Powercolor HD 5870 PCS+ Review 33

Powercolor HD 5870 PCS+ Review

(33 User Comments) »


PowerColor Logo

Last year AMD released their new Radeon HD 5800 Series of graphics cards which quickly became a big success due to the numerous improvements made over previous generations. Up to now all cards available from all manufacturers were reference design cards which means they were all made to the same specifications, using the same components and then a sticker was added on the cooler depending on the AIB.

Now Powercolor is one of the first AIBs to release a custom designed HD 5870 card that uses both a non-reference cooler and a non-reference PCB design. While this allows for considerable production optimizations and reduce manufacturing cost it also introduces the risk that the product might not work as optimally as intended by AMD.

Powercolor is actually going beyond the reference design specs and offers higher clock speeds of 875 / 1225 vs. 859 / 1200 on the normal cards. While not making a huge difference it should still give a little extra performance boost to the card.

HD 4870 X2
GTX 285
HD 5850
HD 5870
HD 5870 PCS+
GTX 295
Shader units 2x 8002401440160016002x 240
ROPs2x 16323232322x 28
GPU2x RV770GT200bCypressCypressCypress2x GT200b
Transistors2x 956M1400M2154M2154M2154M2x 1400M
Memory Size2x 1024 MB 1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB1024 MB2x 896 MB
Memory Bus Width 2x 256 bit 512 bit 256 bit 256 bit 256 bit 2x 448 bit
Core Clock750 MHz 648 MHz 725 MHz 850 MHz 875 MHz 576 MHz
Memory Clock900 MHz 1242 MHz 1000 MHz 1200 MHz 1225 MHz 999 MHz


Package Front
Package Back

Powercolor's package uses a clean design which does look a bit dull in my opinion, the front conveys all the important product highlights even though the + on PCS Plus (indicating overclocked) is a bit small.


You will receive:
  • Graphics card
  • Driver CD + Quick Install Guide
  • DiRT 2 coupon
  • CrossFire bridge
  • DVI to VGA adapter

The Card

Graphics Card Front
Graphics Card Back

Powercolor's cooler is huge and covers the whole card. You can easily see where the heat pipes are located that help with the heat transfer. However, in my opinion, it can not compete with the looks of AMD's reference design cooler. It should also be noted that the heatpipes add quite a bit of size to the card, which could cause a problem with the side panels in some smaller cases.

Graphics Card Height

Just like the reference design, the card occupies two slots in the system.

Monitor Outputs, Display Connectors

The card has two DVI ports, one HDMI port, and one DisplayPort. This is just one of many output configurations that are possible on the new cards, thanks to the overhauled display output logic. Basically the card can drive six TMDS signals that can be combined in any way (a dual-link DVI consumes two TMDS lines).

For HDMI Audio, NVIDIA requires you to feed an external audio source, for example from your motherboard's on-board audio, to the card via SPDIF cable. AMD on the other hand has integrated a sound device inside their GPUs which is the easier solution for most users. Also AMD's integrated sound device has been upgraded to support HDMI 1.3a which includes Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, AC-3, DTS and up to 7.1 channel audio with 192 kHz / 24-bit.

Crossfire configurations are supported to improve performance even further.

Graphics Card Teardown PCB Front
Graphics Card Teardown PCB Back

Here are the front and the back of the card, high-res versions are also available (front, back). If you choose to use these images for voltmods etc, please include a link back to this site or let us post your article.
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