AMD balances Radeon deck of graphics cards

Mar 06, 2012 by Nancy Owano report

( -- Semiconductor company AMD has taken its story of having developed next-generation GPU technology offering a "gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking visual experience" for more elite, serious gamers over to mainstream gamers as well. AMD this week announced a pair of new graphics cards for gaming enthusiasts looking for affordable prices for features that rock. Namely, AMD yesterday announced its Radeon HD 7870 and 7850 video cards.

The two cards have a lot in common. They both are designed to compete with . They both support PCI Express 3.0. They both support CrossFire technology, which refers to ’s technology allowing up to four GPUs to be used in a single computer to improve graphics performance. They both use AMD’s Graphics Core Next Architecture, for “intense , and “breathtaking visual fidelity” in games. They both support AMD ZeroCore Power technology, which shuts down the GPU during idle periods. Both have 2 GB of GDDR5 GPU graphics memory .

Where the difference lies is clock speed, as well as price. The HD 7870 GHz has a 1 GHz clock speed, while the HD 7850 is clocked at 860 MHz. Prices will be around $350 for the HD 7870 GHz and around $249 for the HD 7850. Cards featuring the GPUs will be available from Asus, Diamond, MSI, and other AMD partners. Getting the cards to market gives AMD’s gaming partners selling points that they like, such as “gaming edge,” and enhanced experiences with the new AMD graphic cards.

Reviewers are saying that the new cards achieve a nice balance between performance and power consumption, meanwhile. General reactions by AMD watchers have been favorable, especially on grounds of power efficiency. The cards reportedly perform with relatively low power consumption, which translate into cooler, less noisy computers , which will appreciate. As Tom’s Hardware puts it, “lower power means less heat. Less heat translates to more conservative cooling. And that leaves the door open for gaming enthusiasts to enjoy quieter systems that go easier on the power bill.”

The other round of applause is accorded on price. For those who have been unable to afford GPU chips at Radeon HD 7970 and Radeon HD 7950 prices, the HD 7870 and HD 7850 cards will be attractive options. The cards are reportedly set to become available widely around March 19.

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More information: Press release

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User comments : 6

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1 / 5 (2) Mar 06, 2012
My 4870 still handles Skyrim and my 6gb of HD texture and mesh mods... I'd like to get a shiny new card with a bigger number but I can't justify it when what I have works so well still.
not rated yet Mar 06, 2012
I buy AMD systems to keep competition alive, but until AMD starts building graphics cards that can be used competively for distributed computing, specifically einstein@home and similar GPU-centric projects, I'll be sticking with Nvidea products like my GTX580. I sometimes play games on my system, but it's always crunching - 24/7.
1 / 5 (2) Mar 06, 2012
I had a 9800GX2 w/lifetime warranty that died. It was replaced with a 480GTX. I am well chuffed by that.
5 / 5 (3) Mar 06, 2012
I like AMD products and all, but is PhysOrg really the place to be reproducing marketing blurbs for computer products?
not rated yet Mar 08, 2012
I'd be very interested to see, particularly in a forum like this, some sort of report on say, OpenCL based GPU performance. Some sort of information regarding how well I might be able to crunch numbers with this card.
not rated yet Mar 14, 2012
The one at $250 looks like a very good price-to performance ratio for GPGPU - over 1.7 TFLOPS peak 32-bit, 2GB onboard with 158GB/s memory bandwidth (and that split amongst fewer cores than the higher-end models (though still over 1000)- the memory is usually the bottleneck, but not so much on this card). These also use a much faster PCIe 3.0 connection and I believe can more easily access main memory without processor intervention.

These will be great for memory and bus-bound applications needing maximum single precision performance per dollar. Also, the power use is lower than cards with comparable performance.