PROS / The HD 7870 has low power consumption and high graphical output. It supports up to six displays, and the GPU is overclockable to above 1GHz.
CONS / This video card is somewhat dated and doesn't perform as well as newer cards.
VERDICT / This fast, high-end graphics card gives you a powerful gaming experience and uses less power than comparable cards, even when under a full graphical workload.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current top 10 about Graphic Cards here.
AMD has a long history of providing top-notch graphics cards for our graphics card comparison, and the Radeon HD 7870 is no exception. This high-end video card boasts a base clock speed of 1GHz, processing and rendering graphics faster than you can say "Fus Roh Dah!"
The HD 7870 uses 1,280 stream processors with AMD's Graphics Core Next processor architecture, more commonly known as GCN, and it has memory bandwidth of 153.6GB per second, providing decent speed and steady high frame rates that are optimal for playing graphic-intensive games, especially first-person shooters. However, compared with newer cards, 153.6GB per second isn't a particularly large memory bandwidth. This can affect gaming performance negatively at higher resolutions.
Like most high-end video cards, the HD 7870 has a long board and is double wide. This means that the card takes up two slots of room on your motherboard. It is 10.16 inches long, so you need to have a case with plenty of room to accommodate this graphics card and give it enough space to cool properly. The HD 7870 is Windows 8 ready and supports DirectX 9, 10 and 11. It also handles all modern formats of HD video, including H.264, without any problems, thanks to the Unified Video Decoder support.
One of the best features of the HD 7870 is the incorporation of PowerTune, a technology that automatically monitors the power draw of the video card and overclocks depending on how much power the HD 7870 is currently using. For example, the HD 7870 can use a maximum of 250 watts of power, but if it is only using 130 watts, then PowerTune boosts the clock speed up to the maximum. This intuitive control lets you enjoy enhanced performance and graphics without having to exit your program and manually adjust the overclocking settings.
You need to have at least two six-pin connectors and a 500-watt power supply to run the HD 7870. AMD's graphics team recommends you have four six-pin connectors available and a 600-watt power supply if you want to use a CrossFireX setup with two HD 7870 cards. AMD's ZeroCore technology is one of the outstanding features of the HD 7870. When your computer goes into idle or sleep mode, hardware, such as graphics cards, may still run at full capacity. ZeroCore drops the power usage of the HD 7870 to a mere 3 watts when your monitor sleeps and shuts down extra cards if you are running a CrossFireX setup. This saves power and reduces heat output and wear on your video card.
The AMD Radeon HD 7870 isn't the best graphics card on the market, but it is a decent high-end graphics card. With its superior processing speed and intuitive PowerTune feature that automatically overclocks the card when possible, you are sure to get the most out of your gaming and videos.