CHIP DESIGNER AMD has announced its Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7870 graphics cards to complete its Southern Islands range.
AMD's Southern Islands GPU chips have conquered the enthusiast end of the market with the firm's Radeon HD 7970 and Radeon HD 7950, however for those that cannot afford the best part of £400 on a graphics card the firm has announced the cut down Radeon HD 7870 and Radeon HD 7850. A number of AMD graphics card partners, including MSI, Sapphire and HIS will offer these.
AMD's Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7870 cards are based on the 28nm Pitcairn GPU and have the same Graphics Core Next architecture that is found on the firm's high-end Radeon HD 7970 cards. The Radeon HD 7850 has 1024 stream processors with 80 texture units while the Radeon HD 7870 has 1280 stream processors and 64 texture units. Both SKUs have a 256-bit memory bus connected to 2GB of GDDR5 memory.
Sapphire opted to release two versions of Radeon HD 7870 and Radeon HD 7850. The 2GB Sapphire HD 7870 GHz Edition will, as the name suggests, have the GPU clocked at 1GHz while the 2GB GDDR5 memory be clocked at 1200MHz. The firm will also have a Sapphire HD 7870 GHz OC Edition with GPU and memory clocks slightly higher, though the firm didn't go into specifics at this time.
Sapphire will do the same with its Sapphire HD 7850, producing a Sapphire HD 7850 OC Edition. Both cards will feature 2GB of DDR5 memory while the clock speeds will be 860MHz and 920MHz for the standard and OC Editions, respectively.
MSI on the other hand has loaded its R7870 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC and R7850 Twin Frozr 2GD5/OC cards with cooling units that it claims brings the GPU temperature down by 15C compared to reference designs. Not to be outdone, HIS claims the cooler on its HIS 7870 IceQ X is up to 26C cooler than reference designs, while the HIS IceQ is merely 20C cooler with both cards running the GPU at 1GHz.
AMD's 28nm Southern Islands GPUs are well known for being immensely overclockable and the card vendors are playing on this with intricate cooling designs. If through overclocking the Radeon HD 7870 can get close to and even surpass stock Radeon HD 7950s then it could well become the card of choice in AMD's Radeon 7000 series range. µ