AMD Radeon HD 7850 & HD 7870 Launch Review



Product: AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series
Company: AMD
Author: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: March 4th, 2012

Introduction

The AMD Radeon HD 7800 series is the third and final entry in the Southern Island series. AMD is pitching it as a replacement for the exceptionally popular AMD ATI Radeon 5800 series, the first DX11 card in the world and the one 28% of STEAM gamers still use. The AMD Radeon HD 7800 series uses the codename Pitcairn for its consumer design and, like the Cypress boards, there are two variants available at launch: Radeon HD 7870 a.k.a Pitcairn XT, and Radeon HD 7850 a.k.a. Pitcairn Pro. This is a preview launch, a paper launch, with actual card availability coming March 19th. AMD tell us this has nothing to do with yields or board supply issues, but to give most exposure to the product in a very busy month - Game Developers Conference and CEBIT are March events, and AMD wants the 7800 in the mix with all the other announcements. Make of that what you will ...

AMD Radeon HD 7870 1GHZ Edition
AMD Radeon HD 7850

AMD Radeon HD 7870 Specifications:

  • 28nm Pitcairn XT GPU using GCN
  • 1280 Stream Processors / 20 Compute Units
  • 2.8Bn transistors / 234mm2
  • 1GHz Engine Clock
  • 1200MHz (4.8Gbps) 2GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 256-bit Memory Bus
  • 153.6GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 80 Texture Units
  • 32 ROPS
  • 2ea 6-pin PCIe power inputs
  • DVI-DL + HDMI 1.4a (Fast HDMI supported) & 1 DisplayPort 1.2 outputs
  • DirectX 11.1 / OpenCL 1.2 / OpenGL 4.2 / C++ AMP
  • <3W idle (ZeroCore Power) / 180W typ. board power (PowerTune limit 215W)
  • $349USD SEP

AMD Radeon HD 7850 Specifications:

  • 28nm Pitcairn Pro GPU using GCN
  • 1024 Stream Processors / 16 Compute Units
  • 2.8Bn transistors / 234mm2
  • 860MHz Engine Clock
  • 1200MHz (4.8Gbps) 2GB GDDR5 RAM
  • 256-bit Memory Bus
  • 153.6GB/s memory bandwidth
  • 64 Texture Units
  • 32 ROPS
  • 1ea 6-pin PCIe power input
  • DVI-DL + HDMI 1.4a (Fast HDMI supported) & 1 DisplayPort 1.2 outputs
  • DirectX 11.1 / OpenCL 1.2 / OpenGL 4.2 / C++ AMP
  • <3W idle (ZeroCore Power) / 130W typ. board power (PowerTune limit 155W)
  • $249USD SEP

The pricing of the 7800 series puts the cards in the performance enthusiast sweet spot - traditionally defined at $200-300USD but, capitalizing on the success of 5800 series, stretching toward the $400USD mark. The cards are priced at $349 for the 7870 and $249 for the 7850, lining them up against the GTX 570 and 560 Ti respectively. Expect custom models and reseller markups to push the prices up by about $20 or more.

As you can see the Radeon HD 7870 is an AT 1GHz edition, like the HD 7770. Notably, the HD 7850 only requires a single 6-pin power input. Pitcairn looks to be the spiritual successor to RV770, with high performance/watt with a low absolute power use, given the segment.