Card Layout and Photos
At first glance one might think that the GTX 760 Hawk is just a yellow themed GTX 760 TwinFrozr from the outside appearance. It isn’t really until you look a little close that you see Hawk branding on the card at all actually. You will find the stealth F17 and the Hawk logo on the centers of the two fans. If you look even closer though you will catch that the PCB itself says Hawk on it, obviously MSI has done a little bit more to this card than just toss on a little yellow. They went with a custom PCB design that is considerably longer than the reference design in order for them to be able to slip in two additional PWM phases. The longer PCB also helps the GTX 760 Hawk support the length of the TwinFrozr IV cooler. Speaking of the TwinFrozr cooling, MSI is using their Propeller Blade Technology that provided 20% more airflow than a traditional fan design of the same size. They also sport their dust removal technology that spins the fans in reverse on bootup to kick off any dust or in my case cat hair that may have collected.
Because it is one of the only parts of the card that you will actually see when it is installed in your case, the top edge of the GTX 760 Hawk does have a MSI logo on the fan shroud. It would be nice if there was also a GTX 760 Hawk badge though to really show off the card.
The TwinFrozr cooling on the GTX 760 Hawk is sporting a total of five heatpipes to pull the heat from the GPU and out onto the cards heatsink. Four of the five heatpipes are on the bottom while the last heatpipe on the top that goes out to the cards farthest point is much thicker than the others. The nickel-plated finish on each heatpipe really gives the card a great look when you can see them, especially from the bottom. It’s a shame that hardly anyone will see them once the card is installed in a PC. MSI used a bracket from the PCI slot cover all the way to the backplate to give the card even more strength, this same design was used on the GTX 780 Gaming as well.
One of the cards key overclocking features are the three voltage check points on the end of the card. As you may have seen in the packaging section MSI included small adapters that plug into these headers to make it easier to plug your multi-meter prongs into while adjusting your overclock. You can also see here that the fan shroud design is open on the end of the card meaning some of the heat generated by the card will vent into your case. This isn’t a big deal in most cases but if your case struggles with heat already you may want to keep it in mind.
Although MSI calls the backplate a second heatsink, in my book it is a typical backplate like we have seen on a few cards in the past. I really wish we saw backplates on more cards because not only do they strengthen the card but they also protect the PCB from damage when you are handling it and even in your computer. The only downside is a backplate like this also cuts into the space between two cards if for some reason you are forced to run two cards up against each other rather than spacing them out at all. Another feature here on the back of the card is the dual BIOS switch that MSI included for overclockers to be able to switch between a normal over from a normal BIOS to their LN2 BIOS for example.
The MSI GTX 760 Hawk has the same two SLI bridge connections that the other GTX 760’s also have. That means you can run them in triple SLI if you decide that two in SLI isn’t enough for your needs.
All you have to do is look at the two 8-pin power connections to know that MSI means business with the Hawk. The reference card has two 6-pin connections and the two other overclocked cards that I have covered sport an 8-pin/6-pin combination.
The MSI GTX 760 Hawk has all of the same connections that we saw on other GTX 760’s. You get a full sized DisplayPort, a full sized HDMI, and two DVI connections. There is a good amount of ventilation on the PCI cover as well including a small bit in between the HDMI and DVI ports.