PowerColor Radeon HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 Edition Review

Author: Chris Ledenican
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, July 12th, 2010
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/PowerColor_HD5770_Eyefinity_5/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

The Eyefinity setup supporting multiple independent display outputs simultaneously has been pushed hard by ATI with the release of their current graphics lineup. The majority of graphics cards that utilize the technology support up to three monitors, but there are, however, a few select cards that support additional displays, opening up a wide array of multi-tasking, gaming and video options to the consumer.

We all remember watching in awe the first videos circulating the internet of people controlling life size figures in video games and the immersive feeling of the first person view in a racing game. As a gamer it was amazing watching the videos and I couldn’t wait until I could get my hands on an actual Eyefinity setup and see if it was equally  impressive as the hype that surround it.

I can now say without a doubt that it is, yet regardless of how amazing the technology ends up being the price keeps it in a very niche segment of the market and out of the reach of the average consumer. However, with the release of the PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity edition graphics card, users can now experience the thrill of gaming across multiple monitors at a much lower price.

The Power Color Eyefinity 5 edition graphics card allows users to enable Eyefinity with up to five monitors. This will give the consumer a uniquely inexpensive means to create the visual experience that they are looking for, by allowing for multiple options of configuration. With this card monitors can easily be setup in a 2x2 gaming scenario with an extra monitor set aside for multi-tasking, or a 3x1 configuration with dual monitors for surfing the net, or even a 5x1 setup for a panoramic surround view.

The first initial thought about this graphics card is why 5 and not 6. Well, the answer to that actually lies with the Juniper core and not a marketing decision by PowerColor. The HD 5770 has a max of five available TMDS links, so the max amount of video options supported by the graphics card is five. This may seem limited to some, but it does still offer more options than most graphics cards currently on the market.

I am really looking forward to the review as the PowerColor Eyefinity 5 maintains AMD's stock HD 5770 specifications. Since the time of release I have wondered if this card was truly up to the task of running multiple displays, so lets move on and see if more is really always better.

The PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 uses a red PCB with a large after-market cooler over the GPU. The cooler covers most of this side of the PCB, but you can see that the card has a 3-pin power connector that will supply an additional 75W of power beyond the 75W provided by the PCIe slot.

The back of the card is also red and houses four of the eight memory modules, with the other four being on the opposite side under the heatsink. Additionally there are two Crossfire connectors so this card is capable of running Quad-CrossfireX. The PCIe bus type used by this card is 2.1, but is backwards compatible with any PCIe x16 bus type.

In order to accommodate 5 video options the PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 graphics card uses five Mini DisplayPort outputs. The reason PowerColor employs 5 ports on this card is due to the HD 5770 having only 5 TMDS links, so this is the max output supported. If you want more you will have to shell out for the HD 5870 Eyefinity graphics card which has six links allowing it to support up to six monitors.

To connect to the graphics card PowerColor has included five adapters which will be the means of linking the graphics card to the various monitor display cables. The Mini DP to DP converters will work on large 30" monitors as they support resolutions up to 2560x1600 on a single connection, but the DVI converter will only work on a single monitor up to1920x1200.

On very nice feature of the PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 is that it has a smaller PCB than a standard HD 5770. In fact, the size of this card is actually closer to the reference HD 5750, than HD 5770. I have a feeling that PowerColor had the home-theater market in mind with the decision to shrink the PCB.

The cooler on the GPU is a custom designed solution that has a very quiet fan sitting on top of a large aluminum finned array. The fan pulls in air spreading it though the fins to reduce heat, while a large copper base sits on the core to ensure the heat is efficiently transferred from the GPU to the array. On the copper base are four stand-offs that ensure the cooler connects to the GPU with the proper amount of pressure for the best heat transfer and reduced damage to the core.

The PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 uses the same Juniper core as other HD 5770 graphics cards and comes with 1GB GDDR5 memory. The core is clocked at 850MHz and the memory is set to 1200MHz (4800MHz effective). It also has a 128-bit bus, 16 ROPs and 800 shaders. So, other than the five Mini DP ports this card uses all reference specifications.

With the ability to utilize up to five monitors there are many possibilities on how to setup your system and the below chart shows some of the options that would be available

Specifications:

 
PowerColor HD 5770
Eyefinity 5 Edition
ATI HD 5750
ATI HD 5830
ATI HD 5870
Eyefinity 6 Edition
 
Processing Cores
800
720
1120
1600
 
 
Core Clock
850MHz
700MHz
800MHz
850MHz
 
Memory Clock
1200MHz
1150MHz
1000MHz
1200MHz
 
Memory Interface
128-bit
128-bit
256-bit
256-bit
 
Memory Type
1GB GDDR5
1GB GDDR5
1GB GDDR5
2GB GDDR5
 
Fabrication
Process
40nm
 
 
 
40nm
40nm
40nm

The PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity graphics card comes in a red and black box with an image of the graphics card and model name on the front. The front panel is mainly used to showcase the graphics card, where as the back panel is where all the details are found.

Inside the outer packaging is a plain brown box that houses the graphics card and accessories. The graphics card comes on the top of the box and the accessories are housed in the compartments below.

Along with the HD 5770 PowerColor has included an installation guide and drivers disc, as well as five cable converters for connectivity. The included adapters plug into the Mini DP ports (DisplayPort) on the rear panel and then connect to a specific cable type. There are two Mini DP to Single Link DVI converters and three Mini DP to DP converts.

 

Overclocking:

Overclocking the PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 edition graphics card was excessively easy to do. I started by increasing the core and memory frequencies in increments of 25Mhz until I reached a point where the GPU was no longer stable. The final results for this graphics card were 925MHz for the core and the memory reached 1400MHz. The core nearly reached the cap posed by ATI's Catalyst Control Panel, but just couldn't quite reach the 950MHz maximum in CCC. However the memory was able to successfully reach the limits found in the control panel. After the graphics card reach the max overclock in CCC I turned to AMD GPU clock tool which can increase the clock speeds beyond the ATI cap, but the memory didn't go too far beyond the limitation so I just left it at 1400MHz.

Hardware Configuration:

Software:

All the ATI cards used the Catalyst 10.6 drivers.

Benchmarks DX11:

Benchmarks DX10:

Since the graphics card is an Eyefinity edition all benchmarks were performed at resolutions of 2400x600, 4800x900 and 5760x1080. Additionally, since the PowerColor Eyefinity 5 graphics card can run games across more than three screens, the benchmarks will also be tested in a 2x2 configuration at 3200x2160. Vsync is disabled in the control panel and AA is set to x4 with AF set to x16. The only benchmark performed with lower AA and AF is Street Fighter IV which showed better scaling when AA and AF were set to 0.

Usage:

To gauge the power requirement and temperature of the graphics card MSI's Kombuster will be used. The program applies a very heavy load to the GPU and as such will push the card beyond that of a game or benchmark. For the minimum temperature and power consumption the system will be left in an idle state for 15 minutes and for load Kombuster will be left on for 15 minutes.

All testing was performed with AA set to x4 and AF at x16.

For a mid-range card the results aren't that bad. Games such Resident Evil 5 and Bioshock 2 performed pretty well, considering the resolution. The DX11 games though were a totally different story as Merto 2033 and AvP struggled to reach frames-per-second in the double digits.

Street Fighter 4 doesn’t necessarily push a graphics card to the limits, but it is a good benchmark to gauge the overall performance. This test is run at default settings to show the best scaling possible.

The PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 did an excellent job in Street Fighter IV as all the resolutions were above 100FPS.

Aliens vs Predators is a DX11 Benchmark that runs though a scene that seems straight out of the classic 80’s movie, Aliens. Since this benchmark uses DX11 technology, it can often be more than a graphics card can handle.

The PowerColor stayed ahead of the HD 5750, but it struggled to get up to 30FPS even after the core and memory were overclocked.

Unigine Heaven became very popular very fast, because it was one of the first major DirectX 11 benchmarks. It makes great use of tesselation to create a visually stunning...heaven.

This benchmark utilizes the latest DX11 technologies and can be pretty cruel to mid-range graphics cards, so I would say the PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 card fared well.

Metro 2033 puts you right in the middle of post apocalyptic Moscow, battling Mutants, rivals and ratio-active fallout. The game is very graphics intensive and utilizes DX11 technology, making it a good measure of how the latest generation of graphics cards performs under the new standard.

The PowerColor card did well at the lowest resolution, but once the resolution was set at 4800x900 the card really struggled. This, however, was the same with all the cards except the 2GB HD 5870 Eyefinity 6 card. This really shows that higher amounts of memory are becoming extremely important, especially now that more games are adopting the DX11 standard.

Crysis Warhead is one of the most graphically intensive games on the mainstream market. It's graphically breathtaking, and can bring any system crashing to it's knees.

The Eyefinity 5 card did well in Crysis considering that it was spanning across three monitors at very high resolutions.

Call of Duty is one of the most successful game franchises of all time and Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration in the series. The games combine modern-day settings and locations with jaw-dropping graphics and explosions.

The PowerColor Eyefinity 5 did a great job in Modern Warfare 2 and even 4800x900 was playable.

Batman: Arkham Aslyum mixes extraordinary visuals with great gameplay, in order to make an excellent benchmark. It's not a stressful as Crysis, but it can still push cards to their limits.

Batman ran very smooth at all resolutions.

Darkest of Days puts the player in historic battles to ensure the survival of key figures from the past. It is a very interesting concept and the use of real life conflicts keeps the title engaging. The in-game options does not allow PhysX to be disabled, so it can often favor NVIDIA graphics cards over those from ATI.

Darkest of Days was another title that the PowerColor card handled very well. Impressive considering that the testing is spanned across three monitors.

Bioshock 2 is the sequel to the extremely popular Bioshock game, which was released back in 2007. The game uses the graphics friendly Unreal Engine.

Yet another title that the PowerColor Eyefinity 5 card can handle across all the tested resolutions.

Resident Evil V is the new installment of the Resident Evil series. The game comes with a built in benchmark that features a bunch of zombies walking around the center of a village. Believe it or not this seemingly simple benchmark can push video cards way out of their comfort zone!

Again, the PowerColor card has some nice results.

Just Cause 2 places you in Panau, Southeast Asia as Agent Rico Rodriguez. The game is a third-person shooter that pits you against countless enemies with the opportunity for plenty of environment destruction. With explosions and gun fire galore, this game is perfect for testing out the latest hardware.

The card had decent frames-per-second at the lowest resolution, but started stuttered out at the higher settings.

Temperature:

To measure core GPU temperature, MSI's Kombustor was used. The idle temperature was taken after leaving nothing running for up to 15 minutes. The load temperature was taken 15 minutes after starting Kombuster for Multi-Core graphics cards.

The custom cooling solution used by PowerColor works exceptionally well and as you can see from the graph it was the coolest running card out of all the contenders. I know it's odd to see the overclocked temperatures being lower than stock, but the simple reason is that the fan was set to 67% rotation to keep the overclocked core cool.

Power Usage:

To measure power usage, a Kill A Watt P4400 power meter was used. Note that the above numbers represent the power drain for the entire benchmarking system, not just the video cards themselves. For the 'idle' readings we measured the power drain from the desktop, with no applications running; for the 'load' situation, we took the sustained peak power drain readings at the end of a 30 minute Kombustor run.

The PowerColor HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 edition card did a good job maintaining a low power requirement, but it did use more wattage than the non Eyefinity cards while idle.

Conclusion:

The PowerColor Eyefinity 5 edition graphics card might not be the ultimate high resolution enthusiast card, but let’s face it, gaming at such high resolutions with the image spanning across multiple monitors is going to take its toll on any GPU. This isn’t to say that this card wasn’t a stellar performer because it was and in fact, it did exceptionally well in many of the 3x1 benchmarks where it maintained a frame rate around 30FPS, which is actually a very smooth. The 2x2 testing, however, did prove to be a bit much as most titles ran choppy across the four monitors.

Aside from the gaming aspects this card works exceptionally well for multi-tasking and with the extra screen space available, it would be easy to customize your workstation to best fit your needs and increase productivity. Also, since this card doesn't carry the high retail price of other graphics card that utilize the Eyefinity technology (beyond just 3 monitors) it opens up the technology to a much wider audience. So, now anyone looking to use Eyefinity that couldn’t afford of justify the high price of the Eyefinity 6 models has a great budget option. Still, the premium for the extra connectors and adapters might be a little high.

A few of the other features that make this card appealing include its smaller form factor and a very quiet, yet efficient cooling solution. The smaller size will allow the HD 5770 Eyefinity 5 to fit into small cases with ease and the cooler will reduce the core temperature and decrease the noise level over the reference design.

The only real flaws with the graphics card are that the included DVI adapters will not support resolutions above 1920x1200, so 30” monitors will not be able to reach their highest resolution while using the adapter. It would also have been nice to see some hardware tweaks to improve Eyefinity performance, but even with a faster core and memory the gains would not have been large, so it is understandable that PowerColor used the reference specifications.

All in all, this is a great product that offers all the power of the HD 5770 graphics card, but adds expandability that is unmatched by other graphics cards in the $200 price range.

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