PowerColor Radeon HD 7870 ripples with six display outputs

With the GeForce GTX 680, Nvidia can finally drive a three-screen surround gaming setup with a single graphics card. However, Nvidia's surround implementation falls a few screens short of what's possible with Eyefinity. Dating back two Radeon generations, Eyefinity has been capable of treating up to six monitors as a single display. Indeed, it's been possible to drive them all using a single graphics card.

AMD rolled out an Eyefinity6 version of its Radeon HD 5870 designed for six-screen rigs. More recent Radeons have required DisplayPort hubs to power the same number of monitors, but those things are about as rare as folks with six screens at their desk. Now, PowerColor is offering an Eyefinity 6 version of the Radeon HD 7870, sans superscript.

The card sticks to AMD's stock speeds for the 7870, clocking its GPU at 1GHz alongside 2GB of 1.2GHz GDDR5 memory. However, Powercolor has ditched AMD's blower-style cooler for a custom design that, frankly, looks a little low-rent. The single fan doesn't inspire confidence, although a few copper heatpipes can be seen poking out from under the sculpted shroud.

Obviously, the star of the show is the backplate, which serves up six Mini DisplayPort connectors. Rather than relying on users to have cabling compatible with the tiny connectors, PowerColor pairs the card with a fistful of adapters: two that transform the Mini DisplayPort connectors into single-link DVI ports, and four that offer full-sized DisplayPort, er, ports.

I'm a little surprised PowerColor went with the Radeon HD 7870 instead of the more powerful 7970, especially given the number of pixels involved in a typical six-screen setup.Then again, screen bezels make 3x2 monitor arrays less than ideal for gaming. I can see the appeal for day traders and multimonitor junkies looking to cut down on auxiliary graphics cards, though.

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