79xx cards and far above the 77xx options. In terms of competition, these cards go head-to-head with the older NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 and GTX 560Ti, which currently retail for between $20 and $50 less. However, most reviewers found plenty of reasons to side with AMD despite the extra outlay, as you'll discover at the links below.
HotHardware -- hailed the performance, low power consumption, noise levels and features of both cards, but noted that they're "not much faster than previous gen counterparts." For example, 3DMark 11 benchmarks generally beat NVIDIA's rivals by around two or three percent, while the Radeon HD 7850 barely scored any higher than its predecessor, the 6850, in that test.
AnandTech -- found the 7870 to be "faster, cooler and quieter" than the GTX 570, with a roughly nine percent performance advantage that puts AMD "in the clear for the time being." As for the 7850, it was regarded as less of a steal, trailing the cheaper GTX 560Ti in some games -- including an eight percent lag in Battlefield 3.
TheTechReport -- reckoned both the 7870 and 7850 are "better options than comparable GeForces," because they deliver more FPS-per-dollar when Arkham City, Battlefield 3, Crysis 2 and Skyrim performances are averaged out.
PC Perspective -- concluded that the Radeon HD 7870 "more or less matches" the GTX 570 in the six games it compared, with two wins, two losses and two draws for the AMD card, but is still "pretty impressive" for the price. The HD 7850, meanwhile, "completely dominates the performance metrics" while using "56 fewer watts!"
TechSpot -- gave the Radeon HD 7850 slightly higher marks for being the "best mainstream card to buy at $250," while also praising the HD 7870 delivering "excellent performance and overclocking" and "almost reaching the level of the more expensive HD 7900 boards."