Power, Temperature, & Noise

Up next, we wrap up our look at a new video card’s stock performance with a look at the physical performance attributes: power consumption, temperatures, and noise. As we quicked look at in our capsule review, the HD 7870 OE manages to hit a good balance between all 3 of these attributes, leading to it being by far the quietest 7870 without making any compromises on temperature. Now let's further break down that data.

Radeon HD 7870 Voltages
Ref 7870 Load Sapphire HD 7870 OE Load HIS IceQ Turbo 7870 Load PowerColor PCS+ HD7870 Load
1.219v 1.219v 1.219v 1.219v

Note that unlike the 7900 series, we haven't seen any of the semi-custom 7800 series cards ship at a non-reference voltage so far, which means all of these cards generate a similar level of heat and consume a similar level of power.

Idle power is consistent with our other 7870s, as we'd expect. Load power is much the same story, as the milder 50MHz core overclock on the HD 7870 OE brings up power consumption some compared to a reference 7870, but not by quite as much a more heavily overclocked 7870.

The version of the Dual-X cooler on the HD 7870 OE proves itself to be quite capable here. At 28C the idle temperature is among the lowest of any cards we have tested, but load temperatures are also quite good. 66C under Metro means that the Dual-X is 2C cooler than the reference 7870, and even OCCT can only push temps up to 70C. This does end up being louader than HIS's IceQ Turbo, but the IceQ was anything but conventional.

Finally we have our look at noise, which is without a doubt the biggest payoff for the HD 7870 OE. The load noise level during our Metro 2033 benchmark was only 43.8dB; this is not only over 3dB better than any other 7870, but it's also quieter than the otherwise much lower power (and lower performing) reference 7770. When it comes to enthusiast level cards we typically only see NVIDIA reference designs hit noise levels this low, so it's a notable accomplishment.  Though for whatever reason - possibly an agressive fan curve - Sapphire's noise lead diminishes somewhat under OCCT; it's still the quietest 7870, but only by less than 1dB and it's no longer quieter than the 7770.

Portal 2, Battlefield 3, Starcraft II, Skyrim, CivV, & Compute Overclocked Performance
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  • silverblue - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    Why show a card that the 7870 has no hopes of getting anywhere near?

    The 7950 is there to show how close the 7870 is.
    The 7970 is there to show how much stronger it is than the 7950.

    I admit that I'd have liked to see the 680 there, but with the 7970 on the graph, I think you can work out where the 680 would come in most games.

    You're nitpicking and over nothing particularly important. You may have had a few bad experiences but there's no need to vent them in the comments section of a 7870 article. If you think AT is biased, go to Guru3D.
  • Spunjji - Friday, May 11, 2012 - link


    Dude, get a hobby or something. This site is in no way AMD biased.
  • Wreckage - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    No 680 in the benchmark? I would wait for the 670
  • antef - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    I was excited by the Final Words until I saw the almost-7950 price and 2 year warranty. No thanks.
  • Tunnah - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    are the ATI cards playing the same second fiddle to Nvidia their overlords do to the intel grand-daddies ?

    I know it's not such a wide gulf as between intel and AMD CPUs but it just seems Radeon cards are constantly playing catch-up against the much superior counter-brand.
  • kyuu - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    I dunno what you're talking about. For anyone not looking to spend half a grand on a (not-in-stock) GPU, which is pretty much everyone, AMD's 7xxx-series is the clear winner at the moment.

    If I were in the market, I'd probably be looking at a 7850. Great performance for the price.
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, April 29, 2012 - link

    I do know what you're talking about like the other guy does as well but won't admit it, and you're correct.
  • Galidou - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - link

    Hmmm I think your perception is really flawed, the wide gulf is really between AMD and intel's cpu. Nvidia and AMD's video card are never that far. Right now, AMD gets out a new cpu and it's hardly competing against last intel gen cpus.

    When AMD's and Nvidia's video card get to the market, you can see them all around in graphs. Look at intel vs AMD's cpu review graphs... all the AMD's cpu on the bottom, all intel on top... Currently, AMD's cpu performance compare to old core 2 duos almost... speaking mhz for mhz.
  • Galidou - Tuesday, May 1, 2012 - link

    The much superior, LOL man what you smoke is really good. You must be the hell blind... OMFG the funniest shit I ever had to read!!! Way to go blind fanboys, get some new high tech glasses so they can give your sight back to learn to read graphs... I don't know but... anyway.
  • plopke - Saturday, April 28, 2012 - link

    Why does this card come with 2* pci express 6-pin power connecter?

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