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PowerColor Devil HD 7870 Review

ccokeman    -   July 18, 2013
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PowerColor Devil HD 7870 Testing:

Testing of the PowerColor Devil HD 7870 will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustments will be made to the respective control panels during the testing to approximate the performance the end user can expect with a stock driver installation. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 320.18 drivers while AMD-based cards will be using the Catalyst 13.5 beta 2 drivers and latest CAP profile. The results generated in my testing reached by utilizing the latest FCAT tools to illustrate the true picture of the gaming experience. To do so will require a second PC setup to capture the data stream generated by the compared video cards.

 

Testing Setup:

FCAT Capture Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

  • PowerColor Devil HD 7870: 1301MHz, Memory 1370MHz

Pitcairn-based video cards have been known to clock pretty well. As part of PowerColor's Devil series the expectation is there that this card should meet that expectation. That it does with a clock speed of 1301MHz on the core and 1370MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Those numbers represent an 18+% boost to the Devil HD 7870 core clock speed and a roughly 10% boost in the memory clock speeds. Reaching the maximum clock speeds required a voltage boost to 1300mv and boosting the AMD Power Limits to +20 while simultaneously setting the fan speed to maximum, giving the core and memory the coolest possible operating environment. Using a couple different utilities to overclock the Devil HD 7870, I found that PowerColor's own Powerup Tuner utility (Version 2.2.D0528) was a bit limited in the voltages it could apply. Ultimately this limited the overclock on the Devil HD 7870 so I had to look elsewhere to find the voltage the card needed. That being said I could use other utilities that allowed a higher core voltage to reach the final results. Outside of that one small software issue that should be an easy fix I found the utility flexible enough to use for everyday overclocking.

The core clock of 1301MHz is pretty stout but I felt the memory should allow a little more headroom but anything over 1375MHz would just crash the screen to gray lines or a black screen. You knew when the core reached its limits thanks to a healthy dose of BSOD. No failed driver message, just a hard lock then a BSOD. Once stable though, the card would run for hours all while staying relatively cool by comparison. All in all I have to say that boosting the clock speed with PowerColor's own Powerup Tuner utility or one of your choosing is a way to boost graphics performance. It has headroom and cooling to spare. Comparing the clock speeds to GPUs I have tested, the Devil HD 7870 has delivered the highest overall core clock speed while also delivering the lowest memory clock speed I have seen to date in my comparison data.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consisted of looping Unigine Heaven 4.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds failed when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment failed, then the clock speeds and tests were rerun until they passed a full hour of testing.

 

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro: Last Light
  2. Crysis 3
  3. Far Cry 3
  4. Battlefield 3
  5. Batman: Arkham City
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0
  7. 3DMark

 

  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption



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