MSI R6870 Hawk Video Card Review

MSI has released their fourth version of the Radeon HD 6870 and this one is crammed with features. The MSI R6870 Hawk features a 3rd generation custom cooler, triple voltage tweaking, plus much more. We put this enthusiast’s video card to the test by not only having it compete with a GeForce GTX 560 Ti but also with an overclocked version of itself.

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Evaluation Method

We evaluate what each video card configuration can supply us in terms of a playable gaming experience while supplying the best culmination of resolution and "eye candy" graphical settings. We focus on quality and immersion of the gameplay experience rather than how many frames per second the card can get in a canned benchmark or prerecorded timedemo situation that often do not represent real gameplay like you would experience at home . Then we will follow with apples-to-apples testing based on real gameplay as well.

System Test Setup

For our test system platform we are using an ASUS Blitz Formula motherboard with an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 processor at 3.66GHz, and 4GB of OCZ Technology DDR2 PC2-8000 Platinum. For the power supply, we will be using a Corsair TX750W.

While it might be a bit "overkill," we use the 3.6GHz overclocked quad-core processor in an attempt to keep from putting our evaluation into a position of being CPU limited. Obviously, we make every effort to not use CPU limited games for video card evaluations, but the 3.6GHz processor seems to put many peoples’ minds at ease when it comes to that subject.

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For this evaluation Windows 7 x64 RTM will be used. We are using the latest drivers, Catalyst 11.1a Hotfix, for the MSI R6870 Hawk. For the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti we are using ForceWare 266.66 WHQL.

Below is the GPU-Z screenshot of the MSI R6870 Hawk after we installed the drivers

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