MSI GeForce GTX 1070 SEA HAWK X Review

Published: 28th Dec 2016, 10:23 GMT


MSI GTX 1070 Sea Hawk X, just like any other hybrid-cooled card, has a huge advantage over its competition. You simply can’t expect similar temperature levels from air-cooled models. Hybrid cooled cards are somewhat an extreme example of dealing with excessive heat on high-end models.

In our tests Sea Hawk X temperature did not exceed 50C under heavy load, even with Furmark, which is a truly amazing result. However this will depend on how you configure the fan of the radiator, and that’s, in my opinion, one of the main problems of this card. Unlike other hybrid-cooled cards the Sea Hawk’s radiator fan is simply not connected to anything. It’s your job to find an empty fan header on your motherboard and make sure it’s configured to desired speed. The easiest walkaround for this problem is to connect it to CPU fan through a splitter (which we did in our test). This ensures that the speed will always increase when the computer is in use. There are of course other solutions because some motherboards and software will give you the option to control the speed based on GPU temperature. However, it would be much easier if the fan was connected directly to the card.

Speaking of the fans, there’s also this blower-type fan on the card. This is the fan that you control through MSI Afterburner when applying fan profiles to your card. Although I don’t think that’s really necessary, because this fan is only responsible for the temperature of the memory and VRM section, and those can easily work with default fan profile.

Now let’s look at the unique features of this model. The full cover backplate is simply an aesthetic element, it does not even touch the PCB directly. The MSI logo on the side, which will be covered with SLI bridge if you have one, can be controlled through MSI Gaming App. This is not an RGB LED, so you can only apply breathing or blinking animations to it. Of course, there’s also an option to disable it, however, it’s not really that bright so it shouldn’t really bother you.

The Gaming App also gives you the option to choose between Silent, Gaming and OC models. There’s not much of a difference between the latter two, as we are looking at 20 MHz difference in actual tests, so it does not really affect performance that much. With manual overclocking you can easily unlock more performance, which will indeed give you better performance in games, but not in all synthetic benchmarks (which utilize more GPU power). This is of course caused by rather low TDP limit set to 105%. I’m not sure why it was set so low because 8-pin power connector and PCI-E slot can easily deliver more power, but this card has NVIDIA’s reference PCB, so it might’ve simply been a safer solution for the manufacturer.

If you are looking for a card equipped with a great cooling solution, but you are not desperate to get the best overclocking results, the GTX 1070 Sea Hawk X is the card for you. Be prepared to spend 500 US dollars though.

Review Contents
Page 1Overview MSI GeForce GTX 1070 SEA HAWK X
Page 2Testing platform & methodology
Page 3STABILITY Temperature ● Core Clock ● GPU Usage ● Memory Usage
Page 4DirectX 12 Battlefield 1
Page 5DirectX 11 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare
Page 6DirectX 12 Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Page 7DirectX 12 The Division
Page 8DirectX 12 HITMAN
Page 9DirectX 11 Metro: Last Light
Page 10DirectX 11 Project Cars
Page 11DirectX 11 Rainbow Six: Siege
Page 12DirectX 11 Titanfall 2
Page 13DirectX 12 Rise of the Tomb Raider
Page 14DirectX 12 Total War: Warhammer
Page 15DirectX 11 Witcher 3
Page 16Overclocking
Page 17Conclusion

MSI GeForce GTX 1070 SEA HAWK X Review WhyCry


Performance - 95  %
Cooling and Design - 100  %
Overclocking - 85  %
Price and Bundles - 80  %

Very efficient cooler
Full-cover backplate
105% TDP limit affects OC
High price
Reference PCB