.10

1.50 FPS (4.09%)

DX11: Battlefield BC2 80.85 84.04 3.19 FPS (3.95%)
DX11: Metro 2033 28.09 29.93 1.84 FPS (6.55%)
DX11: Heaven 2.1 39.33 40.40 1.06 FPS (2.71%)
DX11: Battle Forge 54.56 56.90

2.33 FPS (4.27%)

With a 40MHz GPU overclock (168MHz over reference design) and a 65MHz memory overclock (113MHz over reference design) we went back to the bench and ran through the entire test suite. Overall there is an average 3.88% increase in scores (at 1920x1080 resolution). We also re ran temperature tests at the overclocked speeds with a slightly lower ambient temperature of 26°C. The Twin Frozr III cooler on the MSI N560GTX-Ti Hawk once again did not fail to please, at idle the GPU sat at 36°C (40% fan speed). Pushing the temperature up with FurMark saw the GPU load temperature rise to 75°C (71% fan speed) and cranking the fan on manual to 100% saw the temperature drop to 71°C.

That's all of the testing over for now, in the next section I will deliver my final thoughts and conclusion.



# 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 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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