Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: Summarizing the Radeon HD 7800 series performance is fairly easy. Throughout our entire battery of benchmarks, the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition typically outpaced the Radeon HD 6970 and GeForce GTX 570 by a few percentage points, although there were a few cases where the previous-gen cards were able to pull ahead. The Radeon HD 7850 was generally able to outpace the Radeon HD 6950 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti as well, though again, there were instances where the previous-gen cards had a slight advantage like in AvP or Dirt 3. In newer titles that make use of tessellation and other DX11 features, the Radeon HD 7800 series usually fared better, but overall, performance was very good across the board.
The Radeon HD 7800 series is meant to supplant the Radeon HD 6900 series in AMD’s graphics card line-up. Looking back at the numbers, it seems AMD has executed well on that plan, as the newer Radeon HD 7800 series cards offered similar or better performance than their Radeon HD 6900 series counterparts, but with more features, markedly lower power characteristics and better acoustic profiles.
If you can find Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 cards in stock, they’re currently selling for approximately $340-400 (6970) and $250-$300 (6950). As has been the case with the entire Radeon HD 7000 series thus far, AMD has priced the new Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and Radeon HD 7850 right where they “can” be priced. The suggested e-tail price for the AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition will start at $349 and the Radeon HD 7850 will start at $249, when they begin volume shipments on March 19. Considering the new cards have more features, are faster, quieter, and more power-friendly, those prices are easily justifiable. But as we’ve said in the last few AMD graphics card launches, we wish the company was more aggressive with regard to pricing this time around. GeForce GTX 570 cards, for example, can already be found for around $330 and GTX 560 Ti cards for about $230, so NVIDIA doesn’t really need to react with price drops on their competing current offerings. We get the feeling AMD is pricing these cards where they can, at least until NVIDIA officially shows their hand with their next-gen Kepler-based parts. Hopefully, we’ll have some news we can share with you on that front in the not too distant future.
Regardless, AMD has been on tear with GPU launches and despite their less-than-aggressive pricing, the Radeon HD 7800 series appears solid. The cards performed well and they ran relatively cool and quiet. If you’re in the market for a graphics card in their price range, the Radeon HD 7800 series deserves to be on your short list.