AMD Radeon HD 7850/7870 roundup: 9 graphics cards with AMD's Pitcairn GPU

"Serious gaming starts here." With that slogan AMD launched its Radeon HD 7850 and 7870 graphics cards in March. It's actually surprisingly apt, since the HD 7870 can handle pretty much any game in Full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080), albeit not always at the highest settings.

Both the 7850 and the 7870 are based on the Pitcairn GPU, the middle of the three Southern Islands GPUs. This Pitcairn consists of 2.8 billion transistors and 20 compute units, which results in (20 x 64 =) 1,280 shader units. That's twice as many as the Cape Verde of the Radeon HD 7750 and HD 7770. The connection with the memory is twice as fast too, as Pitcairn has a 256-bit memory bus.

On the 7870GHz Edition, all of the shader units on the Pitcairn GPU are enabled, and the GPU runs at 1GHz. The card has 2GB GDDR5 memory running at 1,200MHz. The TDP is 175 watts, and on the back there are two 6-pin PEG power connectors. The card comes with a single Crossfire connector so you can combine two 7870s. Connectors consists of one dual-link DVI, one HDMI and two DisplayPort 1.2.

The Radeon HD 7850 looks identical to the 7870, but they are definitely different. The GPU has 1,024 of the 1,280 shader units enabled, which is 20 per cent less. The clock frequency has also been reduced to 860MHz, but the 2GB of RAM remains the same along with its clock frequency. The Radeon HD 7850 has a TDP of 130 watts, so only one 6-pin PEG connector is required. It also has a single Crossfire connector and the same number of monitor connectors as the 7870.

The DC2T in the name of this ASUS Radeon HD 7850 stands for DirectCU II Top, which means that it has a DirectCU cooler with two fans and is standard overclocked. This Asus card is a big boy, taking up three slots. You can read the rest of AMD Radeon HD 7850 / 7870 round-up on