Benchmarking AMD's 768-Shader Pitcairn: Not For Public Consumption

Impressions: Overall Performance, Power, Thermals

Overall Performance

Cumulative frame rates are often used to tally up overall performance. The trouble is that this approach doesn’t always allow a completely objective conclusion, since there are too many factors to consider. With several new driver revisions being released over the course of a year and patches making tweaks to the 3D engines, games are in a constant state of flux.

But here’s what we can say. In titles like Mafia 2, GTA IV, StarCraft II, and Batman: Arkham City, our engineering sample demonstrates performance in line with other Radeon cards based on the GCN architecture in these games. Consequently, we're confident that the overall picture being painted isn't being tinged by this board prototype status. It's a legitimate Pitcairn chip with a quarter of its shaders disabled, but otherwise fully functional. In many other benchmarks, the engineering sample turns out to be a good counter to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti, beating that card in several cases. Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 6870 turns out to be noticeably slower (the two exceptions being Batman: Arkham City and, to a much lesser degree, StarCraft II).

To sum it up, the engineering sample always does well when the fully-fledged Radeon HD 7850 shows strong as well, with performance scaling almost perfectly with the number of shaders.

The prototype in our testbed system.

Power Consumption and Thermals

Once again, since we’re dealing with an engineering sample on a pre-production board, we don’t think it’s fair to make any statements about the card’s power consumption or its thermal output. If you flip back to page two, you can find the maximum power consumption that we measured, but consider it in the context of a experimental piece of hardware that was never intended to be used on this board. The good news is that the Pitcairn engineering sample peaks out around 10 W under the HD 7850. Unlike the Radeon HD 5830 that actually drew more power when idle than the full HD 5850 from which it was derived, the engineering sample Pitcairn has no such problems.

As far as the single-slot cooling solution goes, we’ll follow up on this once we have a final sample of the card we were originally going to test. For now, we’ll just say that a lower power consumption also means lower thermal output, which should have a positive effect on cooling and noise, depending on the specific cooler, of course.

  • woe96
    i want one, that a amazing place in performance and probably only be $200
  • s3anister
    I would never buy this card for myself but I would find myself recommending a 1GB model, like you mentioned, to family and friends. If the price is right AMD could have a great mid range card.
  • wolley74
    while a nice card, the 6850 is incredibly close and nearly $60 cheaper, the only thing is it does consume more power
  • borden5
    oh man that single slot would be really nice for people who wanted small factor rig
  • slomo4sho
    Wouldn't 2 7750s in crossfire perform better than this rig and also consume less power at the ~$200 price point?
  • erraticfocus
    Slomo4shOWouldn't 2 7750s in crossfire perform better than this rig and also consume less power at the ~$200 price point?
    Maybe, depending on your local market, but the single slot and price point is the whole point to this...
  • Say hello to the AMD HD Radeon 7790.
  • pwnorbpwnd
    This card would be an AMAZING pick for an HTPC, Single slot, Low power, 2gb DDR3 for HDTV's, not to say 1gb wouldn't be okay. But really AMD, do it up! All of this positive feedback is great reason to make a crippled 7850!
  • weatherdude
    This card performs great and a 1 GiB version selling at ~$200 would fill in a very large gap in the market. It would only make sense if AMD is cooking up something they'll likely call a 7830 to do just that. I guess though it would differ from this engineering sample if they're so insistent that they aren't bringing it to market. Maybe it'll have less texture units or ROPs.

    Still this card with 1 GiB at ~$200 would be pretty sweet AMD *nudge* *nudge*.
  • Doesn't the 7770 have 40 Texture Units and not 14?