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Written by Hank Tolman   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Table of Contents: Page Index
MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card
Closer Look: MSI R7870 Hawk
MSI R7870 Hawk Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
VGA Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: 3DMark 11
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: DIRT 2 Demo
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.5
MSI R7870 Hawk Temperatures and Power Consumption
MSI R7870 Hawk Overclocking
MSI R7870 Hawk Conclusion

MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk Video Card Review

Manufacturer: Micro-Star International Co. LTD
Product Name: Radeon HD R7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card
Model Number: R7870 HAWK
Price As Tested: $379.99 (Amazon)

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by MSI.

AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series is out in full force now and even with the NVIDIA 600 series launching, it's still getting a lot of attention. As is typical with video card releases, manufacturers like to make their own designs and subtle changes and release various different cards based off of the same GPU. Here at Benchmark Reviews, we've received the MSI Radeon HD R7870 Hawk video card and we are prepared to put it to the test. With an unlocked BIOS and a digital PWM, the MSI R7870 Hawk begs to be overclocked. Let's find out just how fast it can go.

The Radeon HD 7800 series of video cards sports the Pitcairn GPU a scaled down version of the Tahiti GPU found in the HD 7900 series. Of course, with the scaled down GPU comes a scaled down price as well, making the HD 7800 cards a little easier on the wallet than their big brothers. The full-scaled Pitcairn GPU found in the Radeon HD 7870 cards comes equipped with 1280 Shader Units, 32 Raster Operations, about 2.8 billion Transistors, and 2GB of RAM. The GPU core is clocked at 1000 MHz and the Memory is clocked at 1200 MHz.


The MSI R7870 Hawk takes things just a little further, but doesn't change too much. It comes overclocked from the factory at 1100 MHz on the core clock. The Memory clock stays the same at 1200 MHz. The real value in the MSI R7870 Hawk, though, comes in the form of added features that enhance the card's ability to be overclocked and pushed to the limit. Follow us along inside to find out more about the R7870 Hawk's special features and to see just what they do for this card.



# MrPeter Stanich 2012-06-21 15:56
No Nividia 600 series in testing comparisons?
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# None were availableOlin Coles 2012-06-21 16:04
This author didn't have any available to test with, but most of our other articles offer this comparison.
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# Too MuchChris 2012-06-21 20:12
At that price point, I'll spend the extra $20 and get something a lot faster like a GTX670. This card is NOT priced well...
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# RE: MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video CardAnon 2012-07-03 09:22
The BF3 benchmark is replaced by a 3Dmark 11 benchmark.
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# RE: MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video CardEne 2013-03-14 03:00
Hi, So I recently got my 7870 Hawk and I've been seeing most people getting 1300/1400 at either stock voltage or at 1.25v My issue has been I cannot get a stable clock over 1150/1300 at stock voltage and even at 1.25v games will crash if I got anything over 1175/1300. But Furmark and 3DMark complete their runs just fine even at 1200/1300 with 1.25v on the core. I haven't tried 1.3v yet as I'm new to Overclocking and some people saying that 1.3v is too high. Would pushing the voltage higher help me at all? Or could there be something else in my system that is causing the unstable overclocks or did I just get a bad chip?

My specs are:
Gigabyte GA-78LMT-S2P
AMD FX-4100 at stock 3.6Ghz
8GB of Kingston hyperX 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM at 1300Mhz
500GB WD HDD running Win7 home 64bit
CX500w 80+Bronze PSU
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# MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card Overcloking !Banana_Split_11 2013-05-14 23:29
That would help you to understand what's wrong with your setup : awk_review,23.html

I Guess is your CPU and Power Supply is not enough to go further !
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# MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card Overcloking !Banana_Split_11 2013-05-14 23:37
Test Environment & Equipment

Here is where we begin the benchmark portion of this article, but first let me show you our test system plus the software we used.


MSI Big Bang XPower X58


Core i7 965 Extreme @ 3750 MHz

Graphics Card

MSI Radeon HD 7870 HAWK


6144 MB (3x 2048 MB) DDR3 Corsair @ 1500 MHz

Power Supply Unit

1200 Watt


Dell 3007WFP - up to 2560x1600

OS related software

Windows 7 64-bit SP1
DirectX 9/10/11 End User Runtime (latest available)
AMD Catalyst AMD_PitCairn 8.95.5
NVIDIA GeForce series latest WHQL 285.62 WHQL

Radeon HD 7870 - On your average system the card requires you to have a 550 Watt power supply unit as minimum and 700 Watt if you go with two cards in Crossfire mode.

If you are going to overclock the GPU or processor, then we do recommend you purchase something with some more stamina.

There are many good PSUs out there, please do have a look at our many PSU reviews as we have loads of recommended PSUs for you to check out in there. What would happen if your PSU can't cope with the load:

bad 3D performance
crashing games
spontaneous reset or imminent shutdown of the PC
freezing during gameplay
PSU overload can cause it to break down

Let's move to the next page where we'll look into GPU heat levels and noise levels coming from the graphics cards.
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# MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card Overcloking !Banana_Split_11 2013-05-14 23:33
Overclocking The Radeon HD 7870

As most of you know, with most videocards you can apply a simple series of tricks to boost the overall performance a little. You can do this at two levels, namely tweaking by enabling registry or BIOS hacks, or very simply to tamper with Image Quality. And then there is overclocking, which will give you the best possible results by far.

What do we need?
One of the best tools for overclocking NVIDIA and ATI videocards is our own AfterBurner which will work with 90% of the graphics cards out there. We can really recommend it, download here.

Where should we go?
Overclocking: By increasing the frequency of the videocard's memory and GPU, we can make the videocard increase its calculation clock cycles per second. It sounds hard, but it really can be done in less than a few minutes. I always tend to recommend to novice users and beginners, to not increase the frequency any higher than 5% on the core and memory clock. Example: If your card runs at 600 MHz then I suggest that you don't increase the frequency any higher than 30 to 50 MHz.

More advanced users push the frequency often way higher. Usually when your 3D graphics start to show artifacts such as white dots ("snow"), you should back down 10-15 MHz and leave it at that. Usually when you are overclocking too hard, it'll start to show artifacts, empty polygons or it will even freeze. Carefully find that limit and then back down at least 20 MHz from the moment you notice an artifact. Look carefully and observe well. I really wouldn't know why you need to overclock today's tested card anyway, but we'll still show it.

All in all... do it at your own risk.

The Radeon HD 7870
Original This sample Overclocked
Core Clock: 1000 MHz Core Clock: 1100 MHz Core Clock: 1300 MHz
Shader Clock: 1000 MHz Shader Clock: 1100 MHz Shader Clock: 1300 MHz
Memory Clock: 4800 MHz Memory Clock: 4800 MHz Memory Clock: 5800 MHz
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# MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card Overcloking !Banana_Split_11 2013-05-14 23:34
If you apply a little extra voltage with Afterburner, then put it at roughly 1250Mv... don't overdo it. We left fan RPM at default regulation, during stress tests the temperature now can rise towards 76 Degrees C. Once you pass 70 Degrees C the fans become much more noisy though. So you'll lose the silence factor -- that's the tradeoff.

Below, are some numbers based on the overclock we were able to pull off. The card is very flexible in terms of overclocking alright. Granted, the entire Radeon HD 7000 series is a gem when it comes to tweaking and the HAWK just upped it a notch.


Above, Crysis 2, same maxed out image quality settings as before yet now with added overclock results:

DirectX 11
High Resolution Texture Pack
Ultra Quality settings
4x AA
Level - Times Square (2 minute custom time demo)



Above, 3DMark 11 - the Performance test and score. As you can see, there is an additional bump in this very GPU limited software, lovely.


Above, Alien versus Predator, at 1920x1200 with 4x AA and 16X Anisotropic Filtering.
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