PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 Myst Edition Crossfire Reviewccokeman -
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PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 Myst Edition Crossfire Conclusion:
After looking at this card in a single GPU configuration back in January, it is interesting to see how and if this card has improved much in that time frame. Tucked into the product stack between the HD 7870 (Pitcairn) and HD 7950 (Tahiti), it seems that this card was built in limited quantities to fill this performance gap occupied by the GTX 660Ti. When you look at the hardware you get a Tahiti LE core that is less efficient than the Pitcairn core causing the power consumption and thermals to be higher than they should be on this GPU. The three heat pipe, direct contact design does cool the core decently enough with temperatures trending a bit higher than I saw with the single card but still acceptable at 81 °C stock and 76 °C overclocked (fan at 100%). Overclocking was not as good as on the single GPU I tested but still came in with respectable numbers that deliver higher FPS results or increased image quality settings.
Visually the PowerColor HD 7870 Myst Edition is a good looking card using a black PCB equipped with PowerColor's own "Gold Power Kit" VRM components on board. The Myst Edition card uses a custom designed PCS+ direct contact heat pipe cooling system that is visible underneath the shroud. This gives the card some added visual appeal when looking at it through the side window when installed in the chassis.
When you look at the performance generated by a pair of PowerColor's HD 7870 Myst Edition cards, it's hard not to be impressed when you look at the FRAPS-based testing. Especially when you look at the performance at 5760x1080 where the narrower memory bus on the GTX 660Ti limits the bandwidth hampering performance. The FCAT testing paints a different picture of the Crossfire performance of the HD 7870 Myst Edition. Let me say up front it's not a hardware problem but a software problem that AMD hopes to have resolved as early as in June with its own frame metering driver. The hardware is capable enough but the software side has let the Crossfire experience down on the HD 7870 Myst Edition. In terms of game play the worst feel in game was by far in the Far Cry 3 testing where the game was just chugging along with visual anomalies that are present even when run in single card mode. It's got to be purely driver related at this point with the FCAT data backing it up.
Pricing has improved on the PowerColor HD 7870 Myst Edition from the last time I looked at it and is now down another $10 to $229 each after rebates. Or to put it in other terms right about the same price as an HD 7970 GHz Edition card. At this point Crossfire performance is still not up to par although you see excellent scaling when measuring with FRAPS. I remember my first Crossfire setup with a pair of 1900XTs; I had driver issues then and as of now I am still waiting for the magic bullet that fixes the Crossfire woes.
As a single card the HD 7870 Myst edition is a great GPU that fits the price and performance points it is intended to fill. It offers better cooling and VRM components when compared to reference cards and just plain looks better overall. Even though Crossfire as a technology has its problems there is no doubt that many games are still playable at frame rates above what you see from a single card. In that respect if you have one of these Tahiti LE-based cards and want to improve gaming performance in games that are Crossfire optimized then spending another $229 will get you to the next level.
- Non-stock cooling
- Gold Power Kit
- Power consumption