PowerColor Devil HD 7870 Reviewccokeman -
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PowerColor Devil HD 7870 Conclusion:
PowerColor delivers a great package with the Devil HD 7870 and continues to bring interesting cards based on AMD GPUs to the gaming community, as seen with the Devil 13 HD 7990 and HD 7970 LCS+. What you get for your $259 is a custom built card with a 7+1+1 phase digital power delivery system built with high end components for improved reliability long term, as well as reduced power consumption. You get a great looking, dual slot, three fan cooling solution that is both quiet and easily cools the Pitcairn core without breaking a sweat. Topped off with clock speeds (1100MHz core and 1250MHz memory) that deliver playable performance when you crank up the eye candy a bit at 1080 resolutions. PowerColor's cooling solution on the Devil HD 7870 allowed this card to deliver the lowest idle temperatures of any card I have tested so far with load temperatures that compare well with other custom solutions. All thanks to its quad heat pipe/dual fin array, three fan-equipped cooling solution.
When you add up the custom PCB, cooling, and "Platinum Power Kit" digital power delivery, the expectation is that you are going to see some nice overclocking headroom. That the Devil HD 7870 delivered with a 201MHz boost up to 1301MHz on the 28nm GCN core and a 120MHz boost to 1370MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Both pretty respectable numbers for the hardware.
That being said the Devil is the first card in this round of comparisons to hit a 1300+MHz core clock stably. For an almost 19% boost in clock speed, the effort is worth the time commitment to grab that extra free performance. To help you out in that endeavor, PowerColor has its own overclocking utility called Powerup Tuner that is fully functional and features a Devil series skin to add some continuity to the branding. For the most part this utility does everything you will need it to with one exception for me; the maximum voltage that could be applied was in the 1.285v range while other utilities would allow 1.30v. Not a major faux pas as I have seen much worse. It does give the user that is afraid of kicking up the voltage to high some sense of security.
My one challenge with the card was how the shroud rattled when I maximized the fan speed during my overclocking testing where it would vibrate as the fan speed increased. After the initial annoyance and tear down I found a couple loose screws that hold the shroud to the heat sink. It took all of 30 seconds to fix and get back to cooling.
Priced at $259, the Devil HD 7870 is at the higher end of the price scale for Pitcairn-based video cards, however you do have some nice upsides including the cards construction, add in value with the gaming pad, and a free copy of DiRT Showdown via coupon. Add in the fact that AMD is supposed to have its frame pacing driver out near the end of the month and Crossfire may once again become a really viable option by putting two of these cards together in a dual card CrossfireX configuration for some 3-6 screen Eyefinity goodness.
Overall I like the package PowerColor has put together and represents a card that is well worth a look as you move to purchase a new video card to enjoy the latest games. It's not a low end or high end performer by any means, but one that fits just right in its performance niche for the mainstream gamer.
- Power Consumption
- Platinum Power Kit
- Powerup Tuner
- Good looks
- Included gaming pad
- Crossfire support
- Shroud noisy out of the box