Battle of the mid-range AMDs.
With the impending release of the $1k GTX 690 and HD 7990, let’s not forget those cards that are still fighting the mid-range fight and vying for our $350. When the HD 7870 launched two months ago it turned out to be pretty impressive. Today I’ll be looking at two custom builds of this card from both ASUS and XFX. Both cards have special heatsinks and also come factory overclocked to some extent.
ASUS HD 7870 DirectCUII TOP
The ASUS HD 7870 DCUII TOP continues the trend of their legendary DirectCUII heatsink that encapsulates some of their best engineering efforts. However, the HD 7870 isn’t the monster that comes in the form of HD 7900 series, so don’t expect an especially heavy duty heatsink. However, what we have here is more than enough to keep the Pitcairn chip running cool.
The PCB itself is 9.5-inches, while the V2.0 updated DCUII heatsink extends out to measure a total of 10.5-inches. The GPU itself is connected to the base of the heatsink, with three heatpipes extending well into the rest of the aluminum fins above. The whole structure covers the entirety of the board, keeping everything cool from the two 75mm fans pushing air downwards into the fins.
The two 6-pin power connectors don’t demand more than the regular HD 7870, requiring a PSU of 450W. In addition to the card itself, the HD 7870 DCUII TOP comes with the Drivers CD and installation guide, plus a CrossFire bridge, a DVI to VGA converter and a 6-pin power cable extender.
Overclocking the ASUS HD 7870 DCUII TOP was a fairly easy deal, with the voltage already maxed out at 1.3v, and factory speeds at 1100MHz Core Clock and 1250MHz (5000MHZ effective) Memory speeds. Compared to the reference AMD speeds of 1000MHz Core and 1200MHz Memory speeds, we already have an overclock of 10% and 4.2% respectively. I managed to bump up these speeds to 1257MHz Core clock and 1304MHz (5216MHz effective) Memory speeds. That’s 14.3% core clock and 4.3% memory speed increase compared to factory settings; a whopping 26% core clock and 9% memory speeds compared to reference AMD speeds.