PowerColor PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition Reviewccokeman -
Category: Video Cards
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PowerColor HD 7870 Myst Edition Introduction:
It's been about a year since AMD and its partners delivered the HD 7XXX series based on AMD's Southern Islands Graphics Core Next architecture. We saw Tahiti, Pitcairn, and Cape Verde-based GPUs filling out AMD's product stack to attack each price/performance point. Aggressive pricing cuts throughout the year added value to each of the offerings when compared to their NVIDIA-based competition. What we have here today is a card that comes with a unique twist to it from PowerColor: the PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition. A card that is equipped with PowerColor's PCS+ (Professional Cooling System) cooling system that runs up to 15% cooler and quieter, PowerColor's Gold Power Kit digital VRM that improves stability while increasing overclocking margins, and is Windows 8 UEFI ready for improved boot times.
Where you get a bit of unique beyond what you see in the cooling and construction of PowerColor's PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition is the use of the Tahiti LE core, a cut down version of AMD's flagship 28nm, 4.3 billion transistor GPU core. It's equipped with 1536 stream processors, 32 ROPs, 96 texture units and a 256-bit memory bus to handle the 2GB of onboard memory. Clock speeds come in at 925MHz (975MHz Boost) on the Tahiti LE core and 1500MHz on the 2GB of GDDR5 memory. On paper this should provide a performance upswing over the "Pitcairn" based HD 7800 series. PowerColor is one of a handful of companies delivering cards with this core. Priced at $259 or right between the $209 price point on the Pitcairn-based HD 7870 and the $289 HD 7950, the PowerColor PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition is poised to fill a gap and compete head on with the GTX 660Ti, both on price and performance.
PowerColor HD 7870 Myst Edition Closer Look:
The front panel of the package is visually interesting in that it catches the eye with a lot of bold coloring and an interesting design. On the front panel the highlights show this card is equipped with PowerColor's PCS+ cooling solution, is Windows 8 UEFI ready, has 2GB of GDDR5 memory, features a boost state, and is the Myst Edition offering. The back panel goes into detail on the heat pipe Direct Contact PCS+ Cooling solution and how it is constructed, and PowerColor's GoldPower kit digital VRM that features a digital PWM controller, lower RDSon DrMos, and ferrite core chokes. Down the left side are the basic specifications of the HD 7870.
Inside the outer skin is a plain cardboard box that holds the PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition securely during transit. The accessory bundle is in the top section of the package while the video card is in a buble wrap, antistatic bag.
The accessory bundle that comes with the PowerColor PCS+ HD 7870 Myst Edition is slim by any definition. You get the manual, driver disk, and a Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. When purchased the current deal includes the game Far Cry 3 as an added bonus.
All things point to a card that should have some performance upside with a low ball price. Let's dig into the make up of PowerColor's hybrid beast for the mid range.