PowerColor Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+

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At first glance, it's obvious that PowerColor's Radeon HD 5800 series PCS+ offerings are quite different than AMD's reference design. Take a look for yourselves...

  

We evaluate both the Radeon HD 5870 and 5850 PCS+ in this article, but only have one set of pictures above. We've done this to keep image-clutter to a minimum and because the cards look essentially identical. The cooler's on the front are the same, everything is colored the same, and the PCBs are the same length. The only visible difference is that the 5870 PCS+ has some extra components in its voltage regulation module.

   

The cards feature dual DVI outputs, and HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, and of course support ATI's Eyefinity Technology, and dual 6-Pin PCI Express power feeds are necessary for operation.

Whereas reference Radeon HD 5870 cards feature an 850MHz GPU clock with 1.2GHz memory, PowerColor's Radeon HD 5870 PCS+ sports an 875MHz GPU clock with 1.225GHz memory--increases of 25MHz for each. The PowerColor Radeon HD 5850 PCS+'s overclock is a little more pronounced. Stock reference cards ship with 725MHz and 1GHz GPU and memory clocks, respectively, while PowerColor's PCS+ offering has a 760MHz GPU and 1.05GHz memory--increases of 35MHz and 50MHz.

   

Perhaps more interesting than the factor overclocks, however, is the PCS+ cooler. The cooler on these cards sports four, thick copper heatpipes that rest atop the GPU and curl upwards and outwards though an array of aluminum cooling fins. Moving air through the entire assembly is a relatively large 92mm fan. Quite simple, we love this cooler. These cards are always quiet and they run significantly cooler than reference cards. Whereas the stock Radeon HD 5870 typically idles with a GPU temperature around 42's and peaks around 87'C under load, PowerColor's PCS+ card idles in the mid 30's C and under load it barely tickles the 80'C mark. Same with the 5850 for the most part, although it's load temp was a few degrees lower.

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