iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






PowerColor PCS+ HD7870 EZ Edition 2GB Graphics Card

Today we'll review a variant of Radeon HD 7870 from TUL (PowerColor), which is actually based on a bit different GPU and has unusual clock rates.


  • Model name: AX7870 2GBD5-2DHPPV2E
  • GPU: Radeon HD 7950 (Tahiti Pro)
  • Interface: PCIe 3.0 x16
  • GPU clock rate (ROPs/shaders): 975 MHz (the standard is 1000 MHz)
  • Memory clock rate, physical (effective): 1500 (6000) MHz (the standard is 1200 (4800) MHz)
  • Memory bus: 256-bit
  • Stream processors: 1280
  • Texture units: 80 (BLF/TLF/ANIS)
  • ROP units: 32
  • Dimensions: 267x111 mm, 2 slots
  • PCB color: black
  • Peak power consumption (3D/2D/standby): 171/57/3 W
  • Output connectors: Dual-Link DVI-I, HDMI 1.4a, 2 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
  • Multi-GPU mode: hardware CrossFireX (with identical cards only)

Comparison with the reference design, front view

AX7870 2GBD5-2DHPPV2E Reference AMD Radeon HD 7870

Comparison with the reference design, rear view

AX7870 2GBD5-2DHPPV2E Reference AMD Radeon HD 7870

The EZ design is simpler than the reference one. There are even 4 power phases instead of 5. From the unusual clock rates we can see the card isn't meant for overclockers hence the simpler design. Speaking of the aforementioned clock rates, this a rare case when the GPU clock rate is actually lower than the reference one. In fact, the GPU itself is not one advertised by the card's name. The die size indicates that this product is actually based on a severely pared down 79xx (Tahiti) core. The crystal is essentially a defective Tahiti core installed onto a PCB with a 256-bit bus. The memory clock rate is, on the contrary, higher than what Radeon HD 7870 has. Thanks to this, the card offers higher throughput and at high resolutions even outperforms the reference variant.

Since the GPU is actually a special variant of Tahiti, the card can only work in the CrossFireX mode with an identical card. It might also work with Radeon HD 7950/7970, but we're unsure.

The card has two 6-pin supplementary power connectors.

Maximum resolutions and frequencies:

  • 240 Hz maximum refresh rate
  • 2048 x 1536 @ 85 Hz max. analog (VGA) resolution
  • 2560 x 1600 @ 60 Hz max. digital (DVI) resolution (for Dual Link DVI-D)


The massive heatsink with heatpipes is located under a cover with a big fan in the middle. The memory chips have no dedicated cooling. Despite the maximum fan speed of 2000 rpm, the design and build quality almost eliminates noise completely.

Temperature monitoring results

We measured temperatures using the EVGA PrecisionX utility.

After 6 hours under maximum load, the top core temperature was 74°C. This is an excellent result.

Package contents

A basic package should include a user manual and a software CD.

The card comes with a basic package and no CrossFire bridge.


Performance tests


  • 2 x Intel Core i7-3960X (o/c to 4 GHz) CPU
  • Hydro SeriesT H100i Extreme Performance CPU cooler
  • Intel Thermal Solution RTS2011LC cooler
  • ASUS Sabertooth X79 motherboard on the Intel X79 chipset
  • MSI X79A-GD45(8D) motherboard on the Intel X79 chipset
  • 16GB of 1600MHz Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3 SDRAM
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.14 3TB SATA2 HDD
  • WD Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 1TB SATA2 HDD
  • 2 x Corsair Neutron CSSD-N120GB3-BK SSD
  • 2 x 1200W Corsair CMPSU-1200AXEU PSU
  • Corsair Obsidian 800D Full-Tower case
  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, DirectX 11
  • 30" Dell UltraSharp U3011 display
  • VSync disabled
  • AMD Catalyst 13.3beta3; NVIDIA Drivers 314.14


  • Hard Reset - DirectX 11.0, built-in benchmark, maximum quality settings.
  • 3DMark (2013) (FutureMark) - DirectX 11.0, FireStrike, Performance settings.
  • Aliens vs. Predator (Rebellion/SEGA) - DirectX 11.0, Very High settings, run from in game.
  • Nexuiz (2012) (IllFonic/THQ) - DirectX 11.0, built-in benchmark, maximum quality settings.
  • Crysis 2 Maximum Edition (Crytek/EA) - DirectX 11.0, Very High settings, Central Park level, launched with the Adrenaline Crysis 2 Benchmark Tool.
  • DiRT: Showdown (Codemasters) - DirectX 11.0, Ultra High settings, launched as follows: dirt showdown.exe -benchmark example_benchmark.xml.
  • Heaven Benchmark 2.5 Pro (Unigine) - DirectX 11.0, High settings.
  • Valley Benchmark (Unigine) - DirectX 11.0, Maximum settings
  • Metro 2033 (4A Games/THQ) - DirectX 11.0, Super High settings, PhysX disabled, run from in game.
  • Total War: Shogun 2 (Creative Assembly/SEGA) - DirectX 11.0, maximum quality settings.
  • Sleeping Dogs (United Front Games/Square Enix) - DirectX 11.0, built-in benchmark, maximum quality settings.

Total War: Shogun 2

Hard Reset

Unigine Heaven Benchmark DirectX 11

Aliens vs. Predator DirectX 11

Nexiuz (2012)

Unigine Valley Benchmark DirectX 11

3DMark FireStrike (2013)

DiRT: Showdown

Metro 2033

Sleeping Dogs

Crysis 2

Final thoughts

The capability rating compares each graphics card with GeForce GT 630, which is considered a baseline, or 100%. The rating is based on both synthetic and gaming results and shows, as the name implies, what a product is capable of.

The usability rating is obtained by dividing each card's capability rating by its price. It basically shows whether a given product is over or underpriced, considering what it can do, and thus how reasonable it is to buy it.

The complete ratings can be found in our i3Dspeed. Below are just the parts relevant to today's review.

Sorted by capability (high to low)

# Card Capability rating Usability rating Approx. price, USD
16 GTX 660 Ti 2048MB, 915-1030/6000 630 203 311
18 PowerColor HD 7870 2048MB, 975/6000 570 237 241
19 HD 7870 2048MB, 1000/1000/4800 560 216 259
21 GTX 660 2048MB, 993-1053/6000 530 221 240

Sorted by usability (high to low)

# Card Usability rating Capability rating Approx. price, USD
06 PowerColor HD 7870 2048MB, 975/6000 237 570 241
10 GTX 660 2048MB, 993-1053/6000 221 530 240
12 HD 7870 2048MB, 1000/1000/4800 216 560 259
15 GTX 660 Ti 2048MB, 915-1030/6000 203 630 311

In its part of the usability rating, the tested card placed first thanks to the attractive price. You can see that GeForce GTX 660 is overall cheaper than Radeon HD 7870, and has higher usability. However, the PowerColor's variant of Radeon HD 7870 is even cheaper.

PowerColor PCS+ HD7870 EZ Edition 2GB Graphics Card is a very attractive graphics card positioned very close to the top Radeons. It has a great cooler which is almost silent. The price is reduced by using simpler power circuitry and a rejected Tahiti die (those are very cheap). This greatly boosts card's usability.

This graphics card can be recommended to regular users but not overclockers. Although our sample worked stable at 1050 MHz core clock. You might think why won't AMD introduce something like Radeon HD 7930, but the difference between this product and a regular Radeon HD 7870 is still minute.

Write a comment below. No registration needed!

Article navigation:

blog comments powered by Disqus

  Most Popular Reviews More    RSS  

AMD Phenom II X4 955, Phenom II X4 960T, Phenom II X6 1075T, and Intel Pentium G2120, Core i3-3220, Core i5-3330 Processors

Comparing old, cheap solutions from AMD with new, budget offerings from Intel.
February 1, 2013 · Processor Roundups

Inno3D GeForce GTX 670 iChill, Inno3D GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards

A couple of mid-range adapters with original cooling systems.
January 30, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1

An external X-Fi solution in tests.
September 9, 2008 · Sound Cards

AMD FX-8350 Processor

The first worthwhile Piledriver CPU.
September 11, 2012 · Processors: AMD

Consumed Power, Energy Consumption: Ivy Bridge vs. Sandy Bridge

Trying out the new method.
September 18, 2012 · Processors: Intel
  Latest Reviews More    RSS  

i3DSpeed, September 2013

Retested all graphics cards with the new drivers.
Oct 18, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, August 2013

Added new benchmarks: BioShock Infinite and Metro: Last Light.
Sep 06, 2013 · 3Digests

i3DSpeed, July 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 and AMD Radeon HD 7730.
Aug 05, 2013 · 3Digests

Gainward GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 2GB Golden Sample Graphics Card

An excellent hybrid of GeForce GTX 650 Ti and GeForce GTX 660.
Jun 24, 2013 · Video cards: NVIDIA GPUs

i3DSpeed, May 2013

Added the test results of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 770/780.
Jun 03, 2013 · 3Digests
  Latest News More    RSS  

Platform  ·  Video  ·  Multimedia  ·  Mobile  ·  Other  ||  About us & Privacy policy  ·  Twitter  ·  Facebook

Copyright © Byrds Research & Publishing, Ltd., 1997–2011. All rights reserved.