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It wasn’t long ago that we covered the launch of the ASUS HD 7870 DirectCU II TOP graphics card, which brought affordable 28nm AMD GPU technology to the mainstream market. And while nothing has changed with that card and it remains one of the most viable 28nm options for us gamers on a more modest budget, ASUS engineers have been working hard to come up with a revised version. This one I’m told will be the one you’ll be finding in stores over the course of the year, rather than the part we looked at before. And that’s a good thing, because this is a beefed up edition. If you already got yourself a 7870, there’s no reason to feel bad or anything, as the new revision doesn’t take anything away from the greatness of your purchase. It does add to it though, but most likely not enough to warrant buying a new card! If you’re still in the market for some Cape Verde goodness, then please do read on.

This ASUS HD 7870 also boasts the cooler and quieter DirectCU II thermal design, and is likewise a TOP-selected variant, which means a higher grade GPU and instant factory overclocking out of the box. Quicker than reference and running at lower temps, this card is slightly better than stock in overall performance and much more inviting of exploratory overclocking.

If you look closely at the box, you’ll notice that the major difference with the revision is the addition of ASUS DIGI+ VRM digital voltage regulation, an architecture derived from the company’s motherboards. More precise voltage tuning obviously means better overclocking potential, but it also denotes a more resilient and heavy duty power delivery design, with tougher capacitors and chokes that can handle more heat and stress.

For me the biggest thing here is that the knight and warhorse deigned this revision important enough to come out from retirement for one more adventure, leaving their cocktails and beach towels behind for another go at the graphics game. I could never possibly have enough of these two.


Once more into the fray with the power of better voltage regulation!


And indeed, DIGI+ VRM is proudly displayed right on the cover, setting this revision apart from its predecessor. Again, this is not a night and day difference, but it does help, and if you’re looking to enter the 28nm era then this one is a more complete purchase than the earlier ASUS HD 7870.

Not much has changed on the back, which means this is a good opportunity to mention the card still comes with GPU Tweak, one of the most flexible and friendly overclocking/overvolting utilities out there.


Box me up some 28nm action, please


Inside the box, lots of foam keeps the card safe and steady as per usual with ASUS products.



Fabulous foam!


I’d like to look at the front of the card first, rather than the customary overview. Here you can see the difference compared to the original version, with added capacitors.


We have the capacity, we can rebuild it


This was the original HD 7870:



OK, now that’s clear we can look at the card from overhead, which is also quite obviously different from the first version, with more prominent heatpipes, which means more efficient heat removal and dissipation.


I'm a fan


Here’s the card we looked at before:



A glance at the side reveals the heatpipes and capacitors from a different angle. This is still a two-slot card that requires two 6-pin power connectors, so plan on a min 500W PSU.


Pipin' cool


I should emphasise once again that there’s no immediate need to rush to your nearest retailer if you already have a 7870 DirectCU II TOP card, as the revision is meant to offer new buyers or people currently considering a move into 28nm a perhaps more well-rounded proposition.

What do you think of the new features? Let us us know in the comments, and keep up the good gaming!









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