updated 12:30 am EST, Mon March 5, 2012
AMD rounds out Radeon HD 7000 with 7800 boards
AMD put the last touches on the Radeon HD 7000 line Monday with the Radeon HD 7850 and 7870 GHz Edition (links active soon). The two aim directly at the mid-range for gamers and are roughly twice the complexity of the 7700 line. The decision gives the 7850 and 7870 a respective 1,024 and 1,280 stream (visual effects) cores, 64 and 80 texture units, and a common 256-bit memory bus with 4.8GHz GDDR5 memory.
A stock 7850 board runs at 860MHz core and carries 2GB of RAM. Moving to the 7870 both gets the greater parallelism in processing as well as the GHz Edition's expected 1GHz core speed.
The two continue to share DirectX 11.1 and OpenGL 4 visual effects, 64-bit floating point support, and high-speed HDMI along with mini DisplayPort. Power consumption sits in the middle of the group at 190W peak for the 7870 and 150W for the 7850, although both use PowerTune to drop lower when idle.
AMD is straddling the designs between NVIDIA cards, with the 7850 aimed above the GeForce GTX 560 Ti at a $250 price while the 7870 at $350 is slightly more expensive than the comparable GTX 570.
Boards based on the Radeon HD 7850 and 7870 GHz Edition are expected in two weeks rather than immediately, as with past AMD launches. The timing is believed a deliberate two-week notice ahead of Hannover's CeBIT expo to make sure board partners can talk freely in advance. PC builders and possibly Apple could use the new designs in mid-tier gaming PCs and workstations like the Mac Pro.