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Sapphire HD 7870 or something better?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 20, 2012 12:13:35 PM


Hey guys,

I'm making a new build, details below, and I'm unsure about my choice of GPU. I'd originally settled on a Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB - seems to perform well on Tom's benchmarks and it's at a bargain £185 on Amazon. My thought is that since I'm only running one 1080p monitor this card should be able to shred anything I throw at it, at least for a year or so (at which point I can stick another one in Crossfire), but some people have suggested it might still be worthwhile jumping up to something better.

So two questions - am I aiming too low with this card? And if so, what would you recommend instead? Budget isn't really an issue, I just want the best bang for my buck.

Below is the build it's going in:


CPU: Intel Core i5-3570k

CPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev.2

Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme4

Memory: Gskill 8GB Ripjaws

Storage: Samsung 830 128GB
WD Caviar Green 2TB

Case: Antec Eleven Hundred

Power: OCZ 700W

More about : sapphire 7870

September 20, 2012 8:21:51 PM

probably the best bang for you buck too. I bought the saphire 7870 ghz version just the other day for only 255 dollars australian. Only 15 dollars more than the 7850 so i could not resist.

So far so good, blows the performance of my 560ti out of the water, especially in dayz.

Mind is still blown that I bought my card cheaper than what u pay for it on newegg. On top of that a 560ti still costs 240 dollars (asus version). Crazy good value.
a c 86 U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 8:27:19 PM

The best 7870 is the MSI Hawk. If that's not more expensive than your current choice, you might want to consider it.
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a b U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 8:34:04 PM

A 7950 is the best overall choice right now. If you can afford it, get it. Its better than anything 660 from Nvidia and is toe-to-toe with the 670.
a c 86 U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 8:40:14 PM

Smeg45 said:
A 7950 is the best overall choice right now. If you can afford it, get it. Its better than anything 660 from Nvidia and is toe-to-toe with the 670.


That is usually true, but it's also generally more expensive than most 7870s.
a c 176 U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 8:52:37 PM

Someone found a deal just the other day where a HD7950 was only $10 more than a HD7870; I saw the links. Sorry I don't remember the thread.
Otherwise, I agree that a HD7870 is a good deal. It is powerful enough for 1920x1080 on high to max settings, and doesn't need a monster PSU to run it. Unlike nVidia's Kepler, nothing about it (e.g. Compute performance) has been crippled.
Mine does a great job on Guild Wars 2.
September 20, 2012 8:56:49 PM

blazorthon said:
The best 7870 is the MSI Hawk. If that's not more expensive than your current choice, you might want to consider it.


The Hawk is only a few quid more than the Sapphire, and I know MSI has a great reputation so I'm definitely willing to stump up for that. The MSI Hawk looks like it's god mad overclocking potential too.

Looks like 7950s start at around £250, which is do-able but I'm sceptical about whether I'll see enough extra performance on one 1080p monitor to make it worthwhile. Will the performance/futureproofing make it worth the extra £50?
September 20, 2012 8:59:33 PM

Onus said:
Someone found a deal just the other day where a HD7950 was only $10 more than a HD7870; I saw the links. Sorry I don't remember the thread.


Good grief! Still, I might be more confident with a high quality 7870 than a bargain basement 7950.


Onus said:
Mine does a great job on Guild Wars 2.


Very important information :-)
a c 86 U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 9:11:18 PM

BiggestMunchkin said:
The Hawk is only a few quid more than the Sapphire, and I know MSI has a great reputation so I'm definitely willing to stump up for that. The MSI Hawk looks like it's god mad overclocking potential too.

Looks like 7950s start at around £250, which is do-able but I'm sceptical about whether I'll see enough extra performance on one 1080p monitor to make it worthwhile. Will the performance/futureproofing make it worth the extra £50?


Even a cheap 7950 usually has more overclocking potential than a great 7870 so long as it has a half-decent non-reference cooler. Whether or not it's enough to be worth the extra money would depend on the model. The Hawk would probably be a better deal except maybe for some of the hgih-end 7950s, but better deal or not, they're still usually much more expensive. Even at 1080p, you can simply raise the AA and a few other settings to make use of a faster card, but honestly, I think that I'd just get the Hawk in your situation unless a really good deal is found on a 7950.
September 20, 2012 9:18:48 PM

blazorthon said:
I think that I'd just get the Hawk in your situation unless a really good deal is found on a 7950.


Thanks, really helpful. Any idea what XFX cards are like? They're the only 7950s cheap enough to go for. Otherwise, I think sticking with the Hawk is the best option.
a c 86 U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 9:20:58 PM

BiggestMunchkin said:
Thanks, really helpful. Any idea what XFX cards are like? They're the only 7950s cheap enough to go for. Otherwise, I think sticking with the Hawk is the best option.


That'd depend on the model. XFX has some good cards, but with the 7950s... XFX has two models if I remember correctly. One of them is supposedly the worst 7950 available and the other is good. XFX is kinda inconsistent because they can have some of the best cards, but can also have some of the worst.
a b U Graphics card
September 20, 2012 9:28:51 PM

The 7950 has more RAM and bandwith and more overall grunt that the 7870. Its built on a different base. Personally you should also go for the very best GPU you can afford even if its slightly over budget so it can last as long as possible.
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