AMD Radeon HD 7870 review
A fine performer, but it looks like it may be a bit more expensive than we’d hoped
Review Date: 12 Mar 2012
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £229 (£275 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
AMD has taken an unconventional route with its latest generation of graphics cards, first unleashing the range-topping Radeon HD 7970, then following it up with the mid-range HD 7700 cards. Now that hefty gap in between is being filled by the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850, codenamed Pitcairn.
As expected, the HD 7870 slots in neatly beneath the high-end cards: 2.8 billion transistors, down from 4.3 billion, and the stream-processor count has been reduced from 2,048 to 1,280. That means there are 20 Graphics Core Next clusters rather than the 32 found in AMD’s fastest cards.
The memory bus has been narrowed from 384-bit to 256-bit, and there’s only 2GB of RAM rather than 3GB. The HD 7870 has one ace up its sleeve, though – just like the HD 7770, it emerges from its box with a mighty 1GHz core frequency.
It sounds like an intriguing mix, and the HD 7870 delivered a solid set of benchmark results. An average of 56fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis test is 4fps better than last year’s HD 6970, 5fps behind the HD 7950 and the same as last year’s top single-core card from Nvidia, the GTX 580.
In Crysis 2 at 1,920 x 1,080 and its highest quality settings, the HD 7870 averaged 43fps; the HD 6970 could manage only 27fps and the GTX 580 only 29fps. In Just Cause 2, at 1,920 x 1,080 and Very High quality, the HD 7870 averaged 88fps – the same as the HD 7950 – and in DiRT 3’s toughest test its result of 73fps is only 7fps behind the GTX 580.
The HD 7870 also has the legs to play at higher resolutions and across multiple screens, although not necessarily at the highest settings. With Crysis running at Very High quality and with 4x anti-aliasing on a 30in, 2,560 x 1,600 screen, it averaged 28fps. We had to turn the game down to its High quality level to get it running at a playable 36fps across three panels and 5,760 x 1,080. We found similar performance in Crysis 2 on our 30in screen: to extract a playable 31fps in our 30in screen, we had to forego the Extreme and Ultra quality settings, instead sticking with Very High.
But can the Radeon HD 7870 persuade us to part with £275?
Why would PC Pro part with £275 sobs when you already have one in your mitts, if you don't need it after your review, I will happly take it off your hands :-)
By Chrisfjr1300 on 14 Mar 2012
I love the current desire to style these cards like an Escort XR3i.
How long before the fan outflow needs a spolier?
By Gindylow on 15 Mar 2012
By Gindylow on 15 Mar 2012
I just ordered an Nvidia 560ti in the vain hope that I will be able to turn my PC on this summer without cooking - it's replacing a GTX 285.
Do you have any idea which would be the coolest? A 560ti or 7870?
By revsorg on 15 Mar 2012
Thanks for your advice
So my 560ti arrived and now our office is chilly so I have to turn the radiator up and dress warmer. It's hard to appreciate just how hot that GTX 285 was.
By revsorg on 19 Mar 2012
By the way, I was being
By revsorg on 20 Mar 2012
- Europol warns: public Wi-Fi isn't safe
- Privacy groups challenge Facebook's WhatsApp buy
- IDC: iPad intertia opens door for Windows tablets
- Chip breakthrough to eliminate checkout queues
- Rivals put on notice as Spotify snaps up The Echo Nest
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 leaks via Microsoft's website
- Bitcoin "founder" says: you've got the wrong man
- Has bitcoin creator been found?
- HTC Desire 310: more competition for the Moto G
- Mozilla questions why Dell charges £16 to install Firefox
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Nokia XL review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look
- Nokia X review: first look
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- How to hack your car
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- What to do if you’re still on Windows XP
- Microsoft Word: top 20 secret features
- Measuring me: is your body the future of security?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book
- 1.6TB SSD: why would you need one?