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GTX 460 MSI Hawk or Gigabyte SOC?

Hey guys, I previously had purchased a pair of Zotac GTX 460 video cards (1 GB edition) and they ran SUPER hot in my PC - pretty much I'd equate them to miniature GTX 480s without the power of two 480s...Ran Furmark in the low 90*C, ran most games at 80-85*C - so I RMA'ed those cards and am now considering an alternative. I want the cool quiet GTX 460 everyone has been talking about - but considering the cost I think I will just buy one GTX 460 for now and maybe pick another up later. I have narrowed it down to two versions with aftermarket cooler designs, but I'm uncertain which to pick.

Both have similar designs, the MSI Hawk has silver pipes whereas the Gigabyte SOC has copper pipes - for what difference that really makes. The Gigabyte SOC has a pretty decent overclock built in (815 MHz core, 1630 MHz shader) but is claimed to easily overclock stable and remain cool and is still claimed to run a basically silent 37 DBa under load with Furmark temps at about 65* C. The price for the Gigabyte SOC is $200 flat, which is a-okay by me. I bring the Hawk up because Newegg has lowered the price for awhile and combined with the rebate the Hawk is only $160 after rebates. Both are 1 GB editions, but the one review site didn't like the Hawk as much whereas they loved the Gigabyte SOC (Wasn't real clear on the reasoning - it just seemed that way from reading the conclusion). The MSI Hawk is slightly slower (780 MHz core, 1560 MHz shader) but I imagine would overclock decently as well. I do plan to overclock a bit to compensate a bit since I did have two 460's in SLI for awhile and want to at least outperfrom a stock GTX 470 (From what I've seen this is not too hard to do with OC)

Seriously though, I do NOT want heat or noise. If that means the extra $40 the Gigabyte SOC costs will make it quieter and cooler, it's worth all the difference in the world. I had two GTX 260 video cards in this same computer that regularly ran about 70-74*C when I would play games - reference design EVGA cards, they peaked at 82*C under Furmark I think. I am slightly curious - given the fan design of these two cards is it possible they would run hot and that I would be better off with a reference design? I do have a little sound card directly beneath the video card (And I can't relocate it - stupid capacitors on my motherboard block the other PCI slot for my sound card). My GTX 260 cards looked like this:

My Zotac seemed similar, but did have an idiot DVI plug blocking part of the exhaust (Stupid design choice IMO)

What do you guys think - will both of the above work and if so which would you go with given what I've mentioned? If not, should I just buy a reference design? I want the quietest and the coolest card. Appreciate the input, you guys helped me determine those Zotac cards I had were just rubbish design!
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  1. I can't speak for the Gigabyte card but I have a single MSI Hawk running at (850 core/ 2100 memory) on default voltage. The highest that I've seen it get up to running Furmark (extreme burning mode) is about 67-70 Celsius. You have to realize though that Furmark stresses the card in ways no prolonged gaming session could, the results should be taken as a worst case scenario. The most I have ever seen it get to while gaming was about 60, and the card idles around 31. I have decent cooling in my case and I am only running one card. When idle the card is quiet but when gaming you can still hear it but its not annoying, you have to listen for it. I love the card and if it's gonna save you $40 I have no qualms recommending the MSI card.
  2. Imo, I like the Hawk better. Don't let the fact you can get it cheaper ( a steal, imo) imply its any less a card.
    I run sli cyclones, I never go above the 60's in gaming.

    I don't run Furmark.
  3. Best answer
    The interesting thing is that Gigabyte seemed to have taken some cues from the MSI Hawk in designing the SOC model. Both feature custom PCB's with voltage monitoring, PWM LED's, etc. Do keep in mind that both of these cards will exhaust heat inside the case. That should only be a problem with exceptionally poor case ventilation.

    Both are excellent cards, however, if you are looking for cool and quiet, the Gigabyte SOC with the Windforce 2 cooler is just a little bit better. Out of 18 GTX460's tested at Guru3d over the past year, the Gigabyte SOC has the lowest noise levels of them all. On top of that, it is also the fastest, with a factory overclock of 815mhz.

    Since noise and heat are your main concerns, using the Guru3d reviews on an identical test setup:

    Hawk: 57c
    SOC: 65c (partially due to a higher clock speed)

    Hawk: 43Db
    SOC: 37Db

    Both cards were able to overclock to just about 950mhz, but at overclocked speeds, the SOC was faster in COD Modern Warfare 2 and scored 17,907 in 3DMark Vantage, while the Hawk scored 17,075.

    "From the top of my head I can tell you that this was GeForce GTX 460 card number eighteen that we have tested to date. The overall baseline performance of the GeForce GTX 460 is of course commendable, this particular SOC card comes factory overclocked a good chunk higher, making it the fastest GTX 460 we actually tested. The card as tested today performs roughly at GTX 470 level, and that means it is in fact competing with the Radeon 6850 and sometimes even the 6870.

    It doesn't stop there though, you can really benefit from a manual overclock as well thanks to the cooler. 850 MHz is just not an issue either and thanks to the very silent WindForce 2X cooler the temperatures remain very much under control. Now if you are willing to do so, add a little extra GPU voltage as shown on our overclocking pages, if you set it at 1.088 Volts you'll pass 900 MHz. Our maximum upper limit was roughly 950 MHz, and that was really pushing it."
  4. Best answer selected by RavinRivie.
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