Typically I am a fan of the TwinFrozr III based products, but for whatever reason this cooler does not seem to work out for the R7870. The overall cooling performance was good enough, but once we started to overclock the temps quickly increased. Especially with voltage tweaking we stumbled into extremely high temperatures.
That brings us towards a related issue. At default settings the cooler is pretty darn noisy, not when the card idles but when the GPU is under hefty stress we measure 44 dBA which is a notch too much anno 2012. Overclocking or manually increasing fan RPM will only add to that noise level so that will handicap your tweaking experience quite a bit.
The retail price for this MSI Radeon HD 7870 TwinFrozr III is roughly 349$ though we expect prices to fall quite soon though, once it reaches the 300 USD marker the product will make the best sense.
For that money you get to play your PC games at 1920x1080/1200 really well though, at this resolution it's precisely there where the cards will show muscle and they won't be shy about the beefy and demanding modern game titles. Just set your image quality preference and the cards will push very nice framerates. If we look at the RTS genre with Anno 2070 at 1920x1200, we get a good 70 FPS on average with the product. That game is locked in at the very best image quality settings with 4x AA enabled.
Battlefield 3 then, here's where we enabled that near silly Ultra quality settings mode and 4x AA. Now granted, the R7850 is on the edge here with 32 FPS on average, but the R7870 is kicking it loud with 40 FPS. With our IQ settings and chosen level these are downright respectable numbers compared to other products in the same price range.
When you look at the overall package, performance, the new Eyefinity updates, PCIe gen 3 compatibility and all other stuff then we can only conclude that we happily embrace the Radeon HD 7800 series in the mainstream to enthusiast graphics card arena. For those that embrace multi-monitor gaming, it's for you guys that AMD decided to go for the 2GB framebuffer / graphics memory.
Overclocking then, as you have noticed from the reference article and now this review, the 7870 cards are tweaking marvels, your maximum with this cooler will roughly be 1200 MHz though. Voltage tweaking is an option with this model, you can push the GPU a little higher, however you will quickly stumble into the aforementioned noise issues.
A week or two ago we tested the HAWK series R7870, that product is a gem and the model IV cooler really works out well. The model III TwinFrozr cooler is rather noisy in combo with this product. The overall performance is decent enough, but NVIDIA's will give both the R7800 and R7900 series a hard time though with a product like the GTX 670 on the market which is merely 50 bucks more expensive.
Concluding, the noise levels of the TwinFrozr III leave a bitter taste in my mouth and is the ghost that will keep on haunting this product for me. Honestly I'd say put down the extra 20~30 bucks and pick up that HAWK edition instead (which has the TwinFrozr revision IV cooler and a lot more features and capacity). I have no complaints about the overall performance or build quality of the TwinFrozr III version though -- but noise is and always will be an issue for me. To others it doesn't matter, we know... but we always tell it like it is.
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