We like what PowerColor has done with the Radeon HD 7950, the PCS+ edition is a nice makeover. Granted, the reference model of the R7950 is already really good in every way thinkable, the PCS+ model however lifts the card towards a higher level.
Of course then, the danger lies in the price; if PowerColor can keep this card at say 375~400 EUR / 450 USD, then we think that would be a good balance of the performance versus features.
So let's sum up some facts. The PCS+ model is a relatively inaudible graphics card, temperatures stay below 65 Degrees C which is quite amazing. Power consumption really impressed us, with the GPU at 100% load our X58 Core i7 based AMD test PC was consuming merely 300W. When we input the variables and reverse calculate the TDP, we end up at a score of roughly 140W for this card, and that's impressive.
Gaming wise obviously you will not have anything to complain either, all modern games play perfect up-to at least 1920x1200 and higher. The 3GB memory is grand, but realistically only comes into play once you start to setup Eyefinity with at least three screens, as thats where memory starts to matter.
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 7950 in the enthusiast graphics card arena.
The default factory overclock at 880 MHz for the PowerColor PCS+ model is significant enough to make a difference. At that clock speed the product sits smack down in the middle of the R7950 and R7970 reference models. It doesn't stop there though, you can tweak the heck out of it.
Overclocking then, in our first reference article we did not voltage tweak just yet. However with our new Beta update of AfterBurner we can immediately apply a voltage tweak. We did so conservatively and put the GPU at 1.23V. The result of it all was a GPU that could be clocked stable towards 1150 MHz and that's 350 MHz above the reference baseline. Impressive as once again there seems to be massive headroom for overclocking just like it's big brother, the Radeon HD 7970. You'll find out that running the graphics memory in the 6000~6300 MHz range is not an issue either.
So yeah, we do expect to hear a lot of your success stories in terms of overclock and tweak experiences in our forums! Mind you that overclocking per card can differ. You might end up at 1000 MHz, some will even end at 1200 MHz.
The product as released by PowerColor and as tested today works out well. It has all the variables to become a successful product, we do need to observe first how the price level will work out though.
PowerColor did a truly nice job with the PCS+ model. The performance level is excellent, and much like the reference model we still have a smile on our face when we look at its low power draw. If you game at 1920x1080/1200 then this is a product we can very much recommend. Good performance, good looks with a nearly inaudible product. Pricing remains a little TBA though.
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