Graphics Cards Guide

MSI R6870 Hawk (Radeon HD 6870) review

Exclusive: MSI R6870 Hawk - The Eagle Has Landed

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Overall rating 8.5/10
Effective cooler
Good overclocking performance
Conservative clock speeds
Card needs to be tweaked to unleash true potential
More Awards:
Most Overclockable Product

Test Setup & Results

Test Setup

To evaluate the MSI R6870 Hawk, we’ll be using our X58 setup with the following specifications:

  • Intel Core i7-975 (3.33GHz)
  • Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P motherboard
  • 3 x 1GB DDR3-1333 G.Skill memory in triple channel mode
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive
  • Windows 7 Ultimate

Since the basic performance of the Radeon HD 6870 SKU has been established in our original Radeon HD 6800 series article and we've also furthered that with a Radeon HD 6870 CrossFire performance article, we've decided to cutback on the number of tests for this card rather than running the usual suite of benchmarking tests.

Also, since the MSI R6870 Hawk is touted for its overclocking ability, we will also present results of the card running in the highest overclocking state that we could attain to see how much more performance you can squeeze out of it.

Hence, key comparisons here will be the R6870 Hawk in its highest overclocking state, its stock state, and of course, a reference Radeon HD 6870. We’ve also included results of the HIS HD 6870 Turbo, the last factory overclocked Radeon HD 6870 card we tested. Apart from raw performance, we are also interested to see how effective the custom cooler on the R6870 Hawk is.

The list of cards tested and their driver versions:

  • MSI R6870 Hawk 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 11.1)
  • HIS HD 6870 Turbo 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.10)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.12)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6850 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.12)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5870 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.9)
  • ATI Radeon HD 5850 1GB GDDR5 (Catalyst 10.9)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB GDRR5 (ForceWare 266.56)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 470 1280MB GDDR5 (ForceWare 263.09)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 (ForceWare 263.09)

The list of benchmark used are as follows:

  • Futuremark 3DMark Vantage
  • Futuremark 3DMark 11
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Far Cry 2
  • Battlefield Bad Company 2
  • Hawx 2



The following benchmarks had measurements taken only at the card's stock clocks:-