PowerColor Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ Call Of Duty Edition Reviewccokeman - November 28, 2010
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The PowerColor HD 6870 PCS+ Call of Duty Edition is built upon the AMD HD 6800 series 40nm Barts core and is the top card in Powercolor's HD 6870 line up. The PCS+ versions signify that the card comes with enhanced build characteristics and a non stock cooling solution. In this case, a heat pipe based solution is used. In the past even a water block has been used on PCS+ series cards. That shows the commitment to cooling on this series since cool operation usually translates to a longer useful life span. The front of the card shows the shroud is a radical step away from the reference based cooling solution. The 90mm fan blows air down onto the heatsink's fin array to cool the cards with exhaust vents throughout the shroud. The back view shows that a mounting bracket is not used to hold the heatsink on but rather four individual spring loaded screws. You will also note that the VRM circuit MOSFET cooler is held on with push pins in lieu of screws. If you look at the card from the right angle it looks like a Can Am race car of years past. Not a bad look, but is it functional?
For connectivity you get the reference design options in the form of two DisplayPort 1.2 ports, a single HDMI port that supports the 1.4a standard and two DVI ports, one Dual Link capable and the other being single link only. With this configuration, the HD 6870 PCS+ supports up to a four monitor Eyefinity setup. The DisplayPort 1.2 standard supports daisy chaining monitors together. The back end of the card is vented into the chassis so you will want to make sure your chassis has adequate airflow.
This card, just like the rest of the 6800 series, is only capable of running Crossfire using two cards as this card is more for the upper mid-range gaming market and is priced accordingly. More than two cards are supported on enthusiast class cards. Not to worry though, as scaling is pretty good this go around when you add a second card to the mix. On the back end you get two 6-pin PCI-E connectors to bring in 150 watts of power in addition to the 75w brought in on PCI-E slot. This means you have enough power to feed the card with a little overhead left over for overclocking. The recommended power supply is 500 watts.
Getting at the heatsink and PCB requires removal of the shroud and heatsink from the board. There are a total of four screws that hold the heatsink over the core. After removal you see that the heatsink assembly is attached to the shroud. This comes off with the removal of another four screws, showing the fan is attached to the shroud. The VRM circuit has a copper colored heatsink held on the board with push pins and is a low profile design that fits under the main heatsink. In this area it benefits from the airflow through the heatsink.
The fan used on this video card is made by APISTEK and looks to be 92mm in size although a quick search did not yield any results. The part number is GA9202M runs on 12v and uses .28 amp while in operation.
Looking at the heatsink assembly, it looks similar to the one used on the ASUS EAH6850 DirectCU except that it uses an additional 6mm heatpipe on top of the two 8mm pipes and it does not use Heatpipe Direct Contact technology. The heatpipes contact the copper base to draw the thermal energy up to the fin arrays to be dissipated by the airflow from the fan both into and out of the chassis. With a cooling solution such as that used on the PCS+ you want to make sure your chassis has excellent airflow to vent the heat put back into the chassis. WIth a poorly ventilated case you may see a rise in component temperatures.
The 6800 series cards from AMD, including the HD 6870 PCS+ from PowerColor, are built upon the 40nm Barts core built by TSMC. This core is a redesign of the Cypress architecture to make it leaner and more power efficient while still operating at a specific performance envelope. The HD 6870 uses 1120 streaming processors, 56 texture units, 32 ROP units and 1GB of on board GDDR5 memory running through a 256-bit bus. The clock speeds on the PCS+ HD 6870 are increased over the factory default 900MHz to 940MHz, with the memory clocks being increased to 1100MHz from 1050MHz. Much like the reference cards, this one is equipped with eight Hynix memory modules, part number H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C, and are rated for operation at up to 1250MHz.
Seeing how this card is equipped, it should outperform the reference version of the HD 6870 and should have some overclocking potential left in with the enhanced cooling solution.