MSI GTX 760 HAWK 2 GB 31

MSI GTX 760 HAWK 2 GB Review

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Value and Conclusion

  • The MSI GTX 760 HAWK is available online for $290.
  • Large performance increase
  • Overclocked out of the box
  • Quiet
  • Good performance per watt
  • Backplate included
  • Good overclocking potential
  • Voltage measurement points
  • Native full-size HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Dual BIOS
  • Up to four active outputs
  • Support for CUDA and PhysX
  • High price
  • Memory not overclocked
MSI has engineered a fantastic GeForce GTX 760 with their GTX 760 HAWK. The card comes overclocked out of the box with the highest frequency we've seen on a GTX 760. This translates into a performance improvement of almost 10% over the reference design—something you'll definitely notice in-game. With those clocks, it even ends up faster than the AMD HD 7970 and only 7% behind AMD's flagship HD 7970 GHz Edition. I only wish MSI had also overclocked the memory since our manual overclocking tests show that there is plenty of headroom to do so.
Compared to the MSI GTX 760 GAMING, the company beefed up their cooler for the HAWK, which provides additional cooling potential to make sure the card handles the increased clocks while still leaving enough headroom for manual overclocking. Temperatures are great, and noise levels are good too. The only GTX 760 that is quieter is MSI's GTX 760 GAMING, making it a good alternative if you value low noise more than the absolutely highest performance. It's also great to see a backplate on the GTX 760 HAWK, something many cheaper cards lack.
The GTX 760 HAWK also comes with several advanced overclocking features, like voltage monitoring points and a dual BIOS that is optimized for liquid nitrogen. Even if you don't use liquid nitrogen, the dual-BIOS feature can be useful if a BIOS flash goes wrong, for example.
Power consumption of the card in gaming is slightly higher than the reference design, but its increased performance allows the GTX 670 HAWK to beat the reference design in performance per watt. Only Furmark maximum power is significantly higher, which suggests that MSI increased the card's power limit to make optimum use of the dual 8-pin power connectors and improved VRM circuitry.
The GTX 760 HAWK is available online for $290, which is quite hefty. Reference designs retail for around $250 and 4 GB cards (which don't provide any performance improvement) start at $300. To be honest, even with the GTX 760 HAWK being as awesome as it is, I find it hard to justify the price increase. In my opinion, $270 or $275 would be acceptable, but not much more. The large performance increase will, on the other hand, offset cost by providing better performance per dollar, and you don't have to invest time into manual overclocking. If the GTX 760 HAWK is too expensive for you, then I'd strongly recommend the MSI GTX 760 GAMING because it is only $260 and has excellent low-noise properties without losing much on performance.
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