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Club 3D Radeon HD 7870 jokerCard 2GB review: undercover 7950!

New Radeon HD 7870 based on the Tahiti LE GPU

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Tahiti LE

You probably think that you've already seen all there is to see about AMD Radeon HD 7870 graphics cards, but the Radeon HD 7870 jokerCard 2 GB that Club 3D recently launched is something special indeed. That's because this video card isn't based on the Pitcairn GPU like the other 7870 cards, but instead the Tahiti chip that's traditionally been used for the high-end Radeon HD 7950 and 7970. That makes the 7870 jokerCard faster but not more expensive than the standard HD 7870.


The Pitcairn GPU that's normally the foundation of the Radeon HD 7870 cards has 1280 shader units and a 256 bit memory bus. That GPU is made with 28nm transistors, and has about 2.8 billion of them. The Tahiti GPU in the 7950 and 7970 cards have 2048 shader units and a 384-bit memory bus, and with 4.3 billion transistors this GPU is definitely more powerful.

Club 3D Radeon HD 7870 XT jokerCard 2GB

For its new Radeon HD 7870 jokerCard, Club 3D had AMD create a special version of the high-end Tahiti. AMD called it the Tahiti LE and imposed a few limitations. A quarter of the 2048 shader units were disabled, leaving 1536. That's still a lot more than what Pitcairn has. The memory bus was reduced from 384 bit to 256 bit, identical to Pitcairn. 

Clock frequencies also differ compared to the 'normal Radeon HD 7870 cards. The GPU of those cards run at 1 GHz with a memory speed of 1.2 GHz. The Tahiti LE has a GPU running at 925 MHz with a Turbo of 975 MHz, a little slower in other words. The memory speed is much higher, however, at 1.5 GHz. That's the same as the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. Based on those specs you'd expect that this unique Radeon HD 7870 card falls between the standard 7870 and 7950 in terms of performance. The chart below lists the specs side-by-side.

General
 
BrandAMDAMDAMD
Product nameRadeon HD 7870 GHz EditionRadeon HD 7870 XT (Tahiti LE)Radeon HD 7950
Product codeRadeon HD 7870 GHz EditionRadeon HD 7870 XT (Tahiti LE)Radeon HD 7950
DetailsProduct infoProduct infoProduct info
Specifications
Codename chipPitcairnTahiti LETahiti
InterfacePCI-Express 3.0 x16PCI-Express 3.0 x16PCI-Express 3.0 x16
Memory2048 MB2048 MB3072 MB
Clock frequency - Core1000 MHz925 MHz800 MHz
Clock frequency - Core (Boost)975 MHz
Clock frequency - Memory1200 MHz1500 MHz1250 MHz
Memory controller256 bit256 bit384 bit
Memory typeGDDR5GDDR5GDDR5
DirectX versionDirectX 11.1DirectX 11.1DirectX 11.1
Vertex Shader version5.15.15.1
Pixel Shader version5.15.15.1
Unified shaders1280 shading units1536 shading units1792 shading units
Extra power connector
Power connector type2x PEG62x PEG62x PEG6
Chip - Transistor count2800 mln4313 mln4300 mln
Chip - Production technology28 nm28 nm28 nm
SLI compatible
Crossfire compatible
Integrated H.264 video decoder
Integrated VC-1 video decoder
Maximum power usage (TDP)175 W185 W


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