Launched a little over two months ago in March, AMD's Pitcairn graphics processor took over the $250-350 sweet spot in the video card market with the Radeon HD 7850 & 7870 series of GPUs. Even now, they still don't have any current generation competition from yet from nVidia, who is still relying on the GTX 500 series to fill its product line under the $400 price point.
Shortly after the launch of the Radeon HD 7870, the only video cards available were clones of the reference design. Now that we're past the initial launch period, new models of the 7870 are now available which deviate from the standard. Today we're looking at one of those 7870s from Diamond.
Diamond currently offers two models of video cards using AMD's Radeon HD 7870 graphics processor. Physically, both of these offerings are identical to AMD's reference design. The only addition made by Diamond is a stylish looking sticker to the top of the cooler's shroud. So what differentiates between the two Diamond Radeon HD 7870s?
It comes down to the factory set clock speeds of the Radeon HD 7870 graphics processor and memory. The first model is vanilla, with its clock speeds the same as AMD's reference card, 1000MHz for the core and 1200MHz (4800MHz GDDR5 effective) for the memory. The model we're looking at today is called the Double Black Diamond. A step up from the vanilla 7870, the Double Black Diamond comes with an overclock of 50MHz to the GPU and 25MHz (200MHz GDDR5 effective). The only way to differentiate between the two models is a sticker on the blower wheel.
Diamond Radeon HD 7870 2GB Double Black Diamond
As mentioned earlier, Diamond didn't deviate from AMD's reference design when working on their Double Black Diamond model other than the addition of a couple of stickers. What would have been interesting is if Diamond actually made a shroud which resembled the picture on the sticker. But as we will discuss later on, the reference design works well, so why change the recipe?
The top of the Double Black Diamond is completely encased a plastic shroud. It's hard to guess what's underneath as there aren't any openings other than an intake hole for the blower, but it looks sleek and feels solidly built.
Taking a look at the bottom of the video card reveals a black PCB, which nicely matches the colour scheme of the black and red shroud. The cooler is supported by a metal bracket on the bottom of the video card.