ATI Radeon HD 5770 Duel - MSI vs. PowerColor

The Cards

MSI R5770 Hawk 1GB GDDR5

The MSI R5770 Hawk uses the familiar Twin Frozr II cooler that is also being employed on their Lightning series of graphics cards.

The MSI R5770 Hawk sports a DisplayPort as well as DVI and HDMI ports.

The Twin Frozr II cooler is an amalgam of thick heat pipes and cooling fins.

Enthusiasts who are familiar with MSI's high-end stuff will be no stranger to the MSI R5770 Hawk. MSI has taken all the winning elements from the Lightning series, which has seen great success in the overclocking arena, and applied it here on their latest ATI-based graphics card. This means goodies such as a 7+1 phase power design and corresponding PWM controller for better power delivery, and military-class components which includes tantalum core Hi-c Cap highly-conductive polymerized capacitors and solid state chokes. Also, let's not forget the Twin Frozr II cooler, which is designed with a nickel-plated copper base, a high-density heatsink, multiple heat pipes and dual fans for quicker heat dissipation.

Not only that, the R5770 Hawk is backed up by MSI's very popular Afterburner overclocking software, which supports a wide range of both ATI and NVIDIA cards, but more importantly, allows you to tweak the card's core voltage control.

Despite the rich feature set of the card, MSI has strangely chosen to bestow the R5770 Hawk with core clock speeds of 875MHz and memory clock speeds of 4800MHz DDR. This means the card gets only a 25MHz bump on the core clock speeds when compared to a reference Radeon HD 5770, which is too conservative for our liking.


PowerColor HD 5770 PCS+ 1GB GDDR5

In the past, PowerColor's PCS+ series of card employed coolers designed by ZEROtherm, this one however is devoid of ZEROtherm logos, leading us to believe it was an in-house job.

The PowerColor HD 5770 PCS+ offers the same ports as its MSI rival, but has an additional DVI port.

Nothing fancy about the PCS+ cooler here. Just a huge fan on what seems to be a soundly designed heatsink.

On paper, the PowerColor HD 5770 PCS+ looks decided primitive when compared to the MSI R5770 Hawk. Without the fancy highly-conductive capacitors or solid state chokes that are found on the MSI R5770 Hawk, the PowerColor HD 5770 PCS+t makes do with a simple but solidly designed custom cooler. The cooler resembles the one we've seen on the PowerColor HD 5670 PCS+, albeit much bigger in size.

As for clock speeds, the PowerColor one-ups the MSI by running 875MHz at the core and 4900MHz DDR at the memory. The 100MHz DDR bump on the memory should allow the PowerColor card to edge ahead of the MSI card during our benchmarking tests.

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