MSI Sea Hawk RTX 2080 Overclocking

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Thursday , December 20, 2018

MSI sent over its new Sea Hawk RTX 2080 card for use in a build video. This is a fair simple RTX card build that is purchased with a pre-installed All-In-One cooler. We wanted to see how well it overclocked and spent a night of gaming in order to do that and we have to say we were pleased with our results.

MSI Sea Hawk RTX 2080 Overclocking

The MSI Sea Hawk RTX 2080 is an interesting video card. It uses a small AIO for cooling instead of all of the heavy heatsinks we see mounted directly to the video card. This gives us a couple of possible advantages. First and foremost it removes a tremendous amount of weight hanging off of your PCIe slot. No more cards bowing under the weight of the cooler and possibly damaging your motherboard. Second, an AIO allows us to vent the heat from the GPU outside of our case.

This version of the Sea Hawk is selling for $869 with Prime Shipping.

Getting the Sea Hawk 2080 out of the box, the first thing we noticed is just how light the card itself is. We have been dealing with a lot of air cooled RTX cards, and he difference in weight is extremely noticeable.

The next thing we noticed was the fact that it has a blower fan as well.

This obviously points out that the AIO is cooling only the GPU. The VRM components are air cooled like we would see in any other card. The cover on the card fully contains the blower airflow and exhausts all of that airflow out through the IO panel.


For the purpose of this quick article we wanted to see exactly we could pull off in terms of overclocking our Sea Hawk RTX, so we will not keep you in suspense.

We did all of our testing while playing Hunt: Showdown. This is a game from the famed Crytek and uses the well known Cryengine. It is extremely graphics intensive and the scenes it renders are truly incredible. We ran the game at 1600p with all video elements set to High, with the only IQ setting turned off being Motion Blur. We did allow the Sea Hawk to heatload first and you can see our gaming time during data collection was at least 13 minutes. We did make multiple runs to make sure we were getting repeatable results.

You can see that even at stock settings, the Sea Hawk 2080 turned in an impressive 1954MHz average GPU clock. The card is what I would call "quiet" in a closed case at these settings. You can hear the fans after the card heatloads, and it is not a "bad" fan noise at all but a bit on the higher pitched side. Obviously if you were wearing headphones for your gaming, you would not hear anything. Even using speakers the Sea Hawk is indiscernible. Our GPU temperature peaked out at 65C about 10 minutes into the 13 minute runthrough shown above.

We then set out testing to see how much we could raise our GPU clocks, with the fans set to auto. We settled on "+100" in MSI Afterburner. To achieve our overclock, we scaled core voltage, power limit, and temp limit to maximum settings. Setting to "+110" was very solid as well, but we would see an occasional artifact every minute or so.

With those settings we found that we got an average of 2040MHz during our 13 minute runthrough, and you can see where we dropped down a bit after the card heatloads. Our GPU temperature peaked out at 75C. And again our fans were not loud in any way, but these are audible with not other sounds in the room.

Finally, we turned the fans on to full 100%. This runs the blower fan on the card at ~4000RPM and the fan on the AIO radiator at ~2100RPM. The blower fan gets extremely loud. This is setting is for headphone usage only, and if there is someone else close by, you are likely to get complaints. Our Sea Hawk hung in there at 2100MHz until it did finally heatload and dropped do the running at about 2075 to 2060MHz. (All RTX GPUs jump around in 15MHz increments.) Having the fans spun up to maximum RPM did bring our peak GPU temperature down to 61C.

While playing Hunt: Showdown, we did see an appreciable difference in framerate. The overclock surely brought our minimum framerate up.

If we pushed the GPU too far in terms of clocks, we would start to get some interesting "Christmas time" artifacts!

VRAM Clocks

We did see a bit of an oddity while overclocking our VRAM. Sometimes, when we would set default clock values, it would set at 6800MHz, and sometimes it would set to 7000MHz. The initial value we got when first using the card was 7000MHz. You can see in the Afterburner screenshot above that after our "+1000" overclock we are showing 7800MHz. We could usually correct this with a system reboot and then it would allow us to dial in 8000MHz. All the overclocking above was done with 8000MHz.

We did also notice that we could push a bit higher GPU clock rate if we left the VRAM at stock speeds. So if you are so inclined you should be able to best our GPU rates above. We were able to push above 2100MHz.

The Bottom Line

The MSI Sea Hawk RTX 2080 did not disappoint in terms of overclocking performance. It also did not disappoint in terms of just how quiet the card runs either. While we can all argue the actual value of any RTX GPU, the Sea Hawk seems to be a solid package if you are wanting to exhaust all of the GPU heat outside of your case. Having the included blower fan and shroud is a great touch over what you would be able to easily do if you wanted to DIY this project yourself. The Sea Hawk 2080 carries a $70 premium when compared to a Founders Edition RTX 2080.