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MSI GTX460 HAWK Talon Attack Vs Powercolor HD5770 CrossFireX

The whole point of a Stealth Attack Weapon is that the opposition doesn’t see it until it’s far too late. No tell-tale plumes from the runway monitors, no early warning detection from the satellites and no incoming sound as the missile delivers its deadly payload.

By and large, the first indication of an enemy stealth attack is the phone ringing off the wall when an outsider tries to make contact, only to find that the entire base – and everyone on it – is already dead. These Talon Attacks are deadly in just that way.

It is a common misconception that you need to spend £400 on a new GFX to game at high resolution. Roll the clock back a decade and that might have beeen true, but today’s middleweights pack a hell of a punch.

Around the £200 mark ($300 inc taxes) you can purchase a weapon’s grade graphic card that will power its way through any engine at 1920×1200… even with AA and all of the other IQ settings cranked to the hilt.  It’s time to behave like a fat kid locked in a sweet store overnight.

Today’s KitGuru challenge saw the most popular soldiers from each unit come to blows. Cranked to the max, they offered a blistering gaming experience for enthusiasts without damaging your wallet, ears or electricity bill.

nVidia’s initial GTX460 cards blew us away when they launched. Now that chips have been cherry-picked, coolers improved and PCB designs perfected, we’re seeing something amazing. No doubt, MSI has made the market very tricky for the upcoming AMD Radeon 6000 series cards. Could the GTX460 really be enough to keep nVidia in the hearts and minds of hardcore gamers through Christmas and onto 2011?  We can’t wait until the new AMD cards get in the ring – can they withstand the TALON ATTACK ?

The single slot PowerColor HD5770’s are fantastic cards which deserve serious consideration, especially if you are looking for a cool running gaming and media system within a confined chassis. Just be aware that under heavy load they can generate a fair amount of noise as the fans work hard to push hot air away from the PCB. Sadly, due to the cooler design, the cards don’t force this air outside the chassis either, so a reasonably capable cooling system would already need to be in place to deal with ambient heat from two boards.

On a performance level the HD5770’s never fail to impress and we still think that buying one of these then adding to it later is a very cost effective way to ensure that your system remains future proofed. Unfortunately with the new AMD 6 series cards due for release they may need to undergo a price drop to remain competitive. £130 for one of these cards right now doesn’t seem quite as appealing as it did a few months ago. To win in this review, they would need to be less than £99 each inc vat – thats a tall order.

The PowerColor cards are retailing for around £125 inc vat each, meaning a single slot Crossfire graphics configuration is yours for £250.

The MSI GTX460 HAWK ‘Talon Attack’ Edition is easily the best GTX460 card we have tested, which came as somewhat of a shock to us, especially as we expected the eVGA GTX460 ‘FTW’ to hold the Number 1 mantle for a while. Already, within a week, the honours have changed hands.

In regards to performance, there is nothing to fault as this is the first GTX460 that we been able to overclock to 1ghz on the core, a monumental achievement and one that ensures it will sell extremely well.

Many people will be expecting this card to cost a lot more than a regular GTX460, but surprisingly OCUK are taking preorders for £199.99 inc vat which means that this card really should be the top of your list.

EDIT: We have found out today that the Talon Edition we reviewed was not the final version and while it featured the correct bios, the memory is not the same on the retail product, which would point to why our memory overclocks were not that impressive during our testing . You can therefore expect higher overclocks with the ‘final’ product.

Still not sure where to spend your hard-earned? Then let us introduce you to a brand new purchase advice tool – the KitGuru Challenge.

In the first part of the challenge, the competitors get in the ring at stock speeds – armed only with the power the factory gave them. Scores for physical tests, synthetic tests and real world gaming are presented in a simple WIN or LOSE table.

Then, we slap each challenger to the floor and fill ’em full of Monster-Turbo-Nutter-Red-Bull clocks to see which one will be the last man standing. We’re proud to present our first Challanger Charts for you today, bringing together PowerColor’s radeon HD 5770 CrossFireX solution against MSI’s GTX460 Talon Attack!

Radeon HD 5770 CrossFire edges out the Talon Attack 7-5 at stock speeds

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Crippling triple XXX result - small children should look away as the Talon Attacks.

When we look back at the review, the PowerColor HD5770 Crossfire configuration wins 7 out of 12 tests when both solutions are at reference clock speeds. When both are overclocked to the redline however, the results switch 9 to 3 in favour of the MSI GTX460 Hawk Talon Attack card.

Considering it is £50 less expensive that the HD5770’s while managing to remain quieter and cooler it wins our shootout today, by a considerable margin.

KitGuru says: MSI GTX460 HAWK Talon Attack Edition is surely going to take some time to knock off the mid range perch – if any of the upcoming AMD 6000 series mid range cards can match this performance for £200 then we will be pleasantly surprised.

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