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Review: AMD Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 graphics cards

by Tarinder Sandhu on 5 March 2012, 05:00 4.0

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabdi5

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Testing methodology

GPU comparisons

Graphics card GPU clock
(MHz)
Stream
processors
Shader clock
(MHz)
Memory clock
(MHz)
Memory bus
(bits)
Graphics driver
  AMD Radeon HD 7970 (3,072MB) 925 2,048 925 5,500 384 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 7950 (3,072MB) 800 1,792 800 5,000 384 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 7870 (2,048MB) 1,000 1,280 1,000 4,800 256 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 7850 (2,048MB) 860 1,024 860 4,800 256 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 7770 (1,024MB) 1,000 640 1,000 4,500 128 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 6990 (4,096MB) 830 3,072 830 5,000 256 x 2 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 6970 (2,048MB) 880 1,536 880 5,500 256 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 6950 (2,048MB) 800 1,408 800 5,000 256 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 6870 (1,024MB) 900 1,120 900 4,200 256 Catalyst 12.1
  AMD Radeon HD 6850 (1,024MB) 775 960 775 4,000 256 Catalyst 12.1
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 (3,072MB) 607 1,024 1,215 3,414 384 x 2 ForceWare 285.88
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 (1,536MB) 772 512 1,544 4,008 384 ForceWare 285.88
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 (1,280MB) 732 480 1,464 3,800 320 ForceWare 285.88
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 (1,280MB) 732 448 1,464 3,800 320 ForceWare 285.88
  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti (1,024MB) 822 384 1,645 4,008 256 ForceWare 285.88

HEXUS high-end test bench

Processor Intel Core i5-2500K (3.33GHz, 6MB smart cache, quad-core, LGA1155)
Motherboard Intel Desktop Board DP67BG
Memory 8GB Corsair Vengeance (9-9-9-24 @ 1,600MHz)
Power Supply Corsair AX850W
Monitor Dell 30in 3007WFP
Disk drive(s) Crucial RealSSD C300 (256GB)
Chassis Corsair Graphite Series 600T
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit, SP1)

HEXUS high-end benchmark suite

3DMark 11 Performance and Extreme presets
Aliens vs. Predator DX11, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xAA, 16xAF, very high quality
Battlefield 3 DX11, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xMSAA, 16xAF, ultra quality
Batman: Arkham City DX11, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 8xMSAA, extreme quality
Crysis 2 DX11, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xAA, ultra quality
Just Cause 2 DX10, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xAA, 16xAF, very high quality
Total War: Shogun 2 DX11, 1,920x1,080 and 2,560x1,600 resolutions, 4xMSAA, 16xAF, high quality
Power Consumption To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record mains power draw both when idle and whilst playing Crysis 2
Temperature To emulate real-world usage scenarios, we record GPU core temperature both when idle and whilst playing Crysis 2
Noise A PCE-318 meter is used to record noise levels when idle and whilst playing Crysis 2
Overclocking Pushing the graphics card as far as it will go, we increase speeds and re-run the Aliens vs. Predator benchmark
HEXUS bang4buck A custom metric used to evaluate comparative performance with price factored in

Notes

The 15-GPU jamboree takes in a healthy dollop of the best PC graphics cards available right now. We've expanded the Radeon set by including an HD 6850, mainly with a view of evaluating the performance jump when moving to the model replacement, HD 7850. The also-new Radeon HD 7770 has been benchmarked at these high-quality settings to provide the best-possible picture of AMD's current- and last-generation GPU stack.

Comparisons

GPUs to keep your eyes peeled for include: Radeon HD 7870 vs. HD 6970 vs. GeForce GTX 570 - all three occupy the £250-£300 space. Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 7850 needs to make a compelling case against the HD 6950 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti and Ti 448 models.