Reviews  

MSI R5770 Hawk

Nikhil Pradhan 2010-06-04
78 Good
Price: Rs 11,000

Full Review

The MSI R5770 Hawk is MSI’s take on the ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics card. The MSI boasts of a Twin Frozr II Thermal Design that incorporates two fans embedded over a heatsink and is supposed to keep temperatures down. Let’s see how the MSI performs.

Features & Design

The MSI sticks to the palette set by the reference ATI card in terms of DirectX 11 and Eyefinity support. It has 1GB of DDR5 memory, 800 shaders and a 128-bit memory interface. It deviates slightly from the reference numbers with a core clock speed of 875MHz as compared to 850MHz. As a result, the MSI’s texture fillrate is up from 34.0 GTexel/s to 35.0 GTexel/s. Display connectivity is well taken care of as the card has a Display Port, an HDMI port and a DVI port. To function, the card also needs a six pin connector plugged in from the PSU.

In spite of the slightly higher core clock speed, I didn’t notice any noticeable performance difference between ATI’s reference model and the MSI.


The card bundle also includes a CD with MSI utilities including drivers and Afterburner, MSI’s overclocking utility, a VGA to DVI adaptor and Molex to PCI-E connectors.

Design-wise, the MSI looks quite different from the ATI reference card. As mentioned above, it has twin fans and an aluminum heatsink. There are also three heatpipes that emerge from the heatsink. MSI claims that they have used “military grade” components including a Highly-Conductive Capacitor, a Solid Capacitor and a Solid State Choke. Overall, the MSI has an above average design and runs very quietly.

Performance


In spite of the slightly higher clock speed, I didn’t notice any noticeable performance difference between ATI’s reference model and the MSI. It scored 16,473 in the 3D Mark ’06 and 6,193 in 3D Mark Vantage’s High preset. In games too, there wasn’t much of a difference to speak of. In Crysis at 1680x1050, 8xAA and Very High settings, the MSI managed 24fps. In Far Cry 2, at the same resolution and AA and at Ultra High settings, it scored 38fps. In Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., at the same resolution and AA and with all other settings at maximum, the R5770 Hawk scored 44fps.

One thing that I found disappointing was that contrary to MSI’s claims, the R5770 constantly ran hotter than the reference ATI HD 5770. At idle, the lowest temperature that the MSI recorded was 49°C and at full load, that number rose to 66°C. In comparison, the reference ATI card scored 47°C and 56°C. The MSI’s temperature figures might not be high, but I still expected the numbers to be lower than what the reference card gave me.

Bottom Line

The MSI R5770 Hawk is priced at Rs. 11,000 (exclusive of taxes). It sports a good design and its components are of better than average quality. Its performance figures are also very good, but since most other Radeon HD 5770 cards in the market are now priced within the Rs. 10,000 mark, it becomes hard to recommend the MSI card. Don’t get me wrong; the MSI is a good card and you wouldn’t go wrong if you buy it. It’s just that at that price, I felt the MSI could have performed better.

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