Though AMD announced the Radeon HD 7800 series nearly two weeks ago, it won’t be until Monday that the cards officially go on sale. While we’re still at work on our full launch article, our first retail card, PowerColor’s PCS+ HD7870, recently arrived and we’ve just finished putting it through its paces.

The PCS+ HD7870 is fairly typical of what will be launching; it’s a factory overclocked card with a heatpipe based open air cooler. PowerColor has pushed the card to 1100MHz core, 4.9GHz memory, representing a 100MHz (10%) overclock and a much more mild 100MHz (2%) memory overclock. Given the very high overclockability we’ve seen in the entire Radeon HD 7000 series, PowerColor is one of the partners looking to take advantage of that headroom to stand out from the pack.

We’ll have the full details on Monday, but for the time being we wanted to share a couple of numbers.

Compared to the reference 7870 The PCS+ HD7870 is faster and quieter at the same time, the latter of which is largely a result of PowerColor using an open air cooler as opposed to a blower as in AMD’s reference design. The 100MHz overclock adds a fair bit of performance to the PCS+ 7870, and for AMD’s partners this is a big deal as allows them to put more space between their factory overclocked models and stock models as compared to the less overclockable 6000 series.

As far as construction goes the PCS+ 7870 is a rather typical semi-custom 7870. PowerColor is using AMD’s PCB along with their own aluminum heatpipe cooler. As we speculated in our 7870 review, partners are using the second DVI header on the PCB, with PowerColor using a stacked DVI design here to offer a second SL-DVI port.

Finally, how’s overclocking? We hit 1150MHz core on our reference 7870. With PowerColor already binning chips for their PCS+ 7870 we landed a chip that could do a full 1200MHz, a full 20% over the reference 7870 and 9% over PowerColor’s factory overclock. And like the reference 7870 this is all on stock voltage – we haven’t even touched overvolting yet.

But what does 1200MHz do for a 7870? For that you’ll just have to check in on Monday when we look at our full collection of retail Radeon HD 7870 cards.

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  • Pantsu - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    7870 is shaping up to be the best card of the SI bunch. Let's just hope we get good competition from Nvidia on this front too. It could use a smaller price tag, but that goes for all the SI cards and probably GTX 680 too.
  • piroroadkill - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    We're talking about a factory 7870 that's faster than a 7950.
    This could be on the cusp of being the absolute new champion in price/performance.
  • Death666Angel - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    It will be in some games when core clock is more important than amount of execution units. But there will also be OC'd 7950, so....

    But the 7870 is great value.
  • StevoLincolnite - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    I don't agree they're great value.
    For the price of a 7870 you can get 2x 6870's in crossfire.

    Then again, the whole 7000 series is a bit overpriced for my linking, right now I really have no desires to upgrade from my 2x 6950 2gb cards unlocked into 6970's in crossfire.
    That and most games are targeted at consoles anyhow.
  • kyuu - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    Would people kindly stop comparing prices to two of some other card in Xfire/SLI. A lot of people, including myself, are not interested in two+ card solutions due to driver issues, microstutterting, heat/power, etc.

    Now, I don't disagree that the 7xxx series could use a price drop, but we won't be seeing that until Kepler provides some competition. Even at the current prices points, the 7850/7870 are still great buys for a performance single-card rig.

    One thing I don't get is why, with such headroom at stock clocks, AMD didn't push the stock clocks higher in the first place. Unless they're planning on releasing a refreshed line with higher clocks when Kepler comes out?
  • Tchamber - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    I agree, looks like the 7870 is the sweet spot. This will be a good upgrade from my aging GTX285.
  • chrnochime - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - link

    I still got a 4870 so you're better off than I am as is LOL
  • radium69 - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    4870? You must be joking. I'm on an Asus 8800GT :'(
    Waiting for kepler and price drops
  • wewter - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    i'm still using two 4870s -- xfire ftw hah!
  • adobepro - Friday, March 23, 2012 - link

    I'm on a PNY 8800GT 512MB Signature Card. Works great with Skyrim/BF3 at 1680x1050 on a Dell 2005FPW It's a very underrated workhorse single slot card. I like the power consumption of the 7850, but at a 105TDP, I'm still holding onto my 8800GT

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