MSI GeForce GTX 460 1GB Hawk Review
With so much fuss being made lately about the high end GPU range, many seem to have forgotten the value a sub-$200 graphics card can bring to the table. NVIDIAís GTX 460 and AMDís HD 6800 series have proven time and again that an ultra high end card isnít necessarily needed to play todayís most popular games. This has led these two product lines to become the de facto leaders in the price / performance battle in the latter half of 2010. Meanwhile, the introduction of the GTX 560 Ti has had a profound effect on both cardsí prices and the GTX 460 can now be found for well under $200. Man may think this is an odd time to be reviewing a GTX 460 card but when you factor in these new prices, these slightly older cards are still highly desirable.
With the release of the GTX 460 SE, NVIDIA has continued to plug perceived holes in their lineup regardless of if there were any or not. This has led to a supposedly drastic increase in GTX 460 1GB sales as prices have fallen and board partners have scrambled to feed the market with new and interesting cards. AMDís board partners have also increased their pressure with their own custom HD 6870 and HD 6850 cards.
One way to captivate the publicís interest and money has always been to introduce cards which divert from the reference design and specifications. Many have done this with varying degrees of success but MSIís Lightning and Hawk series of cards tend to stand out as quite unique. Their GTX 460 1GB Hawk is the card we will be looking at today.
Unlike some other manufacturers, MSI sees fit to completely redesign their non-reference cards from the ground up before hitting them with higher clock speeds and a custom cooler. The Hawk continues this tradition but at a surprisingly low price point. At a mere $190 before rebates, it barely costs more than a reference GTX 460 1GB and yet is equipped with a laundry list of features alongside the aforementioned speed increase.
Amazingly, MSI has aimed for price / performance leadership with their Hawk series and when taken at face value this card does indeed have a lot going for it. There are however several competitors knocking at the door so letís see if it can leverage its features to really break from the usual mold.
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