MSI r5770 Hawk (Updated!! S1 R2 installed, OC graphs)

They make noise, too.

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MSI r5770 Hawk (Updated!! S1 R2 installed, OC graphs)

Post by silentplummet » Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:43 am

!!!WARNING!!! The S1 R2 requires modifications to be installed on the r5770 Hawk, see below and please ensure proper contact between the thermal surfaces!

In part by the recommendation of another SPCR forumer, I picked up an MSI r5770 Hawk to replace a Powercolor 5750 Go! Green (passively cooled) which would not run stable at stock frequencies in my system. I am pleased to say that this very high-quality card is 'quiet enough' provided you keep the fan speed set to less than 20-25%.

I do not have the hardware or environment to provide objective measurements but let me describe where my judgment of 'quiet enough' comes from:

- I am an amateur musician with bat ears and experience engineering recordings
- I live out in the country in an otherwise silent room

- System specs:
4x blend of noctua and nexus fans running <800 rpm
4x Samsung EcoGreen 500 GB HDD (the ones reviewed on SPCR at ~15 dB)
Intel C2D E8400 (3.2 GHz/1.04V; <39/58C core temps idle/Prime95 passively cooled)
Seasonic x650 Gold (passive; fan never turns on in my system)
Antec P-183 (~25C ambient)

My system is quiet enough to be only barely audible over the blood rushing through my ears in my silent room. It's so quiet that I can hear my watch ticking from a meter away and my keystrokes become excruciating if I don't put my headphones on, which is exactly the way I like it. The MSI card, AT IDLE, makes no noticeable contribution to noise at fan speeds below 20%. However, by default the fan auto-speed settings bottom out at around 35% which is quite audible. You must modify the settings in software to silence the card completely.

In my case, the card idles at around 48C (ambient +23C) with 15% fan, and maxes at 65C (per my settings) with fan speeds of 45%-60% depending on load.

However, in my estimation the electrical performance of this card greatly exceeds the thermal performance of the manufacturer provided cooler. The card easily achieves 950 MHz core clock at or near stock voltage (reference freq for 5770 is 850). I currently run the card at 950/1.18V which is at least 12-hour stable in Furmark. However, at 100% load the fans scream to keep the core temp below 65C . I don't like things getting much hotter than this, and I am too afraid to run on this stock cooler with the voltage bumped any higher, although I did briefly test at 1 GHz /1.25v (!!!). I estimate it would probably go to 1.05 GHz with the right cooling, to achieve nearly 25% increase over stock.

So I am considering aftermarket cooling solutions to improve thermal performance with the aim of lowering noise under load conditions and possibly increasing overclock performance. Because the card is not the reference design, there are many questions. I will be updating this thread as I discover the answers:

1. Are the mounting holes the same as 5770 reference?

If not exactly the same, they are close enough.

2. Will the Accelero S1 R2 or Scythe Musashi fit on this card?



The S1 R2 fits on this card with no clearance issues whatsoever. It fits so well it's a shame there isn't a double DVI post on this card :( However, I did run into two issues during installation that required modification to the cooler's mount.

As you can see from the picture, I installed ramsinks on the chip-side of the card. The black plastic shroud on the S1's mount overhangs the ram on this card just a little bit, and if you install ramsinks there, will need to be trimmed away with your implement of choice.


The second problem you will have is much more annoying. It has to do with the boneheaded system of mounting the cooler. These plastic spacers are required to keep the metal "feet" of the cooler mount from contacting the card. Unfortunately, the spacers are too tall and prevent the thermal surface from contacting the GPU! They need to be trimmed down about a millimeter. I trimmed them using a razor blade and needle-nose pliers, and then sanded them down for smoothness.

In the process of ensuring solid contact, I had to trim the spacers and re-mount about 4 times. (I have used Arctic Silver's Ceramique due to its thickness, non-conductivity, and favorable thermal transfer characteristics above 50C compared to MX-2.) You would expect, as I did, that these spacers would be made of a flexible material like silicone, but in fact they are hard plastic. I don't know why Arctic Cooling would design it this way, but it limits the compatibility of the S1. This may be a reason the 5770 isn't listed as compatible.

Ultimately, I was able to achieve a good fit. After a day of playing around with Afterburner and observing thermals, I have arrived at 980MHz/1.214 V which causes the GPU to hit 61C under load (around 65C in furmark). I was able to achieve a stable RAM overclock of 1320 MHz with the addition of the ramsinks. For a silent cooling solution, I have to say these numbers exceeded my expectations. I briefly tested it as far as 1030 MHz/1.3 V, which hit 72C load. This is a phenomenal overclock for a video card.

Ambient temp in my case at the time of testing was 25 C. GPU idle temps are around 38C.

The whole rig fits beautifully in my P-183; I have mounted a noctua @ 780 RPM on the middle drive bay, which blows intake air directly over the S1. This may be contributing to its fantastic performance. Next week I will experiment with direct-mounting a PWM fan on the S1, but when the passive performance is already so good, I almost don't feel like bothering.

Here is a chart relating GPU core voltage to clock speed on this card. These speeds are stable with no artifacting or fishyness in the atitool artifact scanner (judged by my eyes, not by the scanner, which doesn't always catch everything.)


Code: Select all

GPU Core (MHz)Vddc (V)	ΔT ℃	Ambient	Core ℃
	660				 1.000			
	790				 1.000	31		23		54
	825				 1.037	32		23		55
	850				 1.065	34		23		57  (reference 5770 freq)
	875				 1.100	35		23		58  (stock freq)
	900				 1.125	35		23		58  (reference voltage?)
	925				 1.149	37		23		60
	950				 1.174	38		23		61
	975				 1.214	40		23		63
	1000				1.275	47		23		70
	1010				1.312	49		24		73
	1015				1.350	52		24		76
As you can see, between the range of 875 - 975 MHz, maximum stable core frequency approaches 1:1 parity with core voltage (1 MHz per 0.001 V). Efficiency is rapidly lost above 975 MHz; the point of diminishing returns is somewhere just below 1 GHz.

On the bottom end, MSI Afterburner does not allow the voltage to be set below 1.000V, so undervolters will have little cause to set the card below 790 MHz, the maximum stable frequency at that voltage.

The cooling performance of the S1 R2 holds up well in completely passive configuration, keeping the core temps under 65 right up until about 980 MHz/1.225V and achieving a cooling efficiency of just over 40C above ambient.

3. In case I go with the Accelero, what is a good quiet PWM fan suitable for use on GPU coolers?

I'm looking at the Scythe KAMA Quiet 120mm PWM Cooling Fan but I can't seem to find many reviews of PWM fans here on SPCR.

4. Are PWM case fan headers electrically compatible with the VGA card PWM fan header?

According to a post below, they are indeed compatible. I may or may not experiment with a quiet PWM fan, but the passive performance of my setup is already so good there's not much point.

If anyone can provide answers to the above questions, your effort will be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by silentplummet on Mon Mar 29, 2010 6:21 am, edited 9 times in total.

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Post by Casezilla » Tue Mar 23, 2010 7:08 pm

Thanks for the review. I'm looking for a 5770 to pickup and was leaning toward the Hawk after reading this review: ... ndex11.php (translated: ... ndex11.php ). I was debating between the Hawk and the Sapphire Vapor-X, but after your post it looks like the Hawk is the way to go. Even though it is a bit more expensive than most of the other 5770s, it seems the least likely to need a 3rd party heatsink/fan to run at acceptable noise levels, which negates any saving on the cheaper cards. Also, since the GPU is moved farther away from the connectors than the reference design, and since there's no double stacked DVI ports, it seems like the Hawk is more compatible with third party cooling options as well.

I have a couple of questions: Is MSI Afterburner what's used to adjust the fan speeds to keep the card quiet? If so, have you run into any problems using Afterburner and Catalyst Control Center? I read somewhere that CCC was spewing error messages after using Afterburner. Also, does the card come factory overclocked? If so, can it be clocked back down to stock easily?

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Post by silentplummet » Wed Mar 24, 2010 4:52 am

1. I use MSI Afterburner to control the fans/clocks/voltages. I understand that the program is based on RivaTuner. It is a simple program with no frills that does exactly what you intend it to and no more. It works very well. I was particularly impressed by the fan control page, which allows you to set an arbitrary number of points on a temperature/fan speed graph. It is also capable of graphing and logging various data about the card in realtime. It is much nicer than say GPU-Z in this regard as you can mouseover the graph and see readouts of the actual data point and timestamp.

So all in all Afterburner is a great little utility for what it does. I use it and the Atitool artifact scanning mode to optimize voltage for a given clock speed.

2. At first I had an issue which may have involved CCC (left over from when I had my Powercolor installed). While I could set the voltage in Afterburner, the actual operational core voltage was not being altered. I confirmed this using the V-check points and a voltmeter. When I uninstalled all ati-related software (including CCC) and then reinstalled just the drivers and Afterburner, voltage adjustment worked properly.

I can't say with certainty that CCC was the problem but it may have been related. At any rate, I have found no use for CCC so it is not installed on my machine at the moment.

3. The card comes factory overclocked to 875, from 850 reference. It is a very simple matter to set the clock from anything you want in the range of about 700 - 1300 (although you will find ~1040-1060 is the realistic upper limit on these cards without liquid nitrogen :roll: )

Voltage:clock ratio scales very well on the lower end. Lowering the clock a few MHz will allow you to achieve a very satisfying undervolt if minimizing heat/noise is your goal. At any rate the card automatically reduces its clock/voltage at idle so there is no issue with noise unless you are gaming.

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Post by maf718 » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:52 am

4. Are PWM case fan headers electrically compatible with the VGA card PWM fan header?
Yes, see this thread: viewtopic.php?p=471363&sid=f2d04f529b45 ... abc97bc01a

Also some of the aftermarket coolers like AC twin turbo come with PWM fans.

Just make sure to double check the pins are wired in the same order on the old fan as the new one.
Assuming ordinary PWM case fans are electrically compatible with VGA card PWM header, where do I find the connector for this? I could just chop the one off the manufacturer cooler but for obvious reasons I'd prefer to avoid this.
Sometimes you can simply pull off the plastic shroud/clip around the fan connector pins on the VGA card, using needle-nose pliers, and an ordinary fan connector can be pushed onto the pins because their spacing is the same. At least I have done this on graphics cards with 2/3 pin connectors, it should be possible to do same with 4-pin PWM style. Totally reversible if you want to go back to the old cooler.

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Post by silentplummet » Sun Apr 11, 2010 8:16 am

Just a quick update. My Arctic Cooling F12 Pro PWM fan arrived the other day. I discovered a few things:

The VGA PWM fan header indeed appears to be electrically compatible with these fans, allowing the card to automatically control the speed. However, the wiring color is a little different so I had to do a little research and guesswork. The standard color appears to be:

1. Ground Black
2. Sense Green
3. 12V Yellow
4. Control (PWM) Blue

My fan had a yellow sense wire (deduced from the fact it was separate from the other three) and a red 12V wire (common sense, right? the red wire's gotta be the hotwire!). Splicing these into the VGA connector from the original cooler of the card allowed direct operation of the 12 cm PWM fan by the VGA card.

However, the acoustic performance of this fan was not acceptable. It is a moderately quiet fan, much better than the original cooler, but even at low RPMs it is plagued by a god-awful chuffing sound. Additionally, it seemed to blow air every which way inside my case, rather than a nice directed airflow down through the fins of the cooler.

This resulted in only modest gains in thermal improvement. The load temperatures were reduced around 5C in most cases, and the additional cooling of the VRMs allowed a general reduction in stable voltages of around .01-.02 V.

TL;DR: The setup is indeed improved by a 12 cm fan on the S1 R2, but the PWM fan I tried sucks, who knows of a decent, SPCR-quiet PWM type fan?

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Post by Kilgore » Mon May 31, 2010 12:48 pm

How's your card so far? I'm planning on purchasing the Hawk and plan to install the Acc. S1 R2 following your provision above.

Did you find a pwm fan for it or are you still using it passively?

A good 120mm pwm fan that SCPR recommends is the Scythe Kama PWM: ... l#KAMA-PWM

Although I don't know how well it will hold up over time in a horizontal position since it is a sleeved-bearing.

Here's a thread I found discussing recommendations for 120mm PWM fans in a horizontal position.

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Post by silentplummet » Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:22 am

Thanks for reading.

My card is still plugging away in a passive configuration. I have it folding proteins for Folding@home 24/7 when I'm not gaming on it. I ended up reducing the core clock and voltage to 850/1.075v, and it sits at 61C under 24/7 100% load conditions.

For a silent/passive configuration I really think this is the best you can do at the moment, short of watercooling which I'm not extreme enough to mess around with. However I need to stress the importance of a properly ventilated case for pure passive operation. The P-183 is ideal for this card/cooler since you can mount a fan to the case to blow intake air almost directly over it, and the other components are completely isolated from the main chamber. In fact I have both my GPU and CPU (C2D 3.1 GHz) on passive cooling only. But any less case ventilation, or any more heat from components like HDD/PSU, and I fear passive cooling would not be an option.

I do think performance could be improved with more careful mounting/TM application, or a silent-ish PWM fan, but my configuration right now works for me and I don't feel like messing with it. If you should go this route please post your results for us to see! Good luck.

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Post by MiKeLezZ » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:50 pm

Hi, good job. How many PCI slots does require the combo HD5770+Accelero S1 ?

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Post by TokyoBrit » Sun Jun 27, 2010 6:43 pm

The Accelero S1 R2 uses 2 slots on it's own without a fan. Mounted to the 5770 you might be lucky and end up with a 3-slot graphics subsystem, but no fan, or a 4-slot if you fit a thin 25mm Scythe or Nexus.

This pic shows it quite well:

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