We’re back with another video card review and this time around we have something from ASUS and AMD with the HD7870. This factory overclocked card packs ASUS’ DirectCU II cooler that promises 20% cooler operation and packs components that the company prides itself in for their sheer quality. We’ll see for ourselves how this card sets itself apart from other HD7870 offering and let’s make this showy!
ASUS is one of the most successful company in the PC component space. From motherboards, notebooks and graphics cards amongst other things, they have a wide range of products to cater to everyone. Earlier in the year AMD released the Pitcairn-based GPUs and have been nice enough to allow AIB partners to create non-reference designs during release date. ASUS jumped on the opportunity and slapped their DirectCU cooler on the HD7870. After a while though, ASUS upgrade the DirectCU cooler on their HD7870 along with a couple other improvements on the component side but clocks remain unchanged.We’re interested to see how these variant competes against a boosted GTX670.
|Graphics Engine||AMD Radeon HD 7870|
|Bus Standard||PCI Express 3.0|
|Video Memory||GDDR5 2GB|
|Engine Clock||1100 MHz|
|Memory Clock||5000 MHz ( 1250 MHz GDDR5 )|
|Resolution||D-Sub Max Resolution : 2048×1536
DVI Max Resolution : 2560×1600
|Interface||D-Sub Output : Yes x 1 (via DVI to D-Sub adaptor x 1)
DVI Output : Yes x 1 (DVI-I), Yes x 1 (DVI-D)
HDMI Output : Yes x 1
Display Port : Yes x 1 (Regular DP)
HDCP Support : Yes
|Accessories||1 x CrossFire cable
1 x DVI to D-Sub adaptor
|Software||ASUS Utilities & Driver|
|ASUS Features||DirectCU Series|
|Dimensions||10.47 ” x 4.25 ” x 1.54 ” Inch|
ASUS packages their HD7870 DirectCUII TOP graphics card in a large box with their boxart of a seraphim knight or whatever he is. The main highlight of the packaging is the DirectCUII cooler billed as 20% cooler. Compared to what you ask? The reference cooler of course. Along the front just above the product name are marketing images. One thing worth noting is that this version has the DIGI+ VRM whereas the previous model did not have this one so that should be one of the spots to mark when checking this card out to know if you’re looking at the new model.
The back of the box lists marketing bullets in multiple language with some large marketing images highlighted across.
Inside we have one large box and inside this box we have (SURPRISE!!), another box. The package includes the graphics card, a PCI-e power plug, a DVI-to-VGA converter, some documentation and a driver installation disc.
As a custom-cooled variant, the most distinct characteristic of this graphics card is its DirectCUII cooler: a dual-fan, dual-slot design which ASUS has been so proud of for some time now.
Three large heatpipes and two fans work together to drive air along the fin stack which extends a bit outwards to give the card some good airflow to assist in component cooling.
The HD7870DCUIITOP features two DVI connectors, an HDMI port and DisplayPort outlet.
Capcom’s Resident Evil spin-off title Operation: Racoon City puts us in the boots of Umbrella’s Delta Team comprising of their top operatives who get caught into the company’s twisted scheme in covering up their insidious activities.
STALKER: Call of Pripyat is an FPS title from GSC Game World. The game was released in 2010 but being a DirectX11, is still relevant in most applications. The game features a benchmarking tool to assess the user’s system, doing a 4-scenario test to fully simulate every in-game environment.
Another MMO installation in the storied Final Fantasy franchise, Final Fantasy XIV isn’t really the most hotly anticipated game but we’ll include it here since it has a nice benchmarking tool.
Sniper Elite V2 is a remake of the acclaimed original game from 2009 which puts the player in the shoes of a World War 2 sniper in the heart of Germany. With an updated game engine, the visuals are heavily improved. The game has a benchmark tool to assess how the game will perform on a preset scenario.
Resident Evil 5 sends players to uncharted regions as famed S.T.A.R.S. agent Chris Redfield.
Devil May Cry 4 show’s how Capcom still has love for PC gamers. Follow Nero and Dante as they hack, shoot and slash their way through countless enemies in style in this awesome fast-paced action game.
Battlefield 3 is one of the hottest titles of 2011 and continues to prove itself a worthy game. Based on DICE’s Frostbite Engine 2, this game’s lush details and visuals are just stunning but can really stress any modern GPU.
Unigine Heaven 3.0 is the latest iteration of the benchmarking utility for the Unigine engine. This benchmark stresses any GPU with options for DX9 to DX11 tests and boasts highly impressiveÂ tessellationÂ scenes.
We’ll keep the commentary thin since all of the graphs are pretty much head-on numbers battle between the GTX670 and HD7870 from ASUS. The HD7870 manages to get us very good framerates in our games and we really liked how it can easily go toe to toe on some of the games we have.
TEMPERATURE & POWER CONSUMPTION
To measure both power consumption and heat, we stress the video card and record the peak values for heat and wattage.Â Our test system consumes an average of of 243when the GPU is on full-load. Subtracting the idle wattage from this figure gives us 159which should be more or less give us a good idea of how much power the card consumes while working. These are measurements taken from the wall socket so its the wattage being drawn by the entire PC. Take note that these also peak values and not the average that these cards will consume. To compute how much power is being drawn by the card, we subtract the idle temps from peak temps and some 10 watts and we get a rough idea of how much power the card draws.
ASUS’s HD7870 pulls almost the same amount of power like the GTX670 but as we’ll see later, ASUS has an edge over the GTX670 from Palit. Also worth noting is that this card draws the least amount of power
And this is where ASUS’ pride, the DirectCU II cooler makes its presence felt. With an idle temperature of 36*C, it decimates the competition showing excellent cooling prowess at automatic setting which keeps the fan at only 30% of the max RPM. Bumping the fan control to manual at 100%, this card can go so far as 34*C during idle but the 2*C difference is negligible as the card becomes audible at this range. At max load, the card still gets the cooling advantage with 77*C at full load.EDIT: Props toÂ Icylightning1337Â for pointing our we’ve been measuring power and temps with FPS. God, we’re such noobs. Thanks, dude!
ASUS’ promises some good stuff when it comes to overclocking with this card. Now we won’t be putting much stock on the OC performance but we’ll touch on the subject just a bit to show you how much potential this card has.
If you look closely, we’ve already maxed out the memory slider and with only a notch of voltage boost, we’ve got another 150Mhz of juice from the core. We’ll show a bit of restraint and leave the experimentation to you the users but we really feel like this card can go so far with a few more voltage kick in the proverbial core nuts.
With superb overclocking potential, cooling prowess and impressive performance it’s easy to give the ASUS HD7870 DirectCUII TOP our recommendation but the card is so badly positioned in the graphics card market right now it’s hard to really recommend it with the HD7950 looming around the same price range. With AMD slashing prices off their entire HD7000 product line post-release of nVidia’s mid-range offerings, we expect ASUS to follow-suit and position their products the same way unfortunately we see the HD7950 also following suit which is still bad news for the entire HD7870 line. So much more for custom cards.
Still, ASUS’ HD7870 DirectCUII TOP is one heck of a product. We see it reach up to 1.25Ghz core clock and max out the memory clocks at 1.45Ghz and still have enough room to go up with only a 5% voltage boost so the OC potential is there all the while doing this at below 80*C which is simply impressive.
We’re still unsure what to think of the HD7870. It’s performing so well it’s already a sure-buy but given it’s competing with its bigger brother the HD7950, which already has its own merits, at similar price ranges the decision is just too hard (so hard in fact, this is my 8th revision for this segment.) If you have a thing for ASUS or the HD7870, then it’s a no-brainer but if you want the best performing card for your money, we suggest comparing prices first and until the latest price cuts take into effect before reaching your final decision. We still give the ASUS HD7870 DirectCUII TOP our Performance Award.