XFX Double D Black Edition HD 7850 and HD 7870 Review: Kings of the Midrange?
XFX Throws into the Midrange Ring
Who is this XFX? This is a brand that I have not dealt with in a long time. In fact, the last time I had an XFX card was some five years ago, and it was in the form of the GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition. This was a pretty awesome card for the time, and it seemed to last forever in terms of performance and features in the new DX 10 world that was 2007/2008. This was a heavily overclocked card, and it would get really loud during gaming sessions. I can honestly say though that this particular card was troublefree and well built.
XFX has not always had a great reputation though, and the company has gone through some very interesting twists and turns over the years. XFX is a subsidiary of Pine Technologies. Initially XFX dealt strictly with NVIDIA based products, but a few years back when the graphics market became really tight, NVIDIA dropped several manufacturers and focused their attention on the bigger partners. Among the victims of this tightening were BFG Technologies and XFX. Unlike BFG, XFX was able to negotiate successfully with AMD to transition their product lineup to Radeon products. Since then XFX has been very aggressive in pursuing unique designs based on these AMD products. While previous generation designs did not step far from the reference products, this latest generation is a big step forward for XFX.
In terms of quality XFX had it rough for a while. Return rates appeared to be much higher than other players in the market, and there were a lot of complaints about customer service. XFX took this to heart and introduced their Double Lifetime warranty. This promised the initial user/buyer a full, lifetime warranty. If that user decided to give or sell the card to another, then they had the option of transferring the lifetime warranty to that other person. This unfortunately came to a screeching halt early this year. XFX discontinued the double lifetime warranty concept, but they did replace it with something that was still “ok” in terms of industry standards. XFX now offers a 2 year limited warranty on their products with an optional 1 year extension. They do still offer the ability to transfer the warranty to another user, so that is a definite plus when we consider that upgrade cycles are sometimes pretty compressed in the graphics market.
Lifting the lid reveals the included pack materials. Again, not entirely impressive, but not bad either.
The HD 7000 series of products from XFX are a massive shift for them in terms of design. While the PCBs all look to be reference products, XFX has taken a keen interest in thermals and have introduced a whole new series of coolers that hope to catch up to the competition. The competition in this case is MSI and Asus. These two companies have done more to push unique cooling solutions than any other. MSI in particular was one that redefined graphics cooling with their “Superpipe” and Twin Frozr products, not to mention pushing the limits of design with their Lightning series of cards. XFX appears halfway there with their cooler designs.
The card is fairly well protected, but not a piece of foam in sight. The card is essentially triple boxed in, so shipping damage would have to be extreme to actually hurt the card.
Today we are looking at a pair of cards from XFX that represent the high end of the HD 7850 and HD 7870 series of cards. These products are both Black Editions of the Double Dissipation class of cooling. These products are overclocked out of the box and they introduce a new set of specifications for the entire card as a whole.