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MSI N560GTX-Ti HAWK Graphic Card Review

Author: Josh Walrath
Manufacturer: MSI Computers
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HAWK: Test Setup and 3D Mark Results

While current Intel Sandy Bridge processors are arguably the fastest out there, and will push a video card to its limit, I tested with the latest AMD Phenom II X6 1100T.  If a user wants to see a higher powered CPU running the GTX 560 Ti cards, then I would suggest reading Ryan’s initial review.  Very few reviewers take the time to see how these cards run on the AMD platform, and I would expect that there are quite a few curious users who want to know how they perform.  Luckily for AMD, once resolutions of 1680x1050 and above are used with medium and high graphics settings enabled, the CPU takes a back seat as the bottleneck invariably becomes the GPU.

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The card features 2 x DVI-I ports as well as the mini-HDMI.  Some of the warm exhause is vented out of the back, but obviously not all.

The HAWK was tested against a variety of cards, namely the HD 6950, GTX 480, and the HD 5870.

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T
Asus Crosshair IV Extreme Motherboard
2 x 2GB OCZ DDR-3 1600 Platinum Memory
Antec HCP-1200 Power Supply
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7200 RPM HD
Lite-On Blu-ray Drive
Windows 7 Ultimate 64 Bit Edition
Catalyst 11.3 Hot Fix
NVIDIA 270.61

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Here we have a good look at the anti-warping bar.  The card is a hefty thing to pick up.

Results

3D Mark 11

The latest 3D Mark hammers on DX11 content like Ryan hammers on free drinks in first class.  Mercilessly.  The performance preset was used across all cards.

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The N560GTX-Ti HAWK comes perilously close to the HD 6950 and GTX 480 in this particular benchmark.  It smokes the older HD 5870.

3D Mark Vantage

Going back to the DX10 based Vantage provides an interesting result in terms of testing a well known and well optimized application.  The performance preset was used yet again.

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The combination of a few frames faster than the HD 6950 in the first two tests as well as the PhysX bump in CPU 2 allows the 560 to stand above the AMD card in this particular test.

June 12, 2011 | 06:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

this review lacks substance , compairing only a few cards against the MSI card does not give the reader the ability to make a choice if considering buying this card . Like how does it stack up against a standard 560TI ? Or how does it do against older cards . Thats why I never bother much reading the Reviews at PcPer .

June 12, 2011 | 01:53 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

There are some advantages and disadvantages for having a whole slew of video cards for comparison, unfortunately the disadvantages start to overwhelm the advantages once the amount of cards starts to increase. The primary issues that we face are that of time, DirectX level, and changes in performance due to driver adjustments and patches to individual applications. As a reviewer I already spend about 20 to 40 hours on a single review, depending on what product it is.

Benchmarking the cards we have takes up most that time. You are probably thinking, "Why not just leave your setup the same so the numbers and driver revisions match?" Some publications do this, unfortunately we have seen some significant advances in performance due to software optimizations that have changed the competitive landscape between manufacturers. A good example of this are some of the latest Catalyst driver revisions which made products like the HD 6950, which upon introduction was slower than products like the GTX 480, suddenly wake up and outperform that card.

So as a balance, I try to pick and choose the competition for any one card based on what I have available, what price points we are looking at, and what seems to have a lot of interest from our readership (via email and forum posts). I also try to make sure they share the same level of DX compliance. Sure, it would be interesting to see how a GTX 285 would compare against a 560 Ti, but then we see an increase in workload to make sure we match up the DirectX settings... which in most cases would disable things like tessellation in the games that utilize it, or optimized DX11 pathways such as in BF:BC2. There just is not a good way to go about this in a timely manner, and things get messy quickly. Btw, a GTX 285 is slower than a GTX 460, while a standard GTX 560 Ti is about 20% faster than the 460... and the MSI 560Ti here is about 7% faster than a stock clocked 560Ti.

We try to cover as best we can the majority of bases, but oftentimes things get left out due to time constraints on our part.  Keeping a good balance in reviews is hard, and invariably someone is disappointed in our coverage of a product.

June 14, 2011 | 05:33 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I can understand your point but if Reviews at PcPer are going to compete with other major players on the web then Your going to have to adapt and add more hardware to compair with the hardware your reviewing. Just look at any of the other major players reviews and you will soon see that Your view point needs to change if if Your ever going to compete with these sites and bring PcPer review up to a top notch site.

June 15, 2011 | 10:11 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

As a counterpoint to that, if I offer the same type of review as "the big guys" what do I have that differentiates my writing from theirs? Personally when I go to Tom and Anand's, and am greeted by graphs that span 20 products, a lot gets skipped over. It really seems like a lot of noise to me, and I know I am not the only one who pays attention for the first couple of graphs... but then just skip over most of the rest. Unlike reviews like HardOCP, who only bench a couple of cards... but bench them very thoroughly and have some really tremendous insights into actual performance in realworld situations.

I try to take a middle approach to those, and offer a good selection of competing products, yet not overwhelming the reader with so much data that the true advantages and disadvantages of a card are lost because of the sheer amount of data being thrown at the reader.

October 12, 2011 | 10:54 PM - Posted by Mark Harry (not verified)

Anonymous can always go elsewhere to get his headache, I love Tom's and Anand, but overload comes to mind. You guys answered every question about this product and I think I'm buying it since I only have 10.5 inches of space. By the way I'm watching Ryan's stream crash live on TWIT, love you guys.

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