PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Review

Conclusion

PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Review

Conclusion

There is a heck of a lot to like about the HD7870 PCS+ from PowerColor.

Let's start with the things they have no control over. The HD7870 follows on from the HD7950 in that it's quite surprisingly close to the next model up in the range. For a long while at the top end of the range manufacturers have left ever larger performance gaps to try and justify their exorbitant pricing, whilst the low end of the market saw so many cards released that it was nearly impossible to find any real differences in either performance or pricing, such was the overlap. Now with the current range of Radeons we see that each card neatly follows the rest. An overclocked HD7870 is about the same as a stock HD7950 which, when overclocked, is about the same as a HD7970. Anything that stops people overspending in these hard times is a good thing in our book.

As for the PowerColor side of the equation we have a lot to like. Firstly we know only too well how many of you don't want to faff about with overclocking your card and will always look for one that comes out of the box with a blazing speed attached to it. The PCS+ variant of the HD7870 certainly does with its 1100MHz GPU core speed and 1225MHz GDDR5.

Although it's easy to overclock the card still further, it's just a shame the overclock doesn't really give us quite the extra performance we usually see. This is largely because the card is already heavily overclocked and we were resisting the temptation to overvolt it because most people who like to overclock in a hardcore style prefer to do so with the reference models rather than one which is already tuned.

The cooler deserves special praise. Not only is it very aesthetically pleasing, being a nice simple blend of silver and black, free from the shouty stickers or go faster stripes that plague some other cards, but the silence is staggering. It's unbelievably quiet. Not quiet compared to other graphics cards. Just quiet compared to, well, anything. The two 140mm low-RPM fans on the Silver Arrow CPU cooler were louder than the PowerColor PCS+ HD7870, even when it was under heavy loading. If you place as much value upon your ears as you do upon the eye candy, then you're in for a treat.

Pricing is exactly where you'd expect. There is about £100 between a factory overclocked HD7970 and the HD7950, and a further £80 between that and this card, which we expect to retail around the £275 mark. You're getting a lot of card for the money with the factory overclock, low temperatures, and the sheer silence are certainly worth a premium over a reference card.

The combination of those factors means the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ is worthy of our Gold Award.

   

Thanks to PowerColor for providing the HD7870 PCS+ for review. Discuss in our forums.

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Most Recent Comments

11-04-2012, 05:00:48

tinytomlogan


Time to take a look at a HD7870 on steroids, courtesy of the fine folks at PowerColor.

Continue Reading

11-04-2012, 05:22:03

SieB
The 7870 is the only next gen card that is worth the price to performance ratio in my opinion, especially given the overclockabillity to the level of a stock 7950, still more than they should be but definitely good cards.

11-04-2012, 05:32:12

Noilzan
Great review, and what an impressive card!

11-04-2012, 06:23:30

Rastalovich

Firstly we know only too well how many of you don't want to faff about with overclocking your card and will always look for one that comes out of the box with a blazing speed attached to it.



I'd hope that's not too true.

11-04-2012, 06:40:49

dipzy
Great review

11-04-2012, 06:41:10

mArTyN
Nice looking card............and it performs !

11-04-2012, 07:25:36

TheOneHalf
Nice card, seems like a good purchase. Also the fact it is really quiet is quite nice I must say. If I do a secondary rig it will probably get this card, since I would want it to be compleatly silent

11-04-2012, 09:01:34

Pendragon
I would love to see it in Crossfire, if not this exact card but just a pair of 7870's. Also I would have like to see more detail about how it compares to the card it's replacing. I'm running a pair of 6870 and would like to know if the upgrade would be worth the extreme cost involved. 6870's in crossfire is a sweet spot in performance vs cost. I get a Heaven score of 1900 with avg fps of 74 with my AMD/crossfire rig.

I would be looking to buy one card then at a later date pick up another. Looking at these numbers there would be a significant drop in performance running one of these before I could save up for a second card. Might just be better off ditching my pair of 6870's for a single 7970, then at a much later date once prices come down pick up a second...

11-04-2012, 15:32:46

VonBlade
In 0xAA Unigine it scored 1586, and with the 8xAA it scored 1114.

For sheer size reasons we cannot keep every possible setup in our graphs. They're already very large. If anyone doesn't mind losing the maximum frame rate graphs we could move the OC ones to a separate graph which would allow us to retain more models. However, in your particular case you'll find we still have the 6950CF results in the graph, and the HD7870 comes in just beneath it in most games. A few FPS at most.

Personally I'd say get a HD7950 and OC it, which is nearly a HD7970, much cheaper, and the likelihood of affording another would come sooner.

11-04-2012, 15:41:31

ArjenIsM3
Quote:
Originally Posted by VonBlade View Post

In 0xAA Unigine it scored 1586, and with the 8xAA it scored 1114.

For sheer size reasons we cannot keep every possible setup in our graphs. They're already very large. If anyone doesn't mind losing the maximum frame rate graphs we could move the OC ones to a separate graph which would allow us to retain more models. However, in your particular case you'll find we still have the 6950CF results in the graph, and the HD7870 comes in just beneath it in most games. A few FPS at most.

Personally I'd say get a HD7950 and OC it, which is nearly a HD7970, much cheaper, and the likelihood of affording another would come sooner.
Perhaps you could keep all of the results in OC3D history in a massive graph that you could link to? Keep it one a dedicated page just for reference. Could come in handy for some people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rastalovich View Post

I'd hope that's not too true.
Lol, given the name of the website I'd agree!

11-04-2012, 15:58:04

Master&Puppet
Quote:
Originally Posted by VonBlade View Post

In 0xAA Unigine it scored 1586, and with the 8xAA it scored 1114.

For sheer size reasons we cannot keep every possible setup in our graphs. They're already very large. If anyone doesn't mind losing the maximum frame rate graphs we could move the OC ones to a separate graph which would allow us to retain more models. However, in your particular case you'll find we still have the 6950CF results in the graph, and the HD7870 comes in just beneath it in most games. A few FPS at most.

Personally I'd say get a HD7950 and OC it, which is nearly a HD7970, much cheaper, and the likelihood of affording another would come sooner.
Definitely get rid of the max frame rates, they aren't important. Average and minimum are all that is needed. Also could you try and order the graphs in least to most (by minimum fps) to make it easier to read through?

Totally agree with you about the 7950. The 78xx have great processors but I think the 2gb might become limiting so I'm not willing to fork out for anything less than 2.5gb.

11-04-2012, 16:09:37

Hackedoff
I'm not sure this card offers much to the party. When OC'd it's biting the heels of a GTX 580. But you can pick up a 580 for 294 now and you can then overclock that further. I'm also not sure this card deserves the gold award. That should be reserved for greatness, and seeing this card runs hot, although quiet, doesn't quite cut gold for me.

11-04-2012, 20:08:06

MaXiMiZe
Great card

14-04-2012, 02:02:20

jackjack
splendid review T like the core clock speed

this little beast will roar more if you put it on Crossfire.

14-04-2012, 03:55:04

YogevSkill
I

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hackedoff View Post

I'm not sure this card offers much to the party. When OC'd it's biting the heels of a GTX 580. But you can pick up a 580 for 294 now and you can then overclock that further. I'm also not sure this card deserves the gold award. That should be reserved for greatness, and seeing this card runs hot, although quiet, doesn't quite cut gold for me.
It cuts the cheese. I agree hot vs quite is a matter of opinion, the price and performance are a fact though, and and the 580 trumps this one.

Solid review nontheless.

16-04-2012, 01:48:41

sharps_87
Nice review fella!

02-05-2012, 04:43:58

Anthrax27
Nice review

25-10-2013, 19:09:32

Giaboe
HI I just got the 7870 and it was spares and repairs it had artifacts on the screen from the memory so I reflowed it and it worked then a light test in system rating caused it to take off like a jet plane then i got a white screen and black lines now it will not give an out put no matter what i do. has anyone got an idea if a capacitor has gone a diode or the gpu

25-10-2013, 20:06:30

dalewakelin
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giaboe View Post
HI I just got the 7870 and it was spares and repairs it had artifacts on the screen from the memory so I reflowed it and it worked then a light test in system rating caused it to take off like a jet plane then i got a white screen and black lines now it will not give an out put no matter what i do. has anyone got an idea if a capacitor has gone a diode or the gpu
Make a new thread and we could help you out
Reply
x

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