The truth of the matter is if you didn’t sit this card next to one of the 7900 series cards that we covered before you would have a hard time spotting the differences. The card is physically shorter, but this is still a fairly large card coming in at 9.5 inches long. Beyond the length and the name printed on the card there are two other ways to spot it. First you only have one crossfire connection, meaning this card is limited to two cards in Crossfire. Second you have two six pin power connections rather than an 8 and 6.
This is just a better view of the crossfire connection and of the cards name. I love that red strip that they use. A creative modder could easily remove that and color it to match their case.
Like I said before, two six pin connections for the R7870. The reference pre overclocked design requires about 175watts, this overclocked design shouldn’t be pulling much more than that. But you do still have a little bit of headroom for overclocking still with the two 6 pins.
Just like the R7900 cards, XFX has done a good job closing off the end of the card to keep as much of the hot air going out the back of your PC rather than inside the case. As you can see most of the bottom is open, so it’s not perfect, but it’s better than what some other heatsinks do.
The third difference between this card and its big brothers is a fundamental change in the cooling design. You can’t even tell without looking very close, but the heatsink on this card has heatpipes. If you look at the top through the fans you can spot them. This is different from the R7900 series cards that went with a vapor chamber design. I did speak to XFX about this and was told that this was due to a size limitation, but I would also imagine it’s also a cost consideration considering the cards much lower price.
Heatpipes or vapor chambers you still get that kick ass styling and the dual fans that everyone loved about the R7900 series cards. I love the black strip across the middle and the raised machined areas around the fans and on the XFX logo. It’s really a shame that you won’t be able to see any of it when its installed in most cases.
For airflow on the PCI slot cover you have XFX’s logo cut out inside the vent. This is a nice touch that no one else does. According to XFX this actually gives considerably more airflow than the stock design also. For connections you have both DVI connections, HDMI, and two mini display port connections. It’s nice to see that they haven’t dropped the second DVI port and gone to an HDMI adapter like some of the other manufactures. Personally I would like to see the two display ports go in favor of additional cooling, but without them eyefinity wouldn’t be possible.
Here is a good shot of the black PCB, it’s a nice touch, especially when combined with the Black Edition’s heatsink.