AMD's taken the wraps off the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and HD 7850 graphics cards today, both of which are based on its 28nm Pitcairn architecture with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM. The key difference between the two is the clock speed — the HD 7850 runs at 800MHz rather than the 1GHz of the HD 7870 GHz. For those of you feeling that any of this seems familiar, we covered the launch of the similarly titled HD 7770 GHz Edition and HD 7750 last month, though the Pitcairn architecture offers double the ROPs, compute units, geometry engines, and memory bandwidth of the Cape Verde cards. The newer cards are set to occupy the midrange of AMD's new line, but how do they perform?
Several hardware review sites have spent time with the cards, comparing them with last generation's flagship HD 6970 and HD 6950, as well as Nvidia's GeForce GTX 570 and GTX 560 Ti. The Tech Report's tests showed that the HD 7870 GHz and HD 7850 offered the best performance of the group, though Anandtech questioned whether the $50 premium really made the HD 7850 better value than the GTX 560 Ti. Tom's Hardware had a number of issues with the HD 7850, though came away highly impressed with the HD 7870 GHz, saying that it offers similar performance to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 580 for around $120 less. HardOCP came away feeling similarly — the HD 7870 GHz offers a compelling card for the money, but the HD 7850 is underpowered.
The pricing's substantially higher than the HD 7770 GHz and HD 7750, with the HD 7870 GHz coming in at $350 and the HD 7850 costing $250. If you want to get your hands on them, though, you'll be waiting for a couple of weeks — AMD says that the cards will be released after CeBIT and GDC on Monday the 19th of March.