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AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB and HD 7850 2GB Pitcairn Review

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: AMD

Radeon HD 7870 2GB and HD 7850 2GB Reference Cards

The Radeon HD 7870 2GB GHz Edition

Both the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 are going be sold as reference kits as well as custom designs from add-in card vendors like MSI and XFX, but for our testing we were limited to the reference cards sent in by AMD on VERY short notice.  

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The company is maintaining the slick red-on-black color scheme that we have loved for so long and pretty much looks idential to the HD 7900 cards we saw in December and January.  Yes, the  cards will have the lame "GHz Edition" sticker on them but hey, when they are spinning you'll hardly notice. 

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The back of the card is bare with just the retention bracket for the GPU heatsink.

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While we don't like the sticker, the cooler and noise that it generates continues to be a high point for the Radeon HD 7000 cards.  The 28nm GPUs are without a doubt more power efficient than previous 40nm designs and you can tell based on the power consumption numbers we are reporting in all of these reviews.  That power efficiency improvement means fans can run slower and you can enjoy your gaming with much less noise to bother.

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The HD 7870 will require a pair of 6-pin power connections and that should provide more than enough headroom for overclocking.

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Somewhat of a let down, the Radeon HD 7800 cards will only support dual-GPU CrossFire configurations so if you were planning on putting a set of three of these in your system, you just can't.  This is also a sign that AMD is NOT planning a dual-GPU version of the Pitcairn GPU as that would utilize the only CrossFire connection internally on the card and prevent quad-GPU options.  

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The display connetions are identical to the reference cards from the HD 7970, 7950 and 7770 - a single dual-link DVI port, full-size HDMI port and dual mini-DisplayPorts.

The Radeon HD 7850 2GB

While the Radeon HD 7850 we tested used the same length PCB as the HD 7870, we were told that in general the 7850 PCBs would be at 8-in or less, shorter than the Juniper graphics cards!

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Similar color design; no fancy GHz Edition sticker.

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Again, these cards are all going bareback.

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The HD 7850 2GB card will only require a single 6-pin power connection to meet its roughly 130 watt power draw.

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CrossFire is of course limited to only a single connection...

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And the display connections remain unchanged as well.

March 5, 2012 | 01:55 PM - Posted by pdjblum


The value and importance of minimums is not lost on you as it is on so many so called enthusiast sites. Thanks for that. On Anand, for instance, can't even tell what metric he is using, and can't be bothered to read so an amateurish review. But he uses acrap for his main box, so he is far from the enthusiast he claims to be.

March 5, 2012 | 02:27 PM - Posted by Adam (not verified)

Great cards, but I got a AMD 6870 and don;t see much need to upgrade. I'll probably wait for the next generation in 2013.Great Review as always Ryan. Now we just need Nvidia to come out with theirs so there will be price drops.

March 5, 2012 | 03:20 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout


May 30, 2014 | 11:09 AM - Posted by Lawerence (not verified)

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March 5, 2012 | 04:20 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

Ryan, any expectations from crossfire yet?

March 5, 2012 | 06:33 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I would assume very similar scaling to the HD 7900 cards, though I am still waiting on the second 7870 and 7850 to arrive.

March 9, 2012 | 03:10 PM - Posted by AParsh335i (not verified)

Awesome, looking forward to an update on this review with crossfire :)

March 5, 2012 | 09:49 PM - Posted by Angryfuture (not verified)

Say goodbye to 4870x2...for me anyway.

I assume there will be a sweet discussion in this weeks podcast?

March 5, 2012 | 11:39 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

You would be correct. And yikes, that 4870 X2 is probably a hater this winter!

March 14, 2012 | 10:20 AM - Posted by Mark Allen (not verified)

Thanks for the info, ive got 200 quid burning a hole in my pocket and was torn between a Nvidia 480 as there on offer or a 6950 but i think i'll wait a few weeks and see what uk price we get on the 7850.

Oh and on your podcasts please try and keep doing the funny little audio clips when it starts before the music of one of you lot saying something weird... It always makes me smile :)

March 24, 2012 | 02:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't see much difference yet, beside power consumption, between a stock 7850 and a stock 6950, and both are having the same price. Even, I can get a 6950 overclocked for it.

May 31, 2012 | 10:34 PM - Posted by IceBoX (not verified)

Something Wrong! on Battlefield 3 GTX 570 Detail Grafics FPSAvg:
1680x1050 56 Avg / 33 Min / 92 Max
1920x1080 48 Avg / 29 Min / 81 Max

Correct or Not? Ryan Edit?

Thanks! Nice Review!

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