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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  • ET - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    I agree it's kind of disappointing. Even a 5750 was a good improvement over a 3870, and here there's nothing approaching this kind of performance benefit over the 5870 from these. Though I think part of it is that the 5870 still holds up well in many games, as these benchmarks show. Reply
  • Kjella - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    I don't think it's that terrible... the 7870 fits pretty much the exact same power envelope as the 5850 and is starting to be a pretty solid performance upgrade. Yes it's a $350 card but inflation adjusted the $279 (pre-hike) 5850 is nearing $300 in 2012 dollars. A good deal and a good cooler (the reference cooler on the 5850 works, but is hardly quiet) and they may get a sale. Just waiting for Ivy Bridge, if nVidia hasn't shown a stunning Kepler by then I think the 7870 is it. Reply
  • Death666Angel - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Average increase of 40% in performance and you are comparing a high-end graphics card to a mid-range graphics card. Reply
  • DominionSeraph - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    So, AMD discontinued the $250 6950 and $350 6970 to give us... a $250 6950 and $350 6970.

    Not exactly impressed.

    Looks like it will be up to Nvidia to save us, just as they saved us from the price-gouged 5000 series with aggressive release price of the GTX 460 with price drops on the GTX 470. (That one action set the pricing scheme throughout the 6000/500 series)
  • CloudFire - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    I'm not upgrading this cycle but I do wish to see Kepler out sooner to drive down prices. This is business and AMD has a few months of no competition so they are going to do all they can to reap massive profits.

    Nvidia isn't going to save you, they would do the same thing if they were in AMD's position. Remember nearly 5 years back with the 8800GTX going for 500+ for over a year? Yea......
  • DominionSeraph - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    A halo product with no competition is beside the point. We're talking about the 7800 series which sits right in a range where there are competing products, and AMD is pricing it to suck you dry.

    The fact is that the 7000 series is not undercutting the 500 series the way Nvidia undercut the 5000 series. A $250 7850 vs a $270 + free Batman Arkham City GTX 560 Ti 448 Cores is about equal price/performance (maybe a tad in the favor of Nvidia). Contrast this to the GTX 460 being released at $200 when the 5770 was $180. The GTX 460 blew the doors off the 5770 and instantly said the appropriate price for that card is ~$130. A few months later we were seeing $110 5770's and $150 GTX 460's, and that's where we've been at ever since.

    AMD refuses to aggressively compete with Nvidia. They simply slot their products into Nvidia's pricing structure. So prices only change when Nvidia drops theirs and AMD is forced to follow. This means that we, the consumers, are dependent on Nvidia to save us, because AMD sure as hell won't.
  • Exodite - Tuesday, March 06, 2012 - link

    Not really a valid point of comparison though.

    Looking through several reviews of the 7800-series the 7850 lies closer to a 570 than a 560 Ti most of the time, while offering more and better in every possible category.

    Sure, the 7850 isn't on the market yet but assuming the ~250 USD pricing holds true I couldn't possibly recommend a 560 Ti, or even 448 core version, over the 7850 with a straight face.

    It could still be cheaper, sure, but it's nowhere near the pricing disaster the 7900 and 7700 series are.

    To my mind the 7800 series were the ones to wait for.

    Granted, with a 6950 myself I won't be upgrading until the 8k-series at the earliest. Unless Kepler turns out truly amazing, and brings triple display functionality on a single card.
  • tipoo - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    If I recall Nvidia hasn't really under-priced AMD in recent memory, they've always tried x more performance sold for >x price. Reply
  • ET - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    "AMD discontinued the $250 6950 and $350 6970 to give us... a $250 6950 and $350 6970."

    When you put it this way, it's quite a likeable upgrade actually. Slight boost in performance, lower power and better thermals, upgraded features, all for the same price. What's not to like?
  • chizow - Monday, March 05, 2012 - link

    What's not to like is it took them 16 months to put out a greener refresh sidegrade. Reply

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