Sapphire mITX and a Budget Tahiti GPUby Jarred Walton on January 12, 2013 2:17 AM EST
Like most graphics companies, Sapphire didn’t have anything major to announce at CES. Their suite was mostly dedicated to showing off their Mini-ITX Edge VS boxes, which were launched previously. The new addition to the Edge VS series is the option for a DIY box—you get the case, motherboard, power and have to supply the CPU, RAM, and storage. This is a nice alternative for those that like to roll their own, as pre-configured systems often make component selections that disappoint enthusiasts. Pricing should be around $300 for the barebones kit (don’t quote me on that—it’s merely an estimate), so with a moderate CPU, 8GB RAM, and an SSD you’re looking at roughly $600 for what could prove to be a nice little HTPC-type box.
Besides Edge, there are a couple interesting GPUs to discuss. First up is the low profile, single-slot HD 7750 offering, which is probably the fastest GPU you’re likely to find at retail in a low profile design. What’s more, Sapphire still offers the ability to drive up to five displays: two from the Mini-DisplayPort, one mini-HDMI, and two from the DL-DVI connector. It’s mostly aimed at digital signage, but I’m sure at least a few of our readers could find other interesting uses for it.
The other GPU is at the higher end of the spectrum: a cut-down Tahiti offering with 1536 cores. Full Tahiti in the HD 7970 has 2048 cores at 1GHz (or 950MHz in the original release); the trimmed solution in the 7950 goes with 1792 cores at an 800MHz clock, and Sapphire’s offering will have 1536 cores clocked at 925MHz (975MHz Boost); Sapphire also cuts the bus down to 256-bit, though that should still be fine for a lower tier part.
So what’s the name of the part? The HD 7930 would make the most sense, but apparently AMD isn’t playing that game and is requiring the part to be sold as a 7800 series card. Sapphire calls their card the HD 7870 XT, but it’s important to note that this is still a full Tahiti GPU in other areas and it should easily outperform the HD 7800 Pitcairn offerings (which max out at 1280 cores clocked at up to 1000MHz stock). Pricing should fall roughly in between the 7870 and the 7950, so it’s yet another option for the sub-$300 market.
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Robert Pankiw - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - linkAccording to the product page, the 7870 XT only has a 256bit memory bus, but Tahiti should have 384bit.
What gives? If AMD let them name it the 7930, would it have the larger bus, or is it not allowed to be the 7930 because of the bus, or some other similar reasoning?
Regardless, it looks like a really attractive sub-$300 card.
JarredWalton - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - linkI'm not sure on the bus; I would assume that's potentially the reason AMD is selling this harvested chip -- that maybe one of the memory controllers is flaky so they have to go with a 256-bit bus. Maybe that's also why AMD is requiring the part to be sold as a 7870 XT instead of 7930, but either way it's a decent looking card on paper.
funguseater - Saturday, January 12, 2013 - linkPeople will be more inclined to buy a high end "upgraded" 7800 series than the lowest tier 7900, even though its just a number. Check out the reviews it gets almost the same performance as standard 7870 just marketing hoodoo to sell imperfect 7900's.
Gc - Sunday, January 13, 2013 - linkFor double precision GPU compute, Tahiti has much higher performance than Pitcairn. According to specs listed at GPUZOO (http://www.gpuzoo.com/GPU-AMD/), the performance is very near the 7950.
160 GFLOPS DP, 2560 GFLOPS SP - 7870 GHz (Pitcairn)
710 GFLOPS DP, 2841 GFLOPS SP - 7870 XT (Tahiti LE)
716 GFLOPS DP, 2867 GFLOPS SP - 7950 (Tahiti)
761 GFLOPS DP, 3046 GFLOPS SP - 7950 Boost (Tahiti)
947 GFLOPS DP, 3788 GFLOPS SP - 7970 (Tahiti)
1024 GFLOPS SP, 4096 GFLOPS SP - 7970 GHz (Tahiti)
I wonder if these are measured LinPack numbers or theoretical maximums; I suspect the latter, especially the round numbers for 7870 GHz and 7970 GHz.
CeriseCogburn - Monday, January 14, 2013 - link
It has an Intel socket on board for the cpu right ?
I checked the whole article twice - still no clue here other than the absence of information.
Instead we get amd vid card promo.
Well amd cpu's suck so badly it's so embarrassing, we just couldn't say it's a mobile Intel cpu socket.... right ?
They have to hide that fact. They made the author cover up too.
LucianMLI - Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - linkYou can see in the 5th picture on the box it says it uses an AMD APU