Not bad huh ? The entire 7000 series show respectable tweak and overclock performance. There's not a card out there that can't do another 10% extra on the GPU baseclock really. If you are luck and know how to do so, a 20% overclock seems to be do-able with the plain ol' regular stock air cooler.
Mind you that you need your variables right, that's adding cooling by increasing the fan RPM, increasing GPU voltage a tiny bit and overall to make sire you have a well ventilated PC. The downside, noise level will increase but we do expect to see many variants from the board partners with custom, and perhaps more silent cooling.
Not a bad result -- for two minutes work.
In the chart above you can see a handful of the game we tested with the overclocked and default results shown next to each other. That right there is the reality of overclocking.
So if you are willing to take some risk, and I do say this carefully as you need to be cautious, then voltage tweaking will be able to set a new level all by itself, I mean graphics cards running at 1200 MHz .. think about that for a second. Now we achieved 1125~1150 MHz on the graphics core at 1.25 Volts. And that is a great yield in term of overclocking alright. At 1.3V you'll close in towards 1200 MHz.
It once again re-establishes the fact that AMD did their homework right on the GCN architecture, a sound architecture that allows to be clocked at insane speeds, well hats off for that.
Okay, let me wrap things up, if you like to play it save then by all means forget about voltage tweaking. Just put the card at 1050~1100 MHz and be savvy with that.
Voltage tweaking does come at a higher risk of damage. Next to that your power consumption will increase a little, your temperatures will jump up which you'll need to compensate with better cooling. And I'm not even touching the topic of lifespan as yes, it can have an adverse effect on it as well.
So then, we'll not to make this conclusion any longer then needed, the Radeon HD 7870 is impressive at many fronts, the default product already has all bases covered. However we are pleased by the overclocking potential. Without voltage tweaking, it yields results in more performance while the surrounding conditions like TDP, heat and noise remain absolutely under control. That's free extra performance, at very little extra risk or annoyances. And that's just lovely.
If you like to go a little more extreme ... well you have a decent guide here in your hands with this article. Enjoy.
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