XFX, as you probably know, only make AMD cards – meaning a lot of their business model is based on AMD making amazing GPU cores year on year. This, then, must be a bit strange when AMD delivered this GPU core to XFX for the first time, when they found it was literally just a 7870 core with slight heat and performance improvements… The card itself looks pretty nice, and – remarkably – keeps the incredibly hot GPU core pretty cool. It fits in the £100-150 price bracket, meaning this is the card a lot of people will be looking at for a first, relatively cheap gaming build. I think it’s placed well for the performance, as you can see in the later pages, and does well at being good value for money, despite the older GPU architecture.
The top of the card has two 90mm fans, which while not independently controlled, work well to be pretty quiet while dissipating the monstrous amount of heat given off by the card. The matte and glossy black works well to make this card fit in with almost any builds’ colour scheme.
The power connectors are, rather strangely, on the back of the card. While I have seen this on cards before, it was mostly super short cards that were the length of the PCI slot and no more, this one is pretty big still. It is around 9 and a half inches, meaning you need either nimble fingers or a lot of clearance as the ports on the back make it difficult to fit the card in some cases!
The rear I/O is comprised of a full sized displayport, HDMI and two DVI ports. Personally, I prefer this I/O set over Nvidia’s 900 series range, as this is a lot more common and allows you to use 2 DVI monitors without buying a single adapter! I would like to see two mini-display ports instead, but since the card can only drive 4 displays, it isn’t a big issue.
To cover what’s in the box briefly, as well as throw in a couple of aesthetic things about the card, here it is. For some reason XFX includes the MOST LEAFLETS EVER, with not only two marketing booklets about other products, but also a thick guide on HOW TO INSTALL THE DRIVER, A DRIVER DISK!!!!!, warranty info and MORE GUIDES!!!!!! I get a bit excitable, but seriously, if someone who has bought this card needs a guide on how to install a VGA driver, then god help them. Seriously. Anyway, aesthetically, the card has all the check boxes ticked, lots of matte black plastic, thick, visible (4) copper heatpipes and subtle XFX branding – but for me it doesn’t quite stand out as an AMAZING looking card. Don’t get me wrong, it looks good and if you had a windowed-sidepanel for your system you wouldn’t be dissapointed, but it just doesn’t have a huge wow factor. (Not that a £100-150 AMD card needs one..). Now, onto gaming and testing!