Sapphire HD 7870 FleX Dual-X 2GB ReviewBluePanda - June 25, 2012
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Now that we're done looking at the box and playing with all the "toys" it comes with, we can take the card out of its bubble house and see what it really looks like. You know it's a true Sapphire when you unveil it to see a wonderful blue PCB and a modern dual fan shroud design. From the top down, and looking at the top, you can see the two fans to push air across the components below. The fans have center stickers showing off the fact that this card is a FleX card – show it off. Flipping the 7870 over you can get a good look at the bright blue PCB. There are four simple, spring loaded, screws that hold the cooler to the GPU core – we'll take this apart a little later.
Taking a full profile look at the card we can get a better idea of what the Sapphire HD 7870 has to share with us today. The front side of the card reads "SAPPHIRE HD 7870" just to remind you and everyone what you have. The shroud comes down a bit to hide most of what may be underneath but makes for a nice appearance. The two 6-pin connectors are here on the side to give it some power in addition to the motherboard power; we'll take a closer look at these ahead. The back side of the card shows off some heatpipes. Two go one direction while the other two go the other direction. It isn't quite as fancy as a Vapor-X setup, but there is something to be said about seeing some copper pipes – I'm looking forward to seeing how it performs temperature wise.
The output end of the card looks a little empty with only four outputs – but you mustn't forget that you can use all four of these at the same time. Unlike most conventional cards, the two DVI ports can be used in conjunction with the HDMI output. Something about this just makes me so excited. There really isn't anything too super visually but there's plenty of cutout for heat to exhaust. The other end of the card gives a look at the fan connectors and some capacitors. If you look close you can see the fins from the heatsink, but the main point of this view is to remind you the power connectors are on the side of the card rather than here at the end – don't forget to give it some juice!
Taking a closer look at the power connections we've got two 6-pin plugs. That means this card can pull at most a total of 75 x 3 watts at full tilt; that's 225 watts altogether. That doesn't mean it will be constantly pulling that amount, but you want to make sure you have the right PSU to back you up here when you turn up the graphics a notch as the TDP is listed at stock speeds as 175 watts under full load. If you are thinking about Crossfire, be ready for the power surge. Okay maybe not really a power surge, but here's to adding one more new item of hardware to your shopping cart. Don't try to be running even one of these on that old 300W thing you've been calling a power supply if you plan on keeping your computer alive for more than a few hours past its first boot.
Overall it's just a good looking card. Up on end it looks like something worthy of going in my rig – I hope it proves itself in performance. The shiny reflection of the heatpipes in the golden PCIe fingers just adds value to the overall appearance and hopefully the numbers will back up the appearance.
One last blurb before we move on to the results… here are the tear down pictures post-testing. It's always nice to get a true visual as to what is hidden beneath all that aluminum and copper. The GPU is cooled by a very substantial heat sink with a copper base and four relatively beefy heatpipes. The memory and voltage regulators are cooled by a black aluminum heatspreader aided by the downdraft from the two cooling fans. The GPU core itself may look small but it really packs a punch within its 2.8 billion 28nm transistors. This variation of the Southern Islands line of GPUs from AMD sports 1280 stream processors, 80 TMUs, and 32 ROPs. The 2GB of GDDR5 is connected via a 256-bit bus and is rated for 1250MHz (Elpida W2032BBBG).