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MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB HAWK Review - Custom Everything

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Manufacturer: MSI
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MSI upgrades the GTX 460

The GeForce GTX 460 is still stellar

By far the most outstanding GPU release from NVIDIA in a few years, the GeForce GTX 460 1GB card has been the best selling card on the market pretty much since its release.  And what is not to like with a combination of a reasonable price and stellar performance when compared to previous generation NVIDIA technology and even current generation AMD offerings like the Radeon HD 5830.  Reference cards were great upon initial release, but over time we expect pre-overclocked and highly modified cards to become the standard and that is exactly what the MSI GTX 460 HAWK offers users.

While reference clocks on the GTX 460 1GB card came in at 675 MHz, that number has turned out to be pretty conservative and pretty much all AIBs are now offering cards that run at 700+ MHz for the same cost as reference designs and quite a few of the "club 800" variants are now available - cards that offer clock speeds of 800 MHz or higher.  The MSI GTX 460 1GB HAWK doesn't come clocked at 800 MHz, but instead at 780 MHz.  But that is nowhere near the limits for this card.

The MSI GeForce GTX 460 HAWK

MSI set out to create a card that was not only overclocked out of the gate but that also offered unique and custom engineering and room for manual overclocking via their well regarded Afterburner application.

Right away the MSI GTX 460 HAWK stands out from the crowd of reference designs with a dual-fan design and an obviously customer cooler.

One of the interesting features on this card is the V-Switch that allows the user to switch PWM modes and enable a pair of features that only really extreme overclockers should enable.  One turns off thermal protection on the GPU while the other moves the over current protection from 150A to 300A!!

Running a pair of GTX 460s in SLI mode is definitely something we recommend and doing so with overclocked cards just makes more sense!

Along the back of the card you see the pair of 6-pin PCIe power connections as well as three leads uses for voltage check on the PLL, GPU and memory.

The cooler on the MSI GTX 460 HAWK shouldn't be overlooked - the "Twin Frozr II" design as it is called by MSI offers four heatpipes with SuperPipe technology, a nickel-plated copper base and a pair of 80mm variable speed fans.  MSI claims that this fan runs the GPUs 18C cooler and about 8db more quietly!

The external connection configuration on the MSI GTX 460 HAWK includes a pair of dual-link DVI ports and a single mini-HDMI port for TV connections. 

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