Intro | I bought this card after about a month or so maybe longer of pure in-depth research, comparing other various video cards and their respective brands by both AMD and Nvidia in the Mid to High class range, i bought my custom brand new rig without a video card because i wanted this one in the end ultimately for very specific reasons that i'll get to later.
Im not going to go into detail about my personal specs on my PC since there is really no need and the purpose of this review is to give credit where it is due and to also help other customers and new PC gamer's building their very first gaming PC like i did.
I'll break it down to make it as simple as possible to understand and get straight to the point.
At the time i purchased this card, in december 2012 it was $259.99, after finally making my choice to go through with this after nearly a month of planning and research, it was certainly my best choice that i have made in a long time when it comes to being on a extremely tight budget which most of us middle-class average people are. Not to long after i bought the card though, it quickly went out-of-stock as you can clearly see with the recent influx of reviews, 90% of which are very positive reviews mind you, lots of happy customers and *cough* gamers *cough* here. Anyway, the price sky-rocketed to $360 after the demand was noted by Amazon.com/Gigabyte which is the regular price, but slowly trickled down to the current price as of the date of this review 1/24/2013 at $249.99, $10 cheaper than what i paid which is very good for those of you still sitting on that shaky fence we all know too well.
Now for the breakdown of Pros....... these are facts from my personal experiences with this A Class Card.
1.| Powerful [Runs Guild Wars 2 on max settings @60 FPS easy, thats using the in-game option to lock it at that frame rate (if your card can even get that high) which of course this card can, and actually if set to unlimited option can reach all the way up to 70's and even low 80's, depending on the area even 90's is possible, which is just outright overpowered already.
I haven't played games like Battlefield or Call of Duty because i don't like first-person-shooter games, but if you read reciews around on this GPU you'll see that it performs extremely well considering the price.
To behonest, whatever is released "currently" and will be released within the next year or so, chances are, depending on your rigs specs you'll be able to handle most games at 60 FPS or higher on very high/ultra/maximum settings with AA turned on and all that other stuff to make things look more pretty, if anything you WILL get over 30 FPS on all games, that is for certain if it ever goes under 30 FPS you are either playing a Next Gen PC Exclusive game or something is very wrong and you should look into it.
2.| Cooling [Having Power is Great! don't get me wrong, but what good does power do you if heat becomes an issue and slowly hurts your new $200+ investment? i was originally going for the XFX Double D's Video Card, but come to find out after research it doesn't stay nearly as cool as XFX advertised, i may be relatively new to all this but i know the basics, and that is quite simply, Less Heat/Best Cooling = You'll have your video card for a much longer time, therefore protecting your investment and have less stress, we don't need more of that anyway right? :)
Let me just say this GPU has three things going for it, the turbulence x3 triple fans, a couple of really good heat absorbing pipes that eject it out somehow (sorry im still learning) and a third cooling solution, i don't remember what the third one is but it's triangle tech or something like that.
Alright you most likely want numbers if you are still reading up to this point right? well you are in for a treat, because the main reason i went with the Gigabyte 7870 over the others was for this very reason. This.Thing.Is.Frosty!
Gigabyte AMD Radeon HD 7870 2GB
Idle(Average): 22c (Note: Night,Morning) to 30c (Note: Afternoon)
Load(Average): 45c to 55c
Example: Comparison VS my old 2010 HP Built ATI Radeon HD 5770 (Which is still a very popular video card and many people had at the time and still have to this day, chances are you most likely have or had this card at some point with the last couple of years.)
ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB
Idle(Average): 45c to 55c (Time of day didn't matter much to be honesy, the card simply ran a bit to warm for not doing anything.)
Load(Average): 69c to 85c (I heard most video cards should be 80c or under tops... some times the old and currently outdated 5770 would even go slightly higher than 85c, but im just typing what i do remember for sure. not good for a card to be hot like that for hours on end, at least i don't think so.)
Overall(Average): Idle = 33c maximum decrease in temperatures/Load = 30c maximum decrease in temperatures.
Conclusion? you get more horse power that can runs most games at 60 FPS or higher that runs around 50% or higher cooler overall, at least in my case, for others the change might be extremely more vast or less depending on what you are upgrading from. but the point is, chances are the change will be for the better.
3.| Warranty [One of the first things to look for thats a good and healthy practice for your wallet is to look for which brand offers the best customer service and which brand offers the longest warranty for that extra "Less Stress is Best" feeling ya know?, not much to say here and i really hope i don't have to in the future at any time, but Gigabytes Warranty is 3 Years for parts and labor, i assume that includes straight up replacement if need the push comes to shove but as i said earlier i hope i won't be one to find out...
1.| Customer Service [I have contacted GIGABYTE customer service on driver issues, i can't seem to update my driver from version 12.4 to the newest 13.1, if anyone knows anything about this i would really appreciate the help in the comments section below, tips, guidelines, dos and donts? anyway i contacted them and they were quick to respond, not exactly helpful as they offered basic info i already knew and tried and still didn't work and i am still waiting to here back from them.
I can't really judge here yet as my interaction has been very limited with them on this strange non-update-able driver issue, but will update this later on.
None as of 1/24/2013, and im very thankful for it.
Word of Caution buyers... Three things to think about before buying.
#1. This video card is HUGE, i don't know much about ATX cases and all that stuff, but please make sure you have a mid-sized tower ATX case that can fit up to an 11" card, and in general have a lot of room, with great power and great cooling comes great size to match. i was actually shocked at how much bigger it was compared to the 5770.
#2. Power Supply, make sure you have at least 500W power supply MINIMUM on your rig, since this thing is packing some horse power it needs the extra juice so ya need to give it it. 500W is enough as long as you have enough rails to transfer over that energy over to everything in your rig, but a 600W or 700W would be better if you can afford it now or later since if anything you will be future proofing your rig for an even more potent video card later.
#3. I heard that "some" cards from the AMD HD 7K series with ALL brands (XFX, Sapphire, MSI, HIS, Powercolor or any other brand you can think of) have a unknown percentage chance (that or completely random chance) to fail within the first month or so of use for various reasons... honestly though most of these complaints came from Newegg.com and their review list.
It's apparently rare though since even at Newegg.com the reviews for AMD HD 7k cards are still like 95% 5 out of 5 to 5% 1 out of 5 overall and the reviews here on Amazon.com is overall far more positive than negative from verified customers. this is just a friendly warning, take it as a grain of salt since in general stuff happens, nothing is made perfect and we shouldn't expect perfection from anything, but that doesn't mean "Greatness" shouldn't be expected. ;)
Overall i am very happy with my first purchase of a computer component that wasn't already built-in-to a PC, it was also my first time ever installing a graphics card which would have cost $90 to have our local so called "Computer Store" to do it for me so savings from rip-off company avoided as a bonus on top of learning how PC hardware ticks myself! and if you are aiming for a mid-ranged graphics card, this card from Gigabyte is the King of the Price to Performance Ratio. In my opinion of course.
Note: I don't post product reviews often because when i do it'll be in-depth to help others hopefully benefit in making the right choice for them, as such i will be updating this review every now and then. Also again, if anyone has any advice on the whole driver not updating to the latest 13.1 version please post a comment i would really appreciate it, thanks in advance! :)