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Pros: It performs great in BF3 and SWTOR (the only 2 games I've been bothering to play that are new). 12.10 drivers haven't given me any problems with it.
It looks bigger in the pictures, and it has 2 6 pin connectors that are easy to manage (plugging in and unplugging).
The fan if anything is too efficient *see cons.*
I prefer rear exhaust fans, and this was seemingly the only choice of the other 7870s.
It's black and red, like ATI's should be also.
Lately the prices dropped, and well I had to pick one up.
Cons: The fan is like what others say "a Jet taking off." I have the fan speed locked at 40% on Overdrive, and the 7870 only gets to 76C under heavy load (RC5-72 OpenCL client). With the fan on auto the card won't get above 75C, and the fan doesn't go past 50% anyway.. So 40% seems to be fine. Both the games, BF3 and SWTOR, don't even get the card to 70C even with the fan locked at 40%.
Other Thoughts: ~Folding@home: 11xxx WUs give 7,800 ppd.
~RC5-72 OpenCL client (beta): 1,900,000,000 keys/sec or 45,000 blocks/day.
Pros: High performance. Gets 28k (3930K@3.8) to 31k (3930K@4.2GHz using the ASUS TPU) in 3dMark06, without the card being overclocked. *tests done in a 32C room temp aka comfortable (don't need a coat to play games)*
Fan controller at automatic, actually moves with the heat increase (like if at 50C it's at 50% fan speed), unlike my GTX285 which starts speeding up the fan at 80C.
At idle it sits at 32C or room temp.
EVGA is my preferred choice, not just for the warranty, but mainly support and performance.
Cons: The card is huge. It may not fit some cases, or OEM boxes.
Two power connectors, one being a 8pin (just to have 2 more grounds?) and a 6pin.
Other Thoughts: Once the prices drop, I may get another for SLI
Before buying, I almost gave in to a AMD 7950, note almost.
I got this for my new system:
ASUS P9X79 Pro
Corsair XMS3 8GB (4 x 2GB)
Sound Blaster XFI Titanium
Western Digital WD6401AALS 640GB 32MB Cache (had for 3 years
Antec 300 case, modded
PC power and cooling 910W PSU
Pros: It looks nice. Feels sturdy. The front door is nice, not flimsy feeling.
Normal CD-ROMs fit, and if using a PCI card with the mini ITX, the CD-ROM should hit the card either. Normal 3.5 hard drives fit.
Mini-ITX boards fit easily (and should). It looks like a micro-ATX will fit too, just not enough PSU power for such a board IMO.
It looks smaller in the pictures, but the size make getting the wires easy to tuck and keep out of the way.
Cons: Heavy. It is bigger than I expected. 2.5 hard drives, like laptop drives have no place to mount without some kind of adapter or case modding. The motherboard mounting bulges look real close to shorting against solder joints on my micro-ITX board.
Other Thoughts: Mods I would recommend:
Changing the 80mm fan to quiet one, or just using the stock one with a speed controller.
If laying it down in a HTPC entertainment center, cut a hole on the opposite wall for another 80mm fan, and have both 80mm fans blowing in with the panel vent exhausting the heat.
A 140mm fan can be put on the side cover too.