MSI, a large-scale manufacturer of computer hardware and consumer electronics, has introduced its new lineup of graphics cards, codenamed R7870 Hawk. The new series goes with the upgraded Radeon HD 7870 video adapter, improved integrated circuit and overclocking base. In addition, these graphics cards will go with the implemented GPU Reactor and Unlocked Digital Power technologies. Upon the whole, the introduced integration and performance is called to compete for the customers' favor with other high-end top models designed by Gigabyte and Asus.
Design and Layout
Design of R7870 Hawk somehow resembles a short-cut version of R7970 Lightning from MSI as well. It has similar design of cooling system covered with blue strip. The cover hides five heat pipes and rather compact fans. The rear part of the card is covered by a metallic plate; there is a plastic boot opposite the graphics chip that covers GPU Reactor block. This block is based on a separate detachable board and intended to heighten the stability during overclocking activity. GPU Reactor is lighted up while operation. The set of external sockets is represented by a single DVI, HDMI and a couple of mini-DisplayPort sockets. Such integration is considered to be standard for the cards of this series.
The cooling system is introduced by already applied product in other cards from MSI; it isn't noted for any improvements or upgrades. Hence, this series employs a massive radiator with five heat pipes and a couple of 80 mm fans. The only component which distinguishes this cooling system from other items is the employment of double ball-bearing that prolongs the lifetime of fans.
MSI Radeon HD 7870 supports dust removal technology. This technology was implemented only in R7970 Lightning, and no other graphics card of this manufacturer could boast its availability. But currently this technology is widely applied to Hawk series and operates the following way: the fans blow out the dust and other litter for some time and then starts working on blowing in.
All power system components, as well as memory microchip, are covered by plate-radiator which promotes for the card's durability and steadfastness. The plate that found its place on the reverse side of the board doesn't serve as a radiator.
Design of PCB differs dramatically from the reference model. The general number of power phases equals to 11, where the GPU voltage converter consists of eight phases, Vddci voltage stabilizer — of a single phase, and memory takes two phases. GPU power supply is based on ChiL CHL8225G controller. APS phase switching technology is realized on hardware level with this model line; all previous models required the installation of dedicated software for unimpeded work.
Graphics card MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk employs only high-quality components that correspond to Military Class III standard. Hi-c CAP capacitors go with tantalum cores, while capacitors with solid-state electrolyte Dark Solid CAP were previously implemented only in R7970 Lightning model. All capacitors have got nickel-plated coverage which serves a protective shield from external impact.
To continue, this graphics card accommodates BIOS switch which is located next to the power system. Alike other MSI graphics adapters, R7870 Hawk is equipped with an additional firmware. The second BIOS is optimized for the utmost overclocking at super-low temperatures. It lifts restrictions pertained to the current and capacity, and enlarges the range of available frequencies. Hence, the customer receives the access to the clock frequencies of up to 2000/8000 MHz, while the capacity limit is enlarged to 280W.
The nominal delivery kit of graphics card MSI R7870 Hawk consists of various guidelines, user manual, CD with software, a couple of power adapters from two molex 4-pin to PCI-E 6-pin, DVI/HDMI adapter, cable-adapter from mini-DisplayPort to DisplayPort, and three adapters for voltage measurement V-Check Points.