Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB Graphics Card Review

Today we are looking at a new card from Club3D – the HD7870 Royal King, which ships in an overclocked configuration with custom cooler. The big question we will answer today, can Club3d compete in this competitive marketplace against the likes of market leader Sapphire?
CLUB3D do not have huge visibility in the United Kingdom, and when they offered us a video card for review we had to do a little background research. The company are based in Amsterdam and they currently sell a range of video cards, power supplies, digital sound cards, USB graphics adapters and cables. There is a little more background on the company on this page, if you are interested.
Unlike Sapphire or VTX3D however they sell both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards which is not an easy balancing act. XFX tried it for a while and we know how that worked out.
On the road to ‘first review research’, I decided to have a poke around their website and found the card they sent us for review, under the AMD product category, inside the ‘Extreme‘ submenu.
The company policy seems to be based around a ‘playing card’ concept, and many of their discrete solutions are named after these characters. The HD7870 solution we are looking at today for instance has four different versions on their website called Radeon HD 7870 royalKing , Radeon HD 7870 royalQueen , HD7870 Eyefinity 6 and lastly the Radeon HD 7870 JokerCard.

The RoyalKing series are the ‘overclocked’ models, in this case the HD7870 we have for review has been bumped to 1,050mhz, and the RoyalQueen has to make do with 1,000mhz.
The HD7870 EyeFinity 6 looks almost identical to the VTX3D HD7870 Eyefinity 6 that we reviewed a short while ago – designed for multiple screen support with 6 mini DisplayPort connectors. The HD7870 JokerCard looks identical to the RoyalQueen version – same 1,000mhz core clock speed. We checked with Club3D and they told us that the JokerCard edition has a Dirt Showdown designed box with game voucher bundled.
Phew!

ProductClub3D HD7870 Royal King 2GBAMD HD7950AMD HD7870AMD HD7850
Core Clock speed1050mhz800mhz1000mhz860mhz
Transistors2.8B4.31B2.8B2.8B
Stream Processors1,2801,7921,2801,024
Compute Performance2.56 TFLOPS2.87 TFLOPS2.56 TFLOPS1.76 TFLOPS
Texture Units801128064
Texture Fillrate80 GT/s89.6 GT/s80 GT/s55.0 GT/s
ROPs32323232
Pixel Fillrate32.0 GP/s25.6 GP/s32.0 GP/s27.52 GP/s
Z/Stencil128128128128
Memory Type2GB GDDR53GB GDDR52GB GDDR52GB GDDR5
Memory Clock1,200mhz1,250mhz1,200mhz1,200mhz
Memory Data Rate4.8Gbps5.0 Gbps4.8 Gbps4.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth153.6 GB/s240 GB/s153.6 GB/s153.6 GB/s

The Club3D HD7870 Royal King has received a core clock boost to 1,050mhz although the memory speeds are identical to the reference card, clocked at 1,200mhz (4.8Gbps effective).


The Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB Graphics Card ships in a small rather inoffensive box featuring the product name on the front with a playing card style ‘K’ taking a central position.

The bundle is quite extensive, featuring literature on the card and a ‘do not disturb’ door sign. There is also a software disc and Crossfire connector. Club3D have also included a full colour guide on how to install the new graphics card into the system.

The Club3D HD7870 Royal King is a tiny little card, and the cooler is neatly shaped to the exact dimensions of the red PCB underneath. The cooler is primarily plastic, with the single fan positioned centrally.

Thick heatpipes are visible underneath the main black plastic cooling shroud. We will take a closer look at the cooler shortly.

The card is Crossfire capable in a 2 way configuration. It demands power from two six pin PCI E power connectors.

The Club3D HD7870 Royal King features two DVI ports, a full sized HDMI port and two mini DisplayPorts. It is Eyefinity capable.

The cooler is slightly disappointing, not only is it a single fan implementation, but there are only two copper heatpipes running through an aluminum base. These heatpipes run into two separate racks of aluminum fins. The company are using high grade Hynix memory which should translate to a decent overclock later in the review.

A Pitcairn GPU built on the 28nm manufacturing process. The card runs 50mhz higher than the reference model, at 1,050mhz. The memory runs at 1,200mhz (4.8Gbps effective). It features 32 ROPs, 1280 shaders and the 2GB of GDDR5 memory is connected via a 256 bit memory interface.

On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit Kitguru.net as the owner/source. You can right click and ‘save as’ to your computer to view later.







To test today we are using our long standing Core i7 970 system, which is overclocked. We have a variety of hardware benchmarked on this system this year which will make for an interesting market comparison.

Main Test System:
Processor
: Core i7 970 @ 4.6ghz
Graphics
: Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB (Catalyst 12.7 beta)
Cooling: Coolit Vantage
Motherboard
: MSI X58A-GD65
Chassis
: Thermaltake Level 10 GT
Power Supply
: Corsair AX1200
Memory
: 6GB ADATA @ 2133mhz 9-10-9-32
Storage
: Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB Gen 2 SSD (Storage) / Crucial RealSSD C300 256GB (OS boot)
Monitor: Dell U3011.
Comparison Cards:
KFA2 GTX680 LTD OC
Asus GTX680
MSI GTX 670 Power Edition OC
AMD Radeon HD7970 GHZ Edition
HD7970
MSI R7950 Twin Frozr III 3GD5/OC
HD7950
HD7870
HD7850
HD6990 (880 core)
HD6970
HD6950
HD6870
Sapphire HD7770 Vapor X Overclock Edition
XFX HD7770 Black Edition S CFx
HD7770 CFx
HD7770
Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition
HD6790
HD6770
HD6670
GTX590 SLi
GTX590
GTX580 SLi
GTX580
GTX570
Software:
Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
3DMark Vantage
3DMark 11
Fraps Professional
Steam Client
FurMark
Games:
Alien V Predator
Tom Clancy HAWX 2
Resident Evil 5
Far Cry 2
F1 2011
Total War: Shogun 2
Battlefield 3
Elder Scrolls V: SkyRim
All the latest BIOS updates and drivers are used during testing. We perform generally under real world conditions, meaning KitGuru tests games across five closely matched runs and then average out the results to get an accurate median figure. If we use scripted benchmarks, they are mentioned on the relevant page.
Some game descriptions are edited from Wikipedia.

Unigine provides an interesting way to test hardware. It can be easily adapted to various projects due to its elaborated software design and flexible toolset. A lot of their customers claim that they have never seen such extremely-effective code, which is so easy to understand.
Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on advanced Unigine engine from Unigine Corp. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. Interactive mode provides emerging experience of exploring the intricate world of steampunk.
Efficient and well-architected framework makes Unigine highly scalable:
  • Multiple API (DirectX 9 / DirectX 10 / DirectX 11 / OpenGL) render
  • Cross-platform: MS Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) / Linux
  • Full support of 32bit and 64bit systems
  • Multicore CPU support
  • Little / big endian support (ready for game consoles)
  • Powerful C++ API
  • Comprehensive performance profiling system
  • Flexible XML-based data structures
We use the following settings: 1920×1080 resolution. Anti Aliasing off. Anisotrophy 4, Tessellation normal. Shaders High. Stereo 3D disabled. API: Direct X 11.


Performance is almost identical to the class leading GTX580 of the last generation, averaging 67.7 frames per second with this Direct X 11 tessellation heavy benchmark.

Futuremark released 3DMark Vantage, on April 28, 2008. It is a benchmark based upon DirectX 10, and therefore will only run under Windows Vista (Service Pack 1 is stated as a requirement) and Windows 7. This is the first edition where the feature-restricted, free of charge version could not be used any number of times. 1280×1024 resolution was used with performance settings.


The Club3D HD7870 Royal King scores 24,972 points which is almost identical to the AMD HD770 1GHZ cards running in Crossfire.

3DMark 11 is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.
If you want to learn more about this benchmark, or to buy it yourself, head over to this page.


The Club3D HD7870 Royal King scores 6,821 points placing it slightly behind two XFX HD7770 Black Edition cards in CrossfireX.

HQV Benchmark 2.0 is an updated version of the original tool and it consists of various video clips and test patterns which are designed to evaluate motion correction, de-interlacing, decoding, noise reduction, detail enhancement and film cadence detection.
There are two versions of the program, standard definition on DVD and high definition on Bluray. As our audience will be concentrating on HD content so will we.
This has a total of 39 video tests which is increased from 23 in the original and the scoring is also up from a total of 130 to 210. As hardware and software gets more complicated, the software has been tuned to make sure we can thoroughly maximise our analysis.
Read our initial analysis over here

Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB
Dial
4
Dial with static pattern5
Gray Bars5
Violin5
Stadium 2:25
Stadium 3:25
Horizontal Text Scroll5
Vertical Text Scroll5
Transition to 3:2 Lock5
Transition to 2:2 Lock0
2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCAM Video
5
2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video
5
3:2:3:2:2 24 FOS Vari-Speed
5
5:5 FPS Animation
5
6:4 12 FPS Animation
5
8:7 8 FPS Animation
5
Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)
5
Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)
5
Random Noise: Sailboat
5
Random Noise: Flower
5
Random Noise: Sunrise
5
Random Noise: Harbour Night
5
Scrolling Text
5
Roller Coaster
5
Ferris Wheel
5
Bridge Traffic
5
Text Pattern/ Scrolling Text
5
Roller Coaster
5
Ferris Wheel
5
Bridge Traffic
5
Luminance Frequency Bands
5
Chrominance Frequency Bands
5
Vanishing Text5
Resolution Enhancement
15
Theme Park
5
Driftwood5
Ferris Wheel
5
Skin Tones
7
Total196

A score of 196 points is class leading right now, the ideal solution for high definition media playback on a big screen.

F1 2011 is the newest Direct X 11 racing game from industry pioneers CodeMasters. The 2011 Formula One season is the 62nd FIA Formula One season. The original calendar consisted of twenty rounds, including the inaugural running of the Indian Grand Prix before the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Pirelli returns to the sport as tyre supplier for all teams, taking over from Bridgestone. Red Bull Racing are the reigning Constructor’s Champions. Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel is the defending Drivers’ Champion, one of five World Champions appearing on the grid.


The Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB system averages 71 frames per second in F1 2011, never dropping below 60 frames per second.

Aliens V Predator has proved to be a big seller since the release and Sega have taken the franchise into new territory after taking it from Sierra. AVP is a Direct X 11 supported title and delivers not only advanced shadow rendering but high quality tessellation for the cards on test today.
To test the cards we used a 1080p resolution with DX11, Texture Quality Very High, MSAA Samples 1, 16 af, ambient occulsion on, shadow complexity high, motion blur on. We use this with most of our graphics card testing so cards are comparable throughout reviews.

Good results, matching the GTX580 in the average frame rate.

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. After the events of the first game, the H.A.W.X squadron is sent to Middle East, where a high level of violence is being registered, and the appearance of various insurgents leaders in various hotspots. The team also has to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Russian nuclear weapons. The player will be controlling three groups: one American (Hunter), one British (Munro) and one Russian (Sokov), each with its own pilots and supporting characters. There will also be references to other characters in the Tom Clancy universe.
We are testing in full DX11 mode with all settings to maximum.


No performance problems with this title, averaging 103 frames per second at these settings.

Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as Biohazard 5, is a survival horror third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on March 5, 2009 in Japan and on March 13, 2009 in North America and Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A Windows version of the game was released on September 15, 2009 in North America, September 17 in Japan and September 18 in Europe. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.
Within its first three weeks of release, the game sold over 2 million units worldwide and became the best-selling game of the franchise in the United Kingdom. As of December, 2009, Resident Evil 5 has sold 5.3 million copies worldwide since launch, becoming the best selling Resident Evil game ever made.


The Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB averages 147 frames per second, a few more than the reference clocked card.

Far Cry 2 (commonly abbreviated as “FC2 or “fc2″) is an open-ended first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 21, 2008 in North America and on October 23, 2008 in Europe and Australia. It was made available on Steam on October 22, 2008. Crytek, the developers of the original game, were not involved in the development of Far Cry 2.
Ubisoft has marketed Far Cry 2 as the true sequel to Far Cry, though the sequel has very few noticeable similarities to the original game. Instead, it features completely new characters and setting, as well as a new style of gameplay that allows the player greater freedom to explore different African landscapes such as deserts, jungles, and savannas. The game takes place in a modern-day East African nation in a state of anarchy and civil war. The player takes control of a mercenary on a lengthy journey to locate and assassinate “The Jackal,” a notorious arms dealer.
Far Cry 2 is still a popular game and the open world environment can be taxing on even the latest hardware available today.
Settings: 1920×1200, D3D10, Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(8x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Ultra High), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Ultra High), Terrain(Ultra High), Geometry(Ultra High), Post FX(High), Texture(Ultra High), Shadow(Ultra High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High).

The performance is excellent in Far Cry 2, averaging 87 frames per second.

Shogun 2 is set in 16th-century feudal Japan, in the aftermath of the Ōnin War. The country is fractured into rival clans led by local warlords, each fighting for control. The player takes on the role of one of these warlords, with the goal of dominating other factions and claiming his rule over Japan. The standard edition of the game will feature a total of eight factions (plus a ninth faction for the tutorial), each with a unique starting position and different political and military strengths.



Performance is good at both 720p and 1080p, perfectly smooth throughout.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is an action role-playing open world video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Skyrim‘s main story revolves around the player character’s efforts to defeat Alduin, a Dragon god who is prophesized to destroy the world. Set two hundred years after Oblivion, the game takes place in the fictional province of Skyrim, upon the continent of Tamriel, and the planet of Nirn. The open world gameplay of the Elder Scrolls series returns in Skyrim; the player can explore the land at will and ignore or postpone the main quest indefinitely. Skyrim has received universal acclaim from critics, selling more than 3.5 million copies within the first 48 hours of release.


Performance is strong, averaging 48 frames per second, one less than the GTX580 from the last generation.

According to EA, Battlefield 3 garnered 3 million pre-orders by the day of its release. It is unknown at present whether these figures are worldwide or just for the US. The pre-order total makes it “the biggest first-person shooter launch in EA history”, according to the publisher. The engine is beautiful on the PC and very demanding of the partnering hardware.


The Club3D HD7870 Royal King 2GB averages 68 frames per second, which is a good result for this intensive engine at these settings.

The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 25c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this.
Idle temperatures were measured after sitting at the desktop for 30 minutes. Load measurements were acquired by playing Crysis Warhead for 30 minutes and measuring the peak temperature. We also have included Furmark results, recording maximum temperatures throughout a 30 minute stress test. All fan settings were left on automatic.


The cooler is underperforming, peaking at 83c after 30 minutes of intensive gaming. When placed under synthetic Furmark load, the temperatures rise another 10c, to 93c. The fan is meanwhile spinning at a whopping 3,638 rpm which generates a lot of noise. More on this on the next page.

We have changed our method of measuring noise levels. We have built a system inside a Lian Li chassis with no case fans and have used a fanless cooler on our CPU. We are using a heatpipe based passive power supply and an Intel SSD to keep noise levels to a minimum. The motherboard is also passively cooled. This gives us a build with completely passive cooling and it means we can measure noise of just the graphics card inside the system when we run looped 3dMark tests.
Ambient noise in the room is around 20-25dBa. We measure from a distance of around 1 meter from the closed chassis and 4 foot from the ground to mirror a real world situation.
Why do this? Well this means we can eliminate secondary noise pollution in the test room and concentrate on only the video card. It also brings us slightly closer to industry standards, such as DIN 45635.
KitGuru noise guide
10dBA - Normal Breathing/Rustling Leaves
20-25dBA – Whisper
30dBA - High Quality Computer fan
40dBA - A Bubbling Brook, or a Refridgerator
50dBA - Normal Conversation
60dBA - Laughter
70dBA - Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
80dBA - City Traffic or a Garbage Disposal
90dBA - Motorcycle or Lawnmower
100dBA - MP3 player at maximum output
110dBA - Orchestra
120dBA - Front row rock concert/Jet Engine
130dBA - Threshold of Pain
140dBA - Military Jet takeoff/Gunshot (close range)
160dBA - Instant Perforation of eardrum


The card at idle is very quiet, measuring 29.2 dBa. The fan only spins at 1,100rpm which results in this low noise threshold. When tasked however the fan quickly spins – up to 2,900 rpm when gaming.
This generates 39.4 dBa which is very audible and more than we would expect from a HD7870. To make matters worse, when we loaded the card with the synthetic Furmark software, the single fan spins to over 3,600rpm – rated at 96% of the maximum fan speed. At this speed we recorded 46.4dBA which is quite frankly painful and one of the loudest results we have documented in the last year.
This card is in dire need of a two fan configuration with a couple of extra heatpipes to transfer heat from the core quicker. Very disappointing results.

To test power consumption today we are using a Keithley Integra unit and we measure power consumption from the VGA card inputs, not the system wide drain. We measure results while gaming in Crysis Warhead and record the results.

Power consumption is at the same level we would expect from a HD7870.

Today for overclocking we are using the Catalyst Control Center.


We pushed the core to 1,180mhz, translating to a 12.3% core clock increase. Memory could be pushed to 1,360mhz (5.4Gbps effective), translating to a 13.3% increase. Both are healthy final results.


The overclock pushes the card to a new performance level, 300 points behind the reference clocked HD7970. Well worth the effort!

AMD’s HD7870 has proven successful with the enthusiast audience throughout 2012, delivering solid frame rate performance at a reasonable sub £250 price point. This is the first time we have reviewed a Club3D product however we do expect certain results from a HD7870 solution.
We spend plenty of time analysing the latest Sapphire graphics cards, and they consistently produce class leading enthusiast grade twin fan coolers. The last card we reviewed for Sapphire was their HD7870 FleX Edition, which earned our highest award. It was extremely quiet (31.9dBa under load) and overclocked to 1,200mhz without a hitch.
This has been a repeating pattern for most of 2012 and our readers are by now very confident that Sapphire will release a quality design, regardless of the price point. We certainly are.
We have no concerns with the Club3D HD7870 2GB Royal King frame rate performance. The additional 50mhz core clock increase ensures that the solution manages to outperform AMD’s reference card at all times. The card also overclocks to a high level, peaking at 1,180mhz which translates into noticeable real world performance gains.
Unfortunately we have some major concerns with the cooler that Club3D have adopted for this particular design.
The company are using a modest cooler with only two heatpipes, and while it is a direct touch contact design, the base is not copper and the single fan has to spin very high to maintain a tolerable thermal curve.
When gaming, we recorded almost 40 dBa from the cooler, which is one of the weakest results yet from a modified HD7870 solution. When stressed further in Furmark, the single fan spins to 96% of the rated maximum, to 3,600 rpm. At this level the card emits 46.4dBa.
This is painful and not a result I would expect from an ‘enhanced’ HD7870. Temperatures recorded were 83c when gaming, and 93c under extended Furmark load. This is around 20c higher than the twin fan HD7870 cooler on the Sapphire FleX Edition.
Sadly this negates the benefits of using this card in a high performance media center. We like the small physical footprint, however I simply wouldn’t tolerate this noise level in any of my systems. Club3D really did need to adopt a dual fan solution and increase the amount of copper heatpipes to improve the thermal transfer performance.
We have no pricing for the UK market yet, however we would expect this card to retail for around £230-£250 inc vat when it hits these shores. I really can’t recommend the Club3D HD7870 Royal King in face of such stiff competition from the likes of HIS with their HD7870 ICEQ or Sapphire with their HD7870 Twin fan model.
We asked for another sample to verify the poor temperature performance and very high noise emissions but the company were unwilling after our review to send any us more samples. They were actually very aggressive in response which was rather disappointing. We deal regularly with companies such as Sapphire, VTX3D and XFX, and even when our reviews may highlight product weaknesses they are very keen to take constructive feedback on board and improve future product development if necessary.
Our first Club3D review may very well be the last, but we always need to be open, transparent and honest with our readers.
Pros:
  • Good performance.
  • overclocks well.
  • very small physical size.
Cons:
  • very loud under load.
  • single fan.
  • poor cooler design.
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