Radeon HD 7870 2GB vs HD 7850 2GB vs HD 5870 1GB Quick Look

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 6, 2012 - 05:42 PM |
Tagged: radeon, pitcairn, hd 7870, hd 7850, amd, 7870, 7850

After the launch of our Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 review this week, I got a couple of emails asking for another data point around the Radeon HD 5800 cards that many users might be looking to upgrade from.  Well, since everyone asked so nicely and I felt bad for not including it in the first place, I decided to quickly throw a HD 5870 1GB card on the test bed and run some 3DMark11 action.

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Using the same hardware test bed as the other graphics cards, we ran the HD 5870 1GB using the 12.2 pre-certified driver, the same we used on the rest of our non-7000 series Radeon cards.  Here are the results.

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How does this compare to the new Pitcairn GPUs?

  • 3DMark11 Performance Preset
  • HD 5870 1GB: 4832
  • HD 7870 2GB: 6601 (+36%)
  • HD 7850 2GB: 5497 (+13%)
  • 3DMark11 Extreme Preset
  • HD 5870 1GB: 1649
  • HD 7870 2GB: 2058 (+25%)
  • HD 7850 2GB: 1645 (+0%)

It looks like with just this simple glance, the HD 7870 2GB card would be the only upgrade worth really stretching towards based on performance alone.  There are definitely going to be cases where the 2GB frame buffer will help over the 1GB included in most HD 5870/5850 cards including Eyefinity and titles like Battlefield 3, so even if you go with the HD 7850 card you should see some gains. 

March 6, 2012 | 06:08 PM - Posted by Markon101

Looks like it wouldn't be any upgrade from a 580GTX.

March 17, 2012 | 06:54 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is the 7800 series cards which are the mid-level cards of the new generation.Either you're trolling or you can't comprehend what you read.If you need comparison to price/performance , go look at the HD7970 and HD7950 , otherwise your post is as constructive as a pile of manure.

March 6, 2012 | 07:15 PM - Posted by Eric (not verified)

I was unaware of the 7870 series... I feel even better now of my 7970 series upgrade recently ^_^

March 6, 2012 | 08:17 PM - Posted by icebug

Probably going to have to get a 7870 now... Unless I can talk myself into a 7950 (or rather talk my wallet into it... lol)

March 6, 2012 | 09:21 PM - Posted by mikesheadroom (not verified)

From a prospective customer standpoint, I REALLY like this comparison. Any chance of adding in the 5770? It is still the most commonly used card per the Steam hardware survey.

March 7, 2012 | 07:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Good to see a comparison of currently available cards vs. a couple of generations ago. Many PC users, which include me, often skip a generation or two before considering an upgrade.

All too often GPU reviews are for the current crop of cards, making the choice of upgrade more difficult to decide upon.

March 8, 2012 | 09:00 PM - Posted by Rauelius (not verified)

Would be great if we got the other benchmarks as well. 3DMark gives a somewhat decent idea, but games would defintly help us a lot more than a canned benchmark. I do appreciate that you at least ran the 5870, most other sites pretend it never existed. Perhaps a full article showing the evolution from the 4870 to the 7870 to see which generation provided the biggest performance leap. My money is going to 4xxx going to 5xxx provided the biggest jump, while from 5xxx to 6xxx provided the smallest jump. So far I'd say the 6xxx to 7xxx is a bit less of a jump than going from 4xxx to 5xxx, but much more noticable than going from 5xxx to 6xxx.

March 25, 2012 | 07:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

With a Sandy Bridge i5 2500k machine I'll be upgrading from a 4870 to 7870 in the next week or so (its on pre-order, Sapphire 7870)

I can post some fraps stats and 3Dmark results :)

May 12, 2012 | 07:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Beware, the tested HD5870 is overclocked (900 instead of 800).

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