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

Tahiti LE: A High-Powered Value Play

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.

  • mayankleoboy1
    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.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    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.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    10449154 said:
    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.
    Reply
  • Azn Cracker
    Or maybe the 7950 LE since its pretty much the same card just slower.
    Reply
  • hero1
    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!
    Reply
  • where are the frame time benches?
    Reply
  • FormatC
    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 ;)
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    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.
    Reply
  • EzioAs
    10449161 said:
    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
    Reply
  • shikamaru31789
    EzioAsSapphire has one too, I believeYeah, 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.
    Reply