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MSI N760 Hawk review: GeForce GTX 760 for overclocking

Comparison with four other GeForce GTX 760s.

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Introduction

Today MSI launched a new graphics card in its lauded Hawk series. The new Hawk is based on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 760, is overclocked and has the potential to go even faster.

MSI has two series of graphics cards aimed at overclockers. For the avid overclocker interested only in achieving the highest possible scores, there's the Lightning. It typically has the fastest GPU currently on the market, and comes with a hefty pricetag. For overclockers that can't spend as much money, there's the Hawk. It's built around a mid-range GPU, but is equipped with a custom PCB, OC features and a special cooler.

MSI N760 Hawk


That's indeed the formula for the new N760 Hawk. While it's based on the GeForce GTX 760, MSI took it further than we've seen before. Let's start with the PCB. MSI increased the number of power supply phases for the GPU to six, and two for the video memory. It's an 8-layer PCB, which should ensure optimal efficiency for how the power and signals are routed. Power is supplied by two 8-pin PEG connectors, which is different from the 6-pin PEG connectors on the standard GTX 760. The PCB supports triple overvoltage, which means that in the MSI Afterburner software you can change the voltages for the GPU, memory and PLL. You can measure the three voltages with a multimeter on from the three V-Check Points. They're equipped with practical connectors, so you can just plug in the cables from your multimeter. There's a small switch for changing between the two BIOS, one is standard and one is intended for use with sub-zero (LN2) cooling. The card features Military Class 4 components, including Hi-C capacitors and SFC chokes.

MSI N760 Hawk

MSI has overclocked the N760 Hawk. The standard GeForce GTX 760 has a GPU running at 980 MHz with a 1033 MHz Boost clock. The 2GB GDDR5 video memory is clocked at 1502 MHz. MSI increased the GPU clock frequency to 1111 MHz, and the Boost clock to 1176 MHz. The amount and speed of the video memory is the same as on the reference card.   

The card is equipped with a Twin Frozr cooler, and has the new, yellow  MSI color scheme used for products aimed at overclockers. The Hawk would look great with MSI's new Z87 MPower, MPower Max and XPower motherboards. The cooler is equipped with two 10 cm PWM fans. The heatsink has four 6 mm heatpipes and a single 8 mm one. MSI claims the cooler is significantly more efficient and silent than the stock cooler on the reference card.

MSI N760 Hawk

Along with the graphics card, the box contains a CD-ROM with drivers, a DVI-to-VGA adapter and a V-Check cable. You don't get any games. The recommended retail price will be around $ 269, slightly more than MSI's own N760 TF 2GD5/OC.


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