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Power consumption

The XFX cards' higher clock speeds don't impact idle power consumption. Only under load do they draw more power, and not by all that much. The Radeon HD 7870 Black still consumes less power than the old Radeon HD 6870.

Noise levels and GPU temperatures

We weren't terribly thrilled with the coolers on the reference 7800-series Radeons, which are a little loud under load. The XFX cards take care of that problem rather nicely—they're wonderfully quiet under load.

Unfortunately, the lower noise levels come at a cost: higher temperatures. The 7870 Black runs a whopping 15°C hotter than its reference cousin.