Yeah that is PGS .. (pretty good stuff). The Club3D Radeon HD 7870 Joker is really surprising in the sense that it is a 7900 series product tucked away in the 7800 series. I don't know other than to describe it as a castrated Radeon HD 7950 really. So when you look at it coming from R7950 then three things have an effect on performance, the first being that it has less shaders processors. Secondly the memory bus with is a 256-bit coming from 384-bit. And the third factor is a smaller framebuffer at 2 GB (3GB on R7950). Now all these things should bring down the R7970 Joker card significantly, but Club3D gave the card a base-clock of 925 MHz with a boostable clock to 975 MHz. And all these factors combined push the performance often very close to the Radeon HD 7950 series. The force is strong with this one.
Looks are important these days for any PC part, the Club3D Radeon HD 7870 Joker is a good looking card. A nice black PCB with a stylish dual-slot cooler give the product looks that honestly you can't complain about.
Noise levels & temperatures
Directly related to the cooling are the noise levels. Here we are little less enthusiastic, the CoolStream cooler is sufficient, but in its default state you will reach temperatures of just over 80 C degrees. That in the year 2013 is not that common anymore. Most cooling solutions offer a sub 70 degrees C temperature level for graphics card. Now cards are designed to cope with 80~85 Degrees C, so by itself is not an issue but we do feel it's on the threshold of what is considered acceptable these days. Tied to the temperatures are noise levels, in desktop mode (or an idle PC) the card is absolutely silent. Under full game stress the cooler however can definitely be heard. No annoying, but it's there continuously alright. So if you are a bit of an audiophile, that could be an issue for you. Overall though I'd label it as an acceptable cooling solution.
Albeit it's a 7870 product, the reality remains that it is using a Radeon HD 7900 and that makes the product a little more thirsty for the juice you need to feed it. Tahiti Boost capable GPUs eat a little more power as they are clocked higher and thus will also require a little more voltage. You are looking at 180 Watts under full stress for this product. But sure, these are acceptable numbers really if you take performance in mind, so that is not an issue. Obviously you need to add to that the processor, memory, motherboard and other peripheral devices but our recommendation stands at a 550 Watt power supply, even with a decent overclock that should be sufficient.
The Joker really is a castrated R7950 with Boost functionality and as such it offers great value for money. Combined with AMDs recent driver updates you'll gain a lot in terms of performance. A game like Crysis 3 for example in 1920x1200 at Very High Quality and FXAA will get you a level 30 frames per second, very few mid-range segmented cards can manage this. That is just excellent performance for the sheer amount of game image quality you get thrown at you. Hitman is another such a title that is demanding on the GPU yet offers such nice eye-candy, at 1920x1200 it offers a steady framerate 54 FPS, and that's with 2xMSAA and the quality settings set at HIGH Quality in DX11mode. Absolutely lovely. So overall the card is nicely in sync with today's games versus image quality versus a Full HD 1920x1080/1200 monitor resolution.
Overclocking then, we again notice good results. The two power headers indicate that the board is allowed to do a little more than usual. Coming from 925/975 MHz as base-clock, the reality is that we had it running stable at 1170 MHz with just a few tweaks. But here's what you need to do:
Increase power limiter towards 120%
Set Voltage at 1250 mV
Increase core clock frequency to 1170 MHz
And alternatively set your memory clock a bit higher.
With this tweak we just gained another 10~15% in performance. You have seen what that does to performance. And in hindsight from a reference 800 MHz going towards 1150 MHz, well a 350 MHz simply is impressive. But yeah, the card is fun to play around with in terms of tweaking.
I've already mentioned that the product has an MSRP of give or take 250 bucks. But when browsing at some etailers (here in the Netherlands) I was surprised to see this product already being offered at 205 EUR. That really brings in value for money as again the Tahiti LE core being used really does give this product an advantage over the regular 7870 cards. But everything is relative of course. But if you can pick it up at that price you'll get the two thumbs up from our side.
But let me finish things up. I really like the Radeon HD 7870 Joker card from Club3D. It's a 7950 in disguise really. Now the memory interface, memory partition and slightly lower shader processor count does make this card hard to explain but the fact remains that it is good value for money. With this card Full HD gaming at 1920x1080/1200 is not an issue with all the latest games, and that marks it on a sweet-spot. I'm not a fan of the cooler though; I am always very picky when it comes to cooling, then again Club3D needed to make some trade-offs as at 205 EUR the product is a bargain.
Great performance for a fair price. What more can you ask for ?
Club3D Radeon HD 7870 Joker review We test and review the Club3D Radeon HD 7870 Joker, this is the much discussed 7870 card that in fact has a 7900 series GPU, the Tahiti LE. For a fair amount of money this series 7800 product now offers 7900 series performance. Armed with 2GB of graphics memory it hits a sweet spot gaming performance wise and to date it one of the more popular products in the mainstream segment. Let's check out the Club3D Radeon HD 7870 Joker.
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