AMD's Mid-range GPUs Launch: Radeon HD 7870/7850 Reviewed

By on March 4, 2012, 11:00 PM

AMD’s latest generation GPU series is really starting to take shape now. Having been blown away by the performance of the Radeon HD 7900 series and then let down by the steep pricing of the HD 7700 series, we are keen to see what AMD has to offer with the new HD 7800 series.

Today marks the release of the 'Pitcairn' GPUs (code-name) which make up the the Radeon HD 7800 series. As you would expect the series consists of two GPUs: the Radeon HD 7870 and Radeon HD 7850, designed to occupy the ample $200 to $400 range.

Like its higher and lower-end siblings, the new HD 7800 series is built using the 28nm design process and is also based on AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture.

Read the complete review.




User Comments: 34

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bielius bielius said:

It is nice you ran many benchmarks! I really appreciate it!

Going to buy the 7850 as soon as it comes out in Norway.

Guest said:

From the looks of that heatsink none of the heatpipes are welded to the fins, coming from a HVAC background welding/soldering them to each other can exponentially increase the cooling capacity. hopefully the after-market cards employ this technique..

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The pricing still seems high... $350 was around the price for AMD's flagship card for the last few generations (6970, 5870, 4870 was even lower). A 7970 for $350 would make everyone REALLY happy

WaveZero said:

Yep I'm gonna so grab the 7870!

indiangamer said:

i will like to wait for kepler. then i will buy hd 7950 and if nvidia provides better performance for same money i will go with nvidia.and i think that amd will cut prices after kepler release.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

The 11% this and 7% that are very misleading.

The 7870 gives you 570 performance, period.

Nothing more, nothing less.

soldier1969 soldier1969 said:

Poor mans cards, meh. 2 gtx 580s 3gb versions in SLI is where its at, next up 2 gtx 680s this Summer for 2560 x 1600 res ftw.

RH00D RH00D said:

soldier1969 said:

Poor mans cards, meh. 2 gtx 580s 3gb versions in SLI is where its at, next up 2 gtx 680s this Summer for 2560 x 1600 res ftw.

I'm not sure why I'm even replying, as you're coming off as a die hard fanboy. But "where it's at" is your preference. AMD has great alternatives and equivalents to Nvidia's offerings.

Lionvibez said:

RH00D said:

soldier1969 said:

Poor mans cards, meh. 2 gtx 580s 3gb versions in SLI is where its at, next up 2 gtx 680s this Summer for 2560 x 1600 res ftw.

I'm not sure why I'm even replying, as you're coming off as a die hard fanboy. But "where it's at" is your preference. AMD has great alternatives and equivalents to Nvidia's offerings.

I agree what does his post have anything to do with the cards being reviewed.

And your bias is showing.

Guest said:

Aha, these cards are more in my region. I was tempted by the 7870 until I read the conclusion when it said the 7850 is nearly 30% cheaper, and only 14% slower. When the third-party versions with better cooling get released, that performance gap can be even smaller.

Guest said:

amd graphics cards are just a poor mans card compare to nvidias

Guest said:

Basically:

5870=6950=7850

Equal I will keep my 5870 for a year or more ^.^

Xero07 said:

7850 looks about right for the new system I plan on getting. thanks for the review.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

The new interface spec doubles its predecessor's bandwidth to 32GB/s. Unfortunately, no current processor or chipset supports this technology, so we'll have to test it down the road.

I thought that the X79 chipset from Intel (Sandy Bridge E) supports PCIe3.0 ? Am I wrong?

howzz1854 said:

my thoughts are the 78XX will be a nice "replacement" for last gen 69xx users.. but it won't be an "upgrade" consider it's price tag. just a month ago, you could get a 6950 for $225 on newegg. the performance increase for the 78xx over 69xx is just not big enough to be considered an upgrade consider their price tags. but if you're in for a replacement, it'll be a nice treat.

on the other hand the overclocking potential on the 7950's are on average 30~40%. mine site at a relatively 37% overclock increase.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

amstech said:

The 11% this and 7% that are very misleading.

The 7870 gives you 570 performance, period.

Nothing more, nothing less.

I really have no idea how you came up with that. How can stating the actual facts be misleading? Based on the 14 games that we tested with the Radeon HD 7870 was on average 12% faster than the GeForce GTX 570. There were just 3 games were it was slower and 11 were it was clearly faster. There were 3 games where it was more than 20% faster. Anyway again very strange logic there.

my thoughts are the 78XX will be a nice "replacement" for last gen 69xx users.. but it won't be an "upgrade" consider it's price tag. just a month ago, you could get a 6950 for $225 on newegg. the performance increase for the 78xx over 69xx is just not big enough to be considered an upgrade consider their price tags. but if you're in for a replacement, it'll be a nice treat.

on the other hand the overclocking potential on the 7950's are on average 30~40%. mine site at a relatively 37% overclock increase.

Its not an upgrade for Radeon HD 6900 series, its really more of an upgrade for Radeon HD 5800 series users. Still if you are happy to spend the money they are a nice upgrade for anyone with a slower card

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

Sweet! Amd does a great job afterall with their graphics cards. Now let's see what Nvidia has to offer. Who knows prices might come down because of competition

EXCellR8 EXCellR8, The Conservative, said:

Doesn't look like the 7870 is a good enough upgrade for me coming from a 5870. Just gonna have to sit and wait for the price to come down on the 7970...

Guest said:

Excellent card.

Now I have a reason to waste a ton of cash and play the two nice PC games on the market.

Ha ha ha.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

Can anyone answer this:

The new interface spec doubles its predecessor's bandwidth to 32GB/s. Unfortunately, no current processor or chipset supports this technology, so we'll have to test it down the road.

I thought that the X79 chipset from Intel (Sandy Bridge E) supports PCIe3.0 ? Am I wrong?

captainawesome captainawesome said:

Oh, TechSpot, could you PLEASE benchmark Mass effect 3 performance on these cards? Pretty please.

Guest said:

Would especially nice if there is a bios flash option as with the 6950 to 6970 as in from 7850 to 7870, either way AMD did a great job, I just about bought a GTX570 glad I didn't rather get a 7870 maybe even a 7850 and Crossfire down the road.

Jack Reacher said:

All I noticed was that the previous AMD Radeons, (6970-6950), did not fair so well against the "lowly" 7850 or 7870. That in itself either pisses me off or makes me want to grab a pair of those 7850's.

And for you Nvidia fan-girlies keep hoping. One day you're dream will come true and you will be able to run 3 monitors like the big boys.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Steve said:

amstech said:

The 11% this and 7% that are very misleading.

The 7870 gives you 570 performance, period.

Nothing more, nothing less.

I really have no idea how you came up with that. How can stating the actual facts be misleading? Based on the 14 games that we tested with the Radeon HD 7870 was on average 12% faster than the GeForce GTX 570. There were just 3 games were it was slower and 11 were it was clearly faster. There were 3 games where it was more than 20% faster. Anyway again very strange logic there.

my thoughts are the 78XX will be a nice "replacement" for last gen 69xx users.. but it won't be an "upgrade" consider it's price tag. just a month ago, you could get a 6950 for $225 on newegg. the performance increase for the 78xx over 69xx is just not big enough to be considered an upgrade consider their price tags. but if you're in for a replacement, it'll be a nice treat.

on the other hand the overclocking potential on the 7950's are on average 30~40%. mine site at a relatively 37% overclock increase.

Its not an upgrade for Radeon HD 6900 series, its really more of an upgrade for Radeon HD 5800 series users. Still if you are happy to spend the money they are a nice upgrade for anyone with a slower card

Don't listen to him Steve, he's just jealous he bought a 570 and not the 7870.

And really, look at those temps. Very nice card. I will sell my 560 Ti for this big boy. I was waiting for Kepler, but meh, I don't <i>really</i> need it.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Haha! "need"

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

LNCPapa said:

Haha! "need"

May I know what you find so amusing about it?

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Oh sorry... it's kind of funny because need really doesn't come into play when we talk about computers like this - it's all want really. I guess these are first world problems.

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

LNCPapa said:

Oh sorry... it's kind of funny because need really doesn't come into play when we talk about computers like this - it's all want really. I guess these are first world problems.

Actual need, and the overarching term "needs" usually associated to a nation's entire economic status, are two things that happens to be mutually exclusive.

To play next generation games, clearly you <i>need</i> a more powerful hardware to play such games. "Want" has nothing to do here. Sure I want it, but I don't need it. Or would my comment be less amusing to you if I had said I don't want it? That, on the other hand, indirectly implies I <i>can</i> afford it, but for an unknown reason I won't be getting it.

If that had happened then, to me, it would have sounded a lot like what you thought you read.

Just because I am in the position where I get to ponder, and make such decision, shouldn't be taken as an example of "first world problems."

Just like if, say, you live in New York City, and you find yourself realizing you don't necessarily need a car, you can commute to work just fine. Just because you live in NYC and you get to make such a decision, it shouldn't be automatically contrasted with how someone in Uganda can't make such a decision. Life is less complicated than that when you know your limitations.

Guest said:

Hey Walton fix your equipment, Crysis 2 max and a gtx 590 is only get 58 fps average at 1680? What planet is your test setup from? All your crap is running way slow. 7970 51 fps at 1680 max? No just no.

Staff
Steve Steve said:

Hey Walton fix your equipment, Crysis 2 max and a gtx 590 is only get 58 fps average at 1680? What planet is your test setup from? All your crap is running way slow. 7970 51 fps at 1680 max? No just no.

So you have never run the game in DX11 mode with the high resolution texture pack then? I could pull half a dozen reviews to backup my results but since I cannot be bothered here is one...

[link]

Note the 3rd graph which used the ultra settings, at 1920x1200 the 7970 rendered 54fps with motion blur set to low.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

Hehe - some people just don't pay attention to the settings... and of course it's easy to talk to you that way when they're "anonymous". It's all in the details folks. And Lawfer, you put way more thought into your post than I did mine. Just wanted you to know that I meant nothing negative by what I said, it's just an internal thing I've been doing to try to stop using the word "need" for things I want. Often, after I buy some of the stuff I get I ask myself, "Did I really need that?"

Guest said:

Great review. I think the 7850's are going to be the new crossfire favorites. Factor in their price, 1 power connector per card, their lower power consumption over the 5xxx and 6xxx series cards, and their decent scaling (from what little has trickled out on crossfire benchmarks) then compare that to the performance you get I think there are going to be a lot of happy gamers on that set up.

I am getting ready to buy a crossfire board now and a 7850 (to upgrade from my single 5770). I will probably get my second 7850 next year.

Guest said:

You are right but you are wrong. You need the central processing unit (the "brain" ) to also support PCi3.0.

I like the look of the 7850, but with some really strong cooling solution, maybe from likes of HIS.

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