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Overclocking: Gaming & Compute Performance

As always we’ll keep the commentary thin here, but overall the overclocked performance of the 7800s looks very good, which is what you’d expect with a 15%+ core overclock and a 12% memory overclock. With the exception of Skyrim performance at 19x12, the overclocking performance increase for both cards is roughly split between the core and memory overclocks, meaning we’re seeing a 13.5% average performance increase for the 7870 and a 17% average performance increase for the 7850. As the 7800 series has the same number of ROPS as the 7900 series, it looks like we’re running headlong into the memory bandwidth bottleneck that makes the 384-bit memory bus on the 7900 series sing.

All things considered among our tests we have everything from even the 7850OC beating the GTX 580, to the GTX 580 still holding onto its lead versus the 7870OC. But even if you can’t beat a GTX 580 with a 7870OC you can get very close on a card that costs a good bit less.

Meanwhile for compute performance the gains are similar: 12.5% on the 7870, and 19.5% on the 7850.

Overclocking: Power, Temp, & Noise Final Words
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  • Kiste - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    So, how many people do you know who would spend a few hundred bucks for a performance "sidegrade" that saves them a few bucks per year on their energy bill?

    Price/performance is still the relevant metric for most people, with everything else being secondary. Not unimportant, but secondary. Noise can also be addressed on cards with high power draw by buying a card with a custom cooler or using a 3rd party cooler.
    Reply
  • Kaboose - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    Some people are just entering the market, some people are coming from 3+ generations ago, some people are looking for HTPC's that can game and need low power and low temp cards that provide solid performance. It isn't a sidegrade for someone who is coming from integrated graphics or maybe a 7800GT etc. It is easy to think that everyone who buys these types of GPU's are knowledgeable and already have high performing GPU's. But that just isn't the case a lot of the time. If you have a high end 5xxx or a mid-high range 6xxx GPU already then there is no reason to upgrade, frankly with the 68xx series AMD isn't looking to grab that market. Reply
  • Kiste - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    If you're looking for great price/performance, there are plenty of cards that offer more bang for your bucks.

    If you're looking for raw performance, you look elsewhere, too.

    Though I'll happily concede that the 7850/7870 are great absolutely fabulous for everyone who is building a "HTPC that can game".
    Reply
  • medi01 - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    And exactly where do you look for raw performance, pretty please? Maybe at nVidia 570, that costs 80$, consumes more energy yet is outperformed in most tests by 7850? Reply
  • Kiste - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    Where would you look for raw performance? How about the 79xx line?

    And what the hell are you talking about anyway? The 7850 does not "outperform" the 570 in most tests, unless you're again back at comparing an overclocked card to a non-overclocked card. Most 570 cards can do a 15-20% OC easily, btw.

    Hell, I bought my GTX570 about 12 months ago for €289. And I'm supposed to be blown away by something like the 7870 in 2012?

    The GTX570 became available about 14 months ago. It took AMD 14 frigging month to come up with a card like the 7870 that is 9% faster on average at the same price point?

    Gee, what a marvel of technology.
    Reply
  • krumme - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    570 is 250% larger and 9% slower
    Its a giant leap
    talk about marvel of technology
    Your card is tech from stone age compared to a 7870.
    Old tech is old
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    I'm running a 5870 which is basically 75% the performance of a 7970, and I paid 379 for the 5870. Which is also 75% of the cost of a 7970. The price of a 7970 is basically the exact same price structure as the 2 1/2 year old 5870, So we are stuck where we were in 2009, yay.

    Yea we are sure moving forward...
    Reply
  • morfinx - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    75% performance of 7970 would mean that it's 33% faster than a 5870. And that's just not accurate. I have a 5870 as well, so I was paying a lot of attention on how much faster the 7970 is in various reviews. Everything I've read indicates that it's anywhere from 70-110% faster at 2560x1600 resolution (I run 3600x1920, so likely even even more of a difference). That's not even even considering the massive overclocking headroom of the 7970 vs barely any OC headroom of the 5870. Overclocked, a 7970 is easily twice as fast as a 5870. Reply
  • RaistlinZ - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    This is true. I came from a 5870 to a 7970 and at 2560x1600 the 7970 is easily twice as fast.

    And that's even before overclocking. My 5870 could barely overclock for crap, whereas my 7970 overclocks 27% on core and 18% on memory.
    Reply
  • SlyNine - Thursday, March 08, 2012 - link

    Not according to Anandtechs benchmarks. Reply

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