[TEST] MSI R5770 Hawk Overclocking and GPU V-Check Point Test

MSI R5770 Hawk

MSI R5770 Hawk tested @ Geeks3D.com

Test summary:

1 – R5770 Hawk Overview

MSI’s R5770 Hawk is a factory overclocked graphics card: the GPU (Juniper) is clocked at 875MHz (reference board = 850MHz) while the memory keeps the reference clock (1200MHz).

R5770 Hawk official page with complete description and specifications can be found HERE.

MSI R5770 Hawk

MSI R5770 Hawk

MSI R5770 Hawk - memory chip detail
Memory chip detail

MSI R5770 Hawk

MSI has done a very good job on the VGA cooler part. The Twin Frozr II is able to chill the GPU very efficiently with an extremely low noise even under heavy load! My ears are very sensitive and even a Zalman VF1000 VGA cooler is too noisy for me. But I can work without any problem near the R5770 Hawk. Nice job!

2 – R5770 Hawk V-Check Points

One interesting feature of MSI’s cards (Hawk and Lightning series) is the presence of built-in voltage measurement points called V-Check points. There are two V-Check points: one for the GPU and one for the memory. Since MSI didn’t send me the additional cables to connect a multimeter to the card, I used very small clips connected in the back face of the PCB. Fortunately V-Check points connexions are enough long on the back face to allow this kind of hack:

MSI R5770 Hawk - GPU V-Check point
GPU V-Check point

MSI R5770 Hawk - GPU V-Check point detail
GPU V-Check point detail

MSI R5770 Hawk - Memory V-Check point detail
Memory V-Check point detail

With MSI Afterburner, you can modify the GPU voltage (GPU voltage control is disabled by default). Depending on your GPU overclocking, you must modify the GPU voltage to ensure a stable work of your graphics card. To reach the max GPU clock you have to increase the GPU voltage to the max…

MSI Afterburner - Voltage control

Okay, let’s see what a multimeter says when it’s connected to the GPU v-check point of the R5770 Hawk.

In idle mode, the GPU core voltage is 0.959V:

MSI R5770 Hawk - GPU V-Check point

Under heavy load with MSI Kombustor (1920×1024 fullscreen), the GPU voltage automatically reaches 1.231V:

MSI R5770 Hawk - GPU V-Check point

MSI Afterburner voltage monitoring

As you can see, Afterburner does not display the exact value of the GPU voltage: there is a difference of around 0.02V (0.031V in the picture). Small difference but for some overclockers it’s important.

The GPU voltage is adjusted depending on the required graphics load. For example with Kombustor in 1024×768 windowed mode, the GPU voltage is set to 1.226V:

MSI R5770 Hawk - GPU V-Check point

On the other hand, memory voltage does not vary and is always around of 1.610V:

MSI R5770 Hawk - Memory V-Check point

3 – R5770 Hawk Overclocking

To overclock the R5770 Hawk, I used the same method I described in this tutorial. But this time, instead of using FurMark and RivaTuner, I used MSI’s overclocking tools: Afterburner and Kombustor. Afterburner is a customized version of RivaTUner and Kombustor is a customized version of FurMark.

You can download Afterburner and Kombustor in the same Zip archive HERE @ MSI.

The R5770 does not display nice artifacts like the GeForce GTS 250. When clock limits are reached, either the system freezes or the full screen (the desktop) displays artifacts (flicking image). For example I got this screen when memory clock was a little bit too high:

MSI R5770 Hawk - Memory artifact
MSI R5770 Hawk – zoom on a memory artifact…

Hum… looks like the GSoD… 😉

Here is the GPU Caps Viewer screenshot of the Hawk with default clocks:

MSI R5770 Hawk - GPU Caps Viewer

Here is the bench test configuration:
– CPU: Intel Core 2 Extreme X9650 @ 3GHz
– Mobo: MSI P45D3 Platinium
– Windows 7 64-bit
– RAM: Patriot Sector 5 2x2GB DDR3 1333MHz – default clocks
– PSU: Antec TruePower Quattro 850W

In idle mode, the total power consumption of the system is 100W.

To measure overclocking gains, I did two benchmarks with Kombustor:
1 – 1024×768, windowed mode, 60 sec, no MSAA.
2 – 1920×1080, fullscreen, 60 sec, no MSAA.

With R5770 Hawk default clocks, here are the results:
1 – 1024×768: 3026 points
2 – 1920×1080: 1503 point

With default clocks, the total power consumption of the system is 200W (1920×1080 fullscreen).

After overclocking tests, I found these stable overclocking settings:
– GPU core: 960 MHz (+ 85MHz)
– Memory: 1370 MHz (+ 170MHz)

With overcloking settings, the power consumption is 210W (1920×1080 fullscreen).

Considering a PSU factor of 0.8, the power consumption of an overclocked R5770 Hawk is around:

(210 – 100) * 0.8 = 88W

According the TDP database, we are below the TDP of a Radeon HD 5770: 108W.

I ran Kombustor in stability test mode during 24 min with these settings without problem:

MSI R5770 Hawk - Kombustor

MSI R5770 Hawk - Kombustor - stable oc settings

The temperature is stabilized at 69°C which is really nice.

Actually the temperature evolution is not natural: the curve is not a normal exponential function. We can easily see that something clamps the temperature at 69°C. The following image shows the temperature graph with default clocks:

MSI R5770 Hawk - Kombustor

And even with overclocked clocks, the temperature doesn’t exceed 69°C. I think this is the hardware VRM monitor that does its job (see HERE for more details).

And what about Kombutor scores with these OC settings ?

1 – 1024×768: 3312 pointsgain: +10%
2 – 1920×1080: 1637 pointgain: +9%

Considering that MSI’s R5770 is already factory overcloked, this is a nice gain in performance.

970MHz is the max clock you can have with a GPU voltage of 1.2V. For example, W1zzard (techPowerUp) reached 980MHz with 1.25V, and 1020MHz with 1.35V. Guru3D has reached 1050MHz with 1.3V. But all these settings are depending on the 3D test used to validate the overclocking. Kombustor, like FurMark, is very GPU demanding and is also graphics memory demanding. So with Kombustor is quite hard to reach the same OC settings than TPU or Guru3D. Another factor to take into account is the R5770 Hawk sample. Maybe the sample I have is not the best R5770 sample and its max clocks are limited.

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