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AMD Radeon HD 7870 And 7850 Review: Pitcairn Gets Benchmarked

Texture Optimizations And The Radeon HD 7000s

As we go through the benchmarks, you’ll see that the Radeon HD 7800s do an incredibly good job of applying Adaptive anti-aliasing to our Skyrim benchmark sequence. The numbers were so impressive, in fact, that we went out of our way to snap screenshots in order to validate the resulting image quality, too. As it turns out, they do; Adaptive AA on the 7800s looks similar to the Radeon HD 6900s, putting our minds at ease.

While we were scrutinizing those Adaptive AA results, however, we couldn’t help but notice that some textures appeared noticeably blurrier in the Radeon HD 7800 screenshots. We first assumed a setting had changed in the game or driver. But double-checking proved that wasn’t the case. Further investigation showed that the Radeon HD 7800-series cards match the Radeon HD 6900’s crisper output if the Catalyst A.I. texture filtering quality slider is moved from its default (Quality) to the highest (High Quality) setting.

So, to be clear, using the exact same 8.95.5 driver at its default settings, the Radeon HD 7800s deliver blurrier textures than the Radeon HD 6900s. Take a look:

The differences are not colossal, and you probably wouldn’t notice them during game play (we didn’t). But they're easily identifiable in screen shots. We don’t want to overstate the impact of what we’re seeing. But, on the other hand, we take reductions in image quality seriously because the slope is slippery, and we’ve seen this before.

This issue came up very late in our testing. We asked AMD for comment, but don’t have an official response as of yet. Moreover, questions remain: Are the Radeon HD 7800 cards enjoying higher performance as a result of an optimization? Could this be an unintentional bug? How much better would the Radeon HD 6900s look if we also bumped their Catalyst A.I. slider up to High Quality? We absolutely plan to answer all of those questions after we collect more data. And we’ll update the story once we get some more feedback from AMD.

  • hardcore_gamer
    Wow..7870 has nearly half the power-draw of GTX 570 and performs better . IMO this is the most impressive card in GCN line up so far.
    Reply
  • ilysaml
    Watch the benches well, the HD 7870 almost beating the GTX 580.
    Reply
  • alex3064
    what date is this 7850/7870 actually launched
    Reply
  • esrever
    AMD saved the best for last it seems. Although a bit over priced, these cards are amazing performance/watt with all the new features. Nice to see the 7870 take a few blows at the 580 in a few games. Can't wait to see what kepler can do as well!
    Reply
  • alex3064
    alex3064what date is this 7850/7870 actually launchedi mean when will it be launched in market
    Reply
  • theuniquegamer
    impressive performance of 7870 (i was disappointed by the 7770's performance )And what about microshuttering? Is it present in 7870 CF?
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    ilysamlWatch the benches well, the HD 7870 almost beating the GTX 580.
    Looking at the performance graphs, 7870 performs very close to 7950 which has 40% more SPs and a 384 bit memory interface. I think AMD reduced the performance of 79xx series on purpose so that they can release a better card just before the launch of Kepler.
    Reply
  • _Pez_
    the 7870 is quite impressive. O.O almost the same gaming capability of the 580 for 350. OMG!
    Reply
  • hardcore_gamer
    alex3064i mean when will it be launched in market
    It is there in the first page. "you won’t be able to buy the card until at least March 19th, AMD tells us."
    Reply
  • Onikage
    7870 is a sensational card !!! even at this given price!!!
    what a card !!!
    DAY 1 BUY !
    Reply