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Tahiti LE: A High-Powered Value Play

Tahiti LE, Tested: PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition
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We can’t help but feel somewhat ambivalent about PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition. But, after poring over benchmark data, the card's price pushed us over the edge on our decision. Before we get to the verdict, let's go over the reasons it was so hard for us to come to a decisive conclusion.

Why You Should Buy...

For about $240, you get a better card than the more familiar Radeon HD 7870, based on AMD's Pitcairn GPU. The HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition manages to almost catch up to the first-gen Radeon HD 7950 (without Boost functionality), which is more expensive.

Overclocking, even without a GPU voltage increase, makes this Tahiti LE-based board as fast as a Radeon HD 7950 with Boost. Although you could always overclock the pricier Radeon HD 7950 as well, the Myst Edition certainly offers better bang for your buck, particularly if you're on a strict budget. At the end of the day, you get a great deal on a card that’s more Radeon HD 7950 than 7870.

...Or Maybe Think Twice?

If you drove a Japanese compact car in the 1990s, then you already know that high revs are a great way to chew through a tank full of gas. Unfortunately, we see the same thing from PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition. Even without an overclock applied to its GPU, the card draws a lot more power than a normal Radeon HD 7870 based on the Pitcairn graphics processor. It even manages to shove its way past the Radeon HD 7950.

It’s no secret that Tahiti’s efficiency drops as clock rates go up, and the HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition shows us the trade-off between performance and efficiency. The noise level generated to keep the chip cool under load isn't among the worst we've heard, but it's not particularly quiet, either.

Bottom Line and Purchase Recommendation

Despite its high power consumption, the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition presents a really interesting prospect for overclockers and budget gamers alike. If you don’t have the cash for a real Radeon HD 7950 or a GeForce GTX 660 Ti, then the HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition sits in as an excellent alternative. The sole caveat of our recommendation shows up as a slight ding each month on our power bill. But we have to let this product's performance per dollar speak for itself. So, we’re giving the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition our Smart Buy award.

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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    EzioAs , February 11, 2013 3:28 AM
    Quote:
    If it cant CFX with a 78xx, it has no right to be called a 7870+ . Marketing name fail +1.


    I agree. AMD has already establish good model naming scheme (X900 for high-end gaming, X800 for mid-range, X700 for low end gaming) after the 6000 series. To be honest, I say it's stupid not to call this chip the HD7930.
  • 23 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 11, 2013 3:22 AM
    Isnt this review quite a bit late ? IIRC, the card came ~1.5 months back...

    If it cant CFX with a 78xx, it has no right to be called a 7870+ . Marketing name fail +1.
    The chip by itself is fine, though.
  • 16 Hide
    EzioAs , February 11, 2013 3:25 AM
    That's quite a short review. It's not anything I haven't looked at other sites. Anyway, at the current price, I really have to agree the 7870XT (Tahiti LE) are excellent cards.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , February 11, 2013 3:22 AM
    Isnt this review quite a bit late ? IIRC, the card came ~1.5 months back...

    If it cant CFX with a 78xx, it has no right to be called a 7870+ . Marketing name fail +1.
    The chip by itself is fine, though.
  • 16 Hide
    EzioAs , February 11, 2013 3:25 AM
    That's quite a short review. It's not anything I haven't looked at other sites. Anyway, at the current price, I really have to agree the 7870XT (Tahiti LE) are excellent cards.
  • 26 Hide
    EzioAs , February 11, 2013 3:28 AM
    Quote:
    If it cant CFX with a 78xx, it has no right to be called a 7870+ . Marketing name fail +1.


    I agree. AMD has already establish good model naming scheme (X900 for high-end gaming, X800 for mid-range, X700 for low end gaming) after the 6000 series. To be honest, I say it's stupid not to call this chip the HD7930.
  • 13 Hide
    Azn Cracker , February 11, 2013 3:48 AM
    Or maybe the 7950 LE since its pretty much the same card just slower.
  • 7 Hide
    hero1 , February 11, 2013 4:06 AM
    Azn CrackerOr maybe the 7950 LE since its pretty much the same card just slower.


    I agree with you on this one. Someone need to give these guys a call and tell them how it is. What a load of bs on their naming scheme. I would absolutely call this 7950 SS or LE!
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , February 11, 2013 4:11 AM
    where are the frame time benches?
  • 7 Hide
    FormatC , February 11, 2013 4:19 AM
    The frametime thing (in some games) was gone (more or less) with the latest drivers and I think that AMD will handle the memory now a little bit better ;) 
  • 3 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , February 11, 2013 4:27 AM
    If only some other manufacturers were making these, Power Color's cooling solution isn't that good, 37.8 decibels while Gaming is not quiet enough for me.
  • 8 Hide
    EzioAs , February 11, 2013 4:30 AM
    Quote:
    If only some other manufacturers were making these, Power Color's cooling solution isn't that good, 37.8 decibels while Gaming is not quiet enough for me.


    Sapphire has one too, I believe
  • 6 Hide
    shikamaru31789 , February 11, 2013 4:42 AM
    EzioAsSapphire has one too, I believe

    Yeah, I just now noticed it on Newegg. Not sure why I didn't notice it before, based on the reviews it's been on there awhile. Too bad it costs $20 more than Power Color's. Still a good deal even at $260, since this review indicates that it's almost as fast as the much more expensive 7950's.
  • 13 Hide
    FormatC , February 11, 2013 4:45 AM
    It makes sense to include the frametimes if I can show something abormal. If the result is as expected in the tested games... The article was written in the begin of December and published in German first and we all knows what AMD answered about the frametime problems. I'm always using the frametime analysis to proof my benchmark results.

    BTW:
    The Powercolor card was tested a little bit later due the new BIOS. Powercolor has stopped the launch to correct some problems (Club3D and VTX3D were delivered with older BIOSes)
  • 8 Hide
    ricardok , February 11, 2013 5:13 AM
    And please, don't forget to add the Catalyst version you guys are using..

    This time we are without that info. And please say that you did the test with the newest driver.. I fail to see why you guys kept testing with 12.10..
  • 3 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , February 11, 2013 6:18 AM
    should be 7950 Le (light edition). But good card.
  • 4 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , February 11, 2013 6:31 AM
    shikamaru31789If only some other manufacturers were making these, Power Color's cooling solution isn't that good, 37.8 decibels while Gaming is not quiet enough for me.


    I remember about 10-5 years ago 40 decibels was considered whisper quiet.
  • 4 Hide
    JJ1217 , February 11, 2013 7:49 AM
    shikamaru31789Yeah, I just now noticed it on Newegg. Not sure why I didn't notice it before, based on the reviews it's been on there awhile. Too bad it costs $20 more than Power Color's. Still a good deal even at $260, since this review indicates that it's almost as fast as the much more expensive 7950's.


    ehh? I grabbed a Asus 7950 for $230 in *Australia* brand new... I think they're trying to get rid of them since it was the faulty model (Which is easily fixable and since been replaced by the V2 version)..
  • 5 Hide
    sanilmahambre , February 11, 2013 9:02 AM
    SAPPHIRE should have manufactured these Tahiti LE cards with VaporX cooler
  • 2 Hide
    iceclock , February 11, 2013 9:39 AM
    very nice article, at the moment i find the 7870xt edition is one of the best bang for bucks card atm.

    since it gives a good performance for lower cost than 7950 or 660ti

  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , February 11, 2013 12:20 PM
    I don't understand the conclusion's comments: "if you cannot afford a real 660 Ti this is an alternative." Your benchmarks show this card AHEAD of the 660 Ti in average performance and individual performances, so this card is a better deal even if they cost exactly the same!
  • 4 Hide
    nokiddingboss , February 11, 2013 12:47 PM
    great card but it should have been named 7950 LE. they sure do know how to confuse customers.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 11, 2013 1:56 PM
    Id highly suggest buying this baby on NEWEGG as you get BIOSHOCK/TOMB RAIDER Games BUNDLED or BIOSHOCK/CRYSIS 3 BUNDLED for FREE. I'm also under the impression you get the boxed versions.

    Plop these baby's on ebay/amazon and your looking at a 7930-LE $240 for only $140
    DAAANNNG. ^_^
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