The new Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition is targeted to users who want a high-end video card but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to buy one. Let’s take a look at its performance.

This new video card is based on the latest GPU architecture from AMD, dubbed “Graphics Core Next” or simply “GCN,” and supports the new PCI Express 3.0 connection and the latest DirectX version (11.1). For a detailed explanation of the new features present on this new architecture, please read our Radeon HD 7970 review.

AMD is also releasing a cheaper version of this video card, the Radeon HD 7850, which we will cover in a separate review. The Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7870 use the codename “Pitcairn,” which is an island in the South Pacific, matching the codename used for this new GPU architecture from AMD, “Southern Islands.”

At USD 350, the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition replaces the Radeon HD 6970, and competes with the GeForce GTX 570.

In the table below, we compare the main specifications of the video cards included in our review. The prices listed below do not include rebates and are for the models with the clock and memory configurations listed below. Prices were researched at on the day we published this review, except for the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, which is the price advertised by AMD.

Video Card Core Clock Shader Clock Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Shaders DirectX Price
Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition 1 GHz 1 GHz 4.8 GHz 256-bit 153.6 GB/s 2 GB GDDR5 1,280 11.1 USD 350
Radeon HD 6970 880 MHz 880 MHz 5.5 GHz 256-bit 176 GB/s 2 GB GDDR5 1,536 11 USD 350-370
GeForce GTX 570 732 MHz 1,464 MHz 3.8 GHz 320-bit 152 GB/s 1.28 GB GDDR5 480 11 USD 320-340

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our “AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table” and “NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table” tutorials. 

Today, only the LGA2011 Core i7 processors (“Sandy Bridge-E”) have a PCI Express 3.0 controller. Therefore, we tested the video cards using a Core i7-3960X processor on a motherboard based on the Intel X79 chipset. In our Radeon HD 7970 review, we discovered that, at this time, there is no difference between using a PCI Express 2.0 or a PCI Express 3.0 connection. We also discovered that if you are using a high-end video card, the CPU doesn’t affect gaming performance.

Now let’s take a complete look at the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition reference model.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.