Date Joined: 11/10/11
Pros: Very cheap compared to some of the other 7950 models.
Despite being cheaper, this model is a complete powerhouse, and will plow through most games you throw at it at full 1080p resolutions.
The shroud on the card feels good. When I first picked up the card and felt the weight of it, it just felt solid. Granted, the actual heat sink and fan aren't the highest quality, but they suffice for the price you're paying for this card, and you shouldn't be anywhere near dangerous levels with good cooling in your case.
This card LOVES to be OC'd. Even though the stock settings are impressive (BF3 on Ultra with all eye-candy turned up runs at a stable 52-60 FPS @1080p), it's very easy to push this thing to well over 1000Mhz on the core clock, and 1400+ on the memory clock, which leads to a HUGE increase in performance, even coming near the 7970's performance.
Cons: This card does run a bit hotter than some of the other 7950's that are out there. Mostly due to the single fan design on the GPU. Under stress, with my case (a Rosewill BlackHawk Ultra), the card tends to hover in the mid-high 60's. I have seen it push mid 70's when playing Metro 2033 maxed out for 2+ hours.
Like most GPUs boasting a single fan, it tends to get loud at higher temps. Once the fan hits around 50-60%, I start to notice a slight humming over some of my games. Not a huge deal, because I play my games loudly, but it might be noticeable in a small room with not a lot of ambient noise.
The card is obviously big, so make sure you have room. My board isn't great, so this card DID cover my SATA ports and I had to re-do some cabling, but nothing traumatic.
Overall Review: A friend of mine bought me this card in exchange for some work I had done for him previously. I was very skeptical at first, because I hadn't heard much of PowerColor, and had only used Sapphire brand cards in the past (upgrading from an HD 6850). When I got the card in the mail a few days later, I immediately dropped it in my system and started to check out my new benchmarks.
Where the 6850 was running a good mix of games (BF3, Skyrim, Metro 2033) with a mix of high-ultra settings at a fairly stable 45-50 FPS @1080p, this card dwarfed its performance. As said above, BF3 fully maxed is running an (almost) constant 50+, Skyrim fully maxed is a joke for this card, and even Metro 2033 runs VERY stable at around 55 FPS. I do believe I'm getting a slight bottleneck from my older CPU, however, so that is something to be aware of if you're looking to buy this card.
CPU: AMD Phenom II x4 955 BE
MOBO: Gigabyte 880GMA-UD2H (don't laugh at my small board!)
RAM: 8GB G.Skill Ripjaws X @1333Mhz
HDD: 1x 500GB 7200 RPM Seagate and 1x 1000GB 7200 RPM Seagate
GPU: PowerColor 7950 3GB
Case: Rosewill BlackHawk-Ultra
Pros: This keyboard is pretty fancy. It features all LED keys (except FN, same as all Blackwidow models), using an MX cherry blue switch. It also has multiple modes of brightness for the LEDs, and features a USB and I/O port on the side (needs to be plugged into the back of your computer to work). It also has a good weight to it so you won't move your keyboard around at crucial moments (this may be a negative for some, but I found it helpful).
Cons: As far as negatives go, there are only a few. Firstly, the price. Quite frankly, you're paying for the name over the functionality. If you're just looking for a mechanical keyboard, it is possible to find keyboards just as nice and some better for considerably less than this one. Second, there is a slight learning curve for those who have never typed on a keyboard like this before. You'll probably be used to fully pressing a key to enable it, while the keys on this keyboard actuate after about 2mm - not much pressure at all.
Overall Review: My keyboard did arrive with what appeared to be some shipping damage. The upper left hand corner sported a noticeable scratch (which I don't mind, it'l get scratched by me eventually anyway), as well as both the ESC and F1 keys being popped off the keyboard (instantly reattached, no issues with the keys or the LED underneath). This wasn't worth taking off an extra egg, but something you should be aware of if you have crazy drivers for deliverymen where you live.
Pros: This RAM features a high quality heat-sink, which seems to be made of a lightweight metal, which will let you OC it fairly well without worrying about overheating it. I was able to plug it in and Win 7 recognized all 8GB instantly, and it's running at the correct voltage and frequency. This RAM is also well priced, but I was able to catch it on sale which made it an even better value.
Cons: It's sleek looking RAM that will compliment a gaming build, but it's just RAM. If you're just looking to get the job done and through in anywhere from 8-16 or more gigs of RAM, you can find cheaper elsewhere. This is the only reason I'm giving it four eggs, due to the lack of anything truly revolutionary.
Overall Review: Like I said previously, the RAM went right in, and Win 7 (Ultimate x64) recognized it all without issue. I was somewhat concerned that my after market CPU fan wouldn't fit properly, or that I'd have to turn it so the fan wasn't over it, but there's just enough clearance for it to sit properly. Overall, this RAM gets the job done, and looks nice while doing it, but isn't the cheapest if you're looking just to put something in your system.
Pros: This case is very well ventilated, and comes pre-installed with numerous fans that are all plugged into their own little circuit board that only requires one 4-pin Molex adapter to power. The makers also ran the cables through the backside of the case (beneath the MOBO) to help with cable management.
Cons: My only con with this case is that the HDD cage can be tricky. Between some loose wires and the edge of the shroud on my GPU, the graphics card (Sapphire HD 6850) almost didn't fit. For those of you with larger cards, you'll have to either remove the HDD cage or otherwise "modify" it someway.
Overall Review: Once you get everything placed in the case, make sure the wires aren't going to get caught in the fans. They're very quiet by default, but make a horrid noise when a wire gets stuck in them (my cables are braided, however).
Pros: This card is pretty much unbeatable at its price, and the value is sweetened even more with the software Sapphire offers (if you sign up and register your product) for overclocking. The card installed perfectly, no hiccups, and is handling my games (Skyrim, BF3, Dead Space 2, Dragon Age) very well at a smooth frame rate of around 55-60 (my monitor is only 60hz, anyway) with a mix of high-ultra settings, on a 1600x900 resolution. My case isn't the best ventilated, but I still haven't seen the card reach over 50 C after multiple hours of gaming at 50% fan speed.
Cons: It is a little bulky, and I had to work with my MOBO a bit to get it to line up properly, but it booted right up with no complications.
Overall Review: I've heard a few bad things about the mail in rebate, but as I'm only about to mail it in today, I can't truly comment on it just yet. Overall, I think that this will turn out to be a great card for a good price, and I may buy another in the near future for a Crossfire configuration.