Though AMD announced the Radeon HD 7800 series nearly two weeks ago, it won’t be until Monday that the cards officially go on sale. While we’re still at work on our full launch article, our first retail card, PowerColor’s PCS+ HD7870, recently arrived and we’ve just finished putting it through its paces.

The PCS+ HD7870 is fairly typical of what will be launching; it’s a factory overclocked card with a heatpipe based open air cooler. PowerColor has pushed the card to 1100MHz core, 4.9GHz memory, representing a 100MHz (10%) overclock and a much more mild 100MHz (2%) memory overclock. Given the very high overclockability we’ve seen in the entire Radeon HD 7000 series, PowerColor is one of the partners looking to take advantage of that headroom to stand out from the pack.

We’ll have the full details on Monday, but for the time being we wanted to share a couple of numbers.

Compared to the reference 7870 The PCS+ HD7870 is faster and quieter at the same time, the latter of which is largely a result of PowerColor using an open air cooler as opposed to a blower as in AMD’s reference design. The 100MHz overclock adds a fair bit of performance to the PCS+ 7870, and for AMD’s partners this is a big deal as allows them to put more space between their factory overclocked models and stock models as compared to the less overclockable 6000 series.

As far as construction goes the PCS+ 7870 is a rather typical semi-custom 7870. PowerColor is using AMD’s PCB along with their own aluminum heatpipe cooler. As we speculated in our 7870 review, partners are using the second DVI header on the PCB, with PowerColor using a stacked DVI design here to offer a second SL-DVI port.

Finally, how’s overclocking? We hit 1150MHz core on our reference 7870. With PowerColor already binning chips for their PCS+ 7870 we landed a chip that could do a full 1200MHz, a full 20% over the reference 7870 and 9% over PowerColor’s factory overclock. And like the reference 7870 this is all on stock voltage – we haven’t even touched overvolting yet.

But what does 1200MHz do for a 7870? For that you’ll just have to check in on Monday when we look at our full collection of retail Radeon HD 7870 cards.

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  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    Excuse me but a GTX 570 that is a bit better in the chart is $259-$289 while the 7870 is way more at $359 +
    That's $100 in savings, or nearly one third saved, for the same thing.
    So maybe the 7870 is just the sour spot right now.
    Certainly pay the extra $100 if you want to try the competitions wares, though.
    I don't see anything wrong with that, but just a heads up in case you didn't notice GTX570 is a lot less.
    Reply
  • CloudFire - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    It is because of marketing my friend. To keep partners happy when they can sell their "overclock" editions. Most likely nearly all if not all 7870's will be able to hit 1100mhz with ease and same goes with the memory. If AMD pushed out all ref cards at 1100mhz, there won't be that much of a significant OC "headroom" for partners to sell their cards.

    While 350$ isn't that huge of a rip off compared to the 7950/70, it is way above the price that this card should be at. AMD has the market right now so they are raking in as much profit before Kepler, but that still doesn't make it a great value. Take a look back at the 4/5xxx series, those cards were a way better value than the 7870. Once Kepler comes out, then we'll see all the cards pushed down to their original intended prices.
    Reply
  • B-Unit1701 - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    And why would you? You already have a high end setup. Congratulations. Go enjoy it. Meanwhile, those of us on old hardware are going to enjoy the huge performance gain we see with the 7000 series. Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    I look at the chart and see a 7870 that is almost as good as the GTX 570.
    My question is which one is cheaper...
    Reply
  • jALLAD - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    I think factory OC'd cards from PowerColor are an absolute disaster. I own a factory OC'd HD4870 from PowerColor, and it is the most unstable (constant flickering, intermittent crashed applications, ...) graphics card I have ever owned. But all that goes away when I turn down the clock to AMD factory settings.

    I discovered later that this was a common problem among all PowerColor factory overclocked cards in the 4000 series. I have previously owned factory overclocked cards from XFX which had worked like a dream.

    Just my 2 ¢.

    PS: Confession, I haven't read the article yet.
    Reply
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    I don't see a 7970 in the benchmarks...? :-) Reply
  • LtGoonRush - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    Agreed, more comparisons between the 7870 and 7970 would be really useful for me. I'm trying to decide between the 7970 or the 7870, I'm leaning toward the 7870 right now because it seems like a much better value, especially when overclocked. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    If you game @ 1080/1200 vertical resolution, I think the 7870 is great. If you game with Eyefinity or with a 1440/1600 vertical resolution, you should either go with CF 7870 or if that is too expensive or you don't want to deal with the CF headaches, then buy a 7970 and overclock the hell out of it.
    I wanted 7870 CF for my 27" but after running some numbers including the water cooling blocks, I decided to get a good overclocked 7970 instead (1275/1700). 7870 in CF with a bit of an overclock is still much better than the single 7970 (I would say 30-50% increase in FPS) but also 40% to 50% more expensive (assuming 320€ for the card and 80€ for cooling, compared to the 560€ I spent for the 7970@watercooling).
    Reply
  • Jamahl - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    It's anandtech, Nvidia cards must be shown at the top of most benchmarks.

    You will see one next week after they bench the 680.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    These are just the charts from the 7870 article with the PCS+ inserted. We'll throw in the 7970 in the full article. Reply

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