MSI HD7870 Twin Frozr III OC Review

Editor: Richard Weatherstone  Date: 29-04-12   0 Comment(s) - Join the discussion here
Specification


-1050MHz Engine Clock
-2GB GDDR5 Memory
-1200MHz Memory Clock (4.8 Gbps GDDR5)
-92 GTexels/s
-153.6GB/s memory bandwidth (maximum)
-GCN Architecture
-20 Compute Units (1280 Stream Processors)
-80 Texture Units
-128 Z/Stencil ROP Units
-32 Color ROP Units
-Dual Geometry Engines
-Dual Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE)
-256-bit GDDR5 memory interface
-PCI Express 3.0 x16 bus interface
-DirectX® 11.1-capable graphics
-OpenGL 4.2 support
-Partially Resident Textures (PRT)
-Ultra-high resolution texture streaming technology
-Image quality enhancement technology
-Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing
-Adaptive anti-aliasing
-Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
-Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA)
-DirectX® 9/10/11 Supersample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
-Requires AMD Catalyst™ 12.2 or later
-16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
-AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology2
-Up to 6 displays supported
-Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
-Display grouping
-Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
-Discrete Digital Multi-Point Audio (DDMA)
-AMD App Acceleration3
-Supports OpenCL™ 1.2, DirectCompute 11 & Microsoft C++ AMP
-Double Precision Floating Point
-AMD HD Media Accelerator
-Unified Video Decoder (UVD)
-H.264
-VC-1
-MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
-MVC (Blu-ray 3D)
-MPEG-4 Part 2 (DivX/Xvid)
-Adobe Flash
-DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
-WMV HD
-Video Codec Engine (VCE)
-Multi-stream hardware H.264 encoder
-Full-fixed mode: 1080p @ 60 FPS encoding
-Hybrid mode: Stream Processor-assisted encoding
-Enhanced Video Quality features
-Advanced post-processing and scaling
-Deblocking
-Denoising
-Automatic deinterlacing
-Mosquito noise reduction
-Edge enhancement
-3:2 pulldown detection
-Advanced video color correction
-Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
-Independent video gamma control
-Flesh tone correction
-Color vibrance control
-Dynamic contrast
-Dynamic video range control
-AMD HD3D technology5
-Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
-Blu-ray 3D support
-Stereoscopic 3D gaming
-3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
-AMD CrossFire™ multi-GPU technology6
-Supports dual-GPU performance scaling
-Cutting-edge integrated display support
-DisplayPort 1.2
-Max resolution: 4096x2160 per display
-Multi-Stream Transport
-21.6 Gbps bandwidth
-High bit-rate audio
-Quad HD/4k video support
-1080p60 Stereoscopic 3D
-HDMI® (With 4k, 3D, 3GHz, Deep Color and x.v.Color™)
-Max resolution: 4096x2160
-1600p60 Stereoscopic 3D
-Quad HD/4k video support
-Dual-link DVI with HDCP
-Max resolution: 2560x1600
-VGA
-Max resolution: 2048x1536
-Integrated HD audio controller
-Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
-Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
-AMD PowerPlay™ power management technology4
-Automatic power management with low power idle states
-AMD PowerTune technology4
-Intelligent TDP management technology
-Dynamic clockspeed/performance enhancement for games
-AMD ZeroCore Power technology4
-Ultra-low idle power when the connected display is in power saving mode
-Efficient low power mode for desktop work
-Secondary GPUs in an AMD CrossFire™ technology configuration power down when unneeded
-AMD Catalyst™ graphics and HD video configuration software
-Software support for Windows 7 and Windows Vista
-AMD Catalyst™ Control Center - AMD Catalyst™ software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing features of AMD Radeon products.
-Unified Graphics display driver - AMD Catalyst™ software enabling other PC programs and devices to use advanced graphics, video, and features of AMD Radeon™ products.


While the HD79XX series and HD78XX series of GPU's have different core names, the two cores are very, very similar in design. Similar to the way NVIDIA graphics card compute, the new AMD GCN archetecture has tiny 'cores within a core' - stream processors with each processor working on an instruction set until that work has been completed. This is the make up of AMD's GCN (Graphics Core Next) archetecture which is based on the same 28nm process as the Tahiti cores. There are 20 of these compute units on-board the HD7870 core equalling 1280 stream processors, 160 more than the HD6870 but quite a lot less than the 1536 the HD6970 possessed. Comparing the the HD7870 against the previous gen though is pointless thanks to the new GCN archetecture as even the mighty HD7950 had few more at 1752 and comparing the HD7950 against the HD6970 is like chalk and cheese.



Using the new Pitcairn core, the HD7870 comprises of 20 Graphics Core Next Compute Units (1280 stream processors) which is slightly trimmed down from the higher end 7900 series which has 32 CU's. With 32 ROPs and a 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface (equalling 153.6 GB/s of memory bandwidth), the specifications are twice that of the HD7770 GPU we reviewed earlier. The card also features a 9th generation tessellator which equates to the HD7870 being 425% faster than the HD6970 so programmes that require tessellation should so a big improvement over last generation GPU's.



AMD suggests that the HD7870's performance is expected to sit between NVIDIA's GTX580 and GTX570 cards which makes sense as this where the GPU's price point lies. As you can see from the slide above, the HD7870 has many advantages over its smaller sister card, the HD7850, namely the extra clockspeed and 16 TU's which enhances the remainder of the specifications by a fair margin. Both cards have the same 2GB of GDDR5 and 256-bit memory interface.

Let's take a look at the features of today's review sample...

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