The title of my review really sums up my thoughts on this card.
Last year I bought a reference 6870 on release with the intention to get a second for crossfire later on. Recently this card was reduced to £113 on Scan, so I decided to grab one quick for a crossfire setup, this was most certainly a mistake as there are many things which make this a sub-par 6870.
I'll start by saying that Xfx support is, and always has been fantastic so no complaints there, but that is where the praise ends for this particular version of the 6870.
1. My first issue is that it is a lot shorter than my reference 6870 (also by Xfx I may add), this may not seem like a bad thing, in fact it could be good for come people right? Well no, the lack of length not only looks awful next to my reference card but causes the next two issues I have.
2. The card runs hot, very very hot, hotter than my reference card. Isn't the whole point of having a non-reference cooler to actually increase cooling performance? Well apparently not.
3. As a result of the extreme heat, it sounds like a jet engine. I run a Silverstone Raven RV03 case, one of the best on the market for air cooling by far, and it is very sturdy, before adding this card it was virtually silent but it is now all I can hear and it does my head in. Now my reckoning is that this heat is caused up by the card being shorter and as a result the components are very close together.
However I can't give the card 1* as the 6870 chip itself is fantastic, my reference card gave great frame rates on it's own, and actually the scaling with this card is fantastic, my FPS has almost doubled in just about every game.
In conclussion: Get a 6870 as it is a fantastic GPU, by far the best for this sort of money, just get a different one. Perhaps the XFX reference, or double fan version as they are both brilliant.