Summary: When I first saw PowerColor's HD 6870 X2 at Computex this year, I was quite sceptical. Could the company design their dual-GPU card without AMD's help? How would the card stand in performance? Now that the results are in, I have to say I am quite pleased with the PowerColor HD 6870 X2. The card is significantly faster than NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580, especially at 2560x1600.
Pros: Great performance, Good memory overclocking potential, Software voltage control via I2C, Native full-size HDMI output, Supports mixed multi-GPU configuration thanks to Lucid Hydra, Dirt 3 coupon included, Support for DirectX 11
Cons: High power consumption in idle, Multi GPU concept needs optimum driver support to perform well, Noisy fan in idle, Overdrive limits too low for memory, No support for CUDA / PhysX
Summary: PowerColor went all out when designing their HD 6870 PCS++. The card comes at blazing clock speeds of 975 MHz core / 1150 MHz memory, which are the highest available on any retail HD 6870 product at the moment. This clock increase helped the card gain 11% over the reference design HD 6870, which makes it as fast as NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 560 Ti. PowerColor has not only done well with their clock choice but their selection of components is also worth mentioning.
Pros: Large overclock out of the box, Extremely quiet in idle, Almost as fast as HD 6950, Volterra voltage regulator for software voltage control, Native full-size HDMI output, Two CrossFire fingers, Up to four active displays, Support for DirectX 11
Cons: Fan could be quieter under load, High power draw in Blu-ray playback, DirectX 11 relevance limited at this time, No support for CUDA / PhysX
Conclusion: Although AMD was denied the opportunity to roll out 32nm-based chips for this product cycle, they were able to go back to the drawing board with relaxed design rules for the 40nm process at TSMC. With one full year of volume production under their belts, they optimized this latest generation of GPUs for the current manufacturing constraints.
Conclusion: IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete.
Pros: Quiet cooling system, Performance on most games is excellent, 5850 performance levels at lower cost, Lower power than HD 5xxx, especially at idle, The VRM heat problem is fixed for good, Good price/performance ratio, Manufacturing quality is improved, Flexible output connections, Memory ICs are cooled by downflow fan, Afterburner support for I 2 C voltage control
Cons: Cooling fan profile is too slow, 20%, 38% normal range, Reference design is actually cooler under load, Tessellation performance still lags behind Fermi, Hot air from GPU stays inside cases with limited exhaust, The graphics industry completely missed the 32nm technology node
Conclusion: We like the PowerColor PCS+ HD6870 1GB GDDR5. The GPU itself is nice and is full of cool features that we like (DX11, Eyefinity, support for multiple connections, HD-sound support). The cards using the HD6870 GPU are priced around $230-250, which is a good price compared to both the GTX460 1 GB (which is cheaper at around $180 but much slower) and the GTX470 (which has the same performance level but costs around $250 and up).
Summary: PowerColor's Radeon HD 6870 PCS+ is the best HD 6870 card you can buy at this time. It comes with some of the highest clock speed available of all HD 6870 offerings. Even though the GPU clock is high this results in only about 3% performance improvement. What really impressed me is the low fan noise levels of the card which are substantially lower than any HD 6800 card we have seen so far.
Pros: Quiet fan, Improvement in performance per Watt, Overclocked out of the box, Low power consumption, Software voltage control, Native full-size HDMI & DisplayPort output, Call of Duty 2 Modern Warfare Coupon included, GDDR5 memory, HDMI 1.4 & DisplayPort 1.2 support, EyeFinity support - up to 6 displays with one card, Support for DirectX 11
Cons: High Blu-ray power consumption, Lack of 3-way and 4-way CrossFire support, DirectX 11 relevance very limited at this time, No support for CUDA / PhysX
Excerpt: 1 Flares 1 Flares × Powercolor have been one of the more active AMD partners in recent months, releasing many modified cards with custom cooling solutions for all sectors of the market. Today we are looking at their latest HD6870 PCS++ which is supplied with a proprietary cooler and substantial ‘out of the box’ overclocks.
Excerpt: 3 Flares 3 Flares × Well it was a long time coming, but finally we have a HD6870 with a custom cooling solution. Powercolor have just released the HD6870 PCS+ graphics card which is not only supplied with a rather sexy heatpipe cooler, but substantial overclocks.