Conclusion: IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete.
Pros: Factory Overclocked to 1100MHz, GPU Reactor for more Current Volume and Less Ripple, Military Grade Components, Voltage Leads for VDDCI, GPU, and Memory, Outstanding Overclock Potential, CrossFire Support
Excerpt: I always feel like I start with this lately, but the MSI HAWK series is one of my favorite video card series on the market. It's not that every series is one of my favorites, but the three main performance series from MSI (Lightning, Power Edition and HAWK) are all standout options and do tower above those from other companies.
Summary: AMD did a good job with their Radeon HD 7870. MSI's HD 7870 HAWK builds on that foundation and tries to create an overclocker's SKU that provides maximum performance and overclocking potential.
Thanks to the 100 MHz overclock out of the box, the HD 7870 HAWK has a 5% performance advantage over the AMD reference design. This is a decent increase, yet I would have expected more from a card like this, as there is plenty of clock headroom available.
Pros: Good performance increase, Overclocked out of the box, Some additional OC headroom left, Quiet in idle, Easy access to voltage monitoring points, Dual BIOS, Native full-size HDMI output, Adds support for PCI-Express 3.0 and DirectX 11.1, Support for multiple independent audio streams
Cons: Noisy under load, Price too high to be competitive, Increased power consumption, GPU reactor eats into upper slot space, CCC Overdrive memory limits too low