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Tahiti LE, Tested: PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition

Packaging, Features, And Pictures

Since the PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition’s packaging is mostly made out of cardboard, it can go straight into the recycling bin, which may nab the company points for being green, if that's important to you in a graphics card vendor. The only exception is the obligatory bubble wrap protecting the delicate card itself.

Aside from the Tahiti LE-based board, the box includes a very small manual and a driver disc. There are no power cable adapters, CrossFire bridges, or display I/O adapters in PowerColor's bundle. Most folks are probably alright without those extras, though we have had situations where adapters have saved us a trip to the store (particularly when dealing with DisplayPort-enabled devices).

Pictures & Features

The PowerColor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition features a clean and simple design dominated by a dark metal shroud and a 92 mm axial fan, mounted right in the middle of the card.

Three thick copper heat pipes on the top of the card dissipate thermal energy into the cooler's fins. Two six-pin power connectors provide up to 75 W each, giving the board a total of 225 W when you count its PCI Express x16 slot. You'll need all of that available juice if you plan to overclock. After all, a Radeon HD 7950 is rated for 200 W, and that's at its reference frequencies.

CHiL's CHL8225 digital multi-phase buck controller is in charge of voltage regulation, providing the data needed to monitor this card via software in Windows. The memory modules on top of the board are made by Elpida, not Hynix. Even at 1,500 MHz (6,000 MT/s), they’re perfectly stable and do not require any additional cooling.

One dual-link DVI, one full-size HDMI, and two mini-DisplayPort connectors enable up to four simultaneous outputs on the back of PowerColor's HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition. All four ports are on a single side of the dual-slot card, leaving a large vent for heated exhaust to escape.

That doesn't mean all of the air pushed through the heat sink by PowerColor's 92 mm fan goes out the back, though. A shroud covers much of the cooling solution, but doesn't completely envelop it. So, as with most other graphics cards with axial fans, some waste heat invariably makes its way back into your chassis.

The only real bad news here is that the GCN compute units on AMD's Tahiti LE GPU are fused off with a laser. There is no such thing as turning on disabled resources with a firmware update, unfortunately.