AMD's new Tahiti LE based Radeon HD 7870 is a really nice GPU core that comes in at a really strong price point. While the Sapphire variant hasn't shown up just yet on store shelves, we should see it hit at a similar price point to the PowerColor model, which is around the mid $200 mark.
While this is an "official" model in one way, it's not in the sense that every AMD partner is picking up on it. Instead this LE model is limited to only a few companies with Sapphire and PowerColor being two of them. What this ultimately means is that it won't be promoted as heavily as others. The issue is it's really a fantastic model, but without the right education, most people are going to assume it's worse than the normal HD 7870 due to the lower out of the box clock speed.
We don't want this to take away from the model, though, because its performance is strong at both the normal out of the box speeds and even better when overclocked. While we couldn't do anything with the memory, we're not too worried about that as overclocking the memory usually brings with it little gains. Most of the performance increase when overclocking video cards comes from the core clock increase.
There quite possible could've been even more headroom when it came to overclocking if the ability to adjust core voltage was available to us during testing. The extremely strong overclock of 1208MHz on the core was done without a voltage bump, which is excellent. It means that if the option becomes available at a later option we could see even higher clock speeds, especially if the ability to adjust the memory voltage is given, too.
As for the cooler, it's as always, very strong. Sapphire has always done a good job with cooling solutions and here is really no different. We've got a cooler that when overclocked helps keep the core temperature down while doing it at a low noise level. When it comes to the bundle it's one of the stronger ones thanks to the big line up of cables and convertors that are not normally included. What it all comes down to in the end is that Sapphire does a really good job of ticking all the boxes with its HD 7870 XT.
This new option that AMD has given partners is really nice and it would be great to see more and more partners pick it up. We don't know what the chip availability is like from AMD and that's one of the main reasons we're probably not seeing everyone offer it. If you're in the market for a HD 7870 and a video card in general around the mid $200 mark, you should be looking at the new Tahiti LE based HD 7870, and this option from Sapphire would be a good choice.