Author: Kevin Spiess
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, October 12th, 2009
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/hd5750hd5770/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.
About two and half weeks ago the curtain was raised on the new HD 5000 series from ATI. In typical fashion, the HD 5870 was the flagship introductory entry to the new generation. And now, in not so typical fashion, only a short time later ATI has released a mid-range video card showcasing the new technology: the HD 5770, and the HD 5750. Today we'll be taking a look at both.
From the get-go, these two video cards appear to bring a world of promise. Of course we won't know how they stack up until after go through the benchmarks, but judging from their specifications, and the feature set introduced with the HD 5870 and HD 5850, the HD 5770 looks like it could shake things up incredibly. These two cards are going to be responsible for a whole swath of older video cards models becoming discontinued almost overnight. But perhaps we are getting too far ahead of ourselves.
If this is your first introduction to ATI's new generation of GPU technology, here are a few key points to keep in mind. First off, you have compatibility with DirectX 11. Unlike DirectX 10, which never really amounted to much at all for actual gamers playing actual games, it looks like DirectX 11 will be a new case entirely. Thanks to Compute Shaders, the parallel processing power of the GPU will be much more open to game dev's utilizing the GPU for non-graphics related processes, like perhaps A.I and physics. Besides that, are numerous tesselation enhancements, and multi-threading optimization. DirectX 10 hardware will be able to handle DirectX 11 games, but will not be able to take full advantage of the capabilities.
Beside DirectX 11, and beside the new raw levels of horsepower brought by the HD 5000 generation, ATI has also added Eyefinity to the feature-set. This enables you to create a metadisplay using up to three displays on each video card. This amount stacks if used with CrossFireX, so you can conceivably use a whopping 24 displays to form one titan display, all from one computer, if you had the hardware.
If we are going by code names, the HD 5770 and HD 5750 are Junipers. The HD 5750 is the 'Pro' model, and the HD 5770 is the 'XT' model in that sense. Perhaps in part due to ATI's experience with the 40nm process, and with a relatively smaller GPU die size, these video cards are priced ' affordable' at the recommend retail price of $160 for the HD 5770, and about $130 for the HD 5750.
The HD 4770 was a winner last generation. Let's see if the HD 5770 is going to follow in its foot steps, flounder, or perhaps mark even mark out some new, memorable territory on its own.
On this page, we'll start with looking at these two cards with going over the surface stuff -- our impressions of them, our take on the cooling mechanisms, some of their general features. On the next page, we'll look over the specifications of each, and compare them to what is currently available on the market.
Keep in mind that these cards came direct from AMD -- they are the standard reference design for the new models, and likely, at first, all HD 5750s and HD 5770s sold will be just as these two are.
Let's start with the big brother, the HD 5770:
In many ways, it looks like someone took a shrink-ray to the HD 5870 to come up with the HD 5770. Coming in at about 8 inches, the video card looks like a top-end card from a two or three generations back. It has a double-width cooler on it, and is about the length of the HD 3870 or 8800 GT.
Featuring generally the same cooler design as the HD 5870 and HD 5850, this is a 'blower' cooler, with air being pushed along the aluminium heat fins that span roughly half the length of the card. Compared to the HD 5870, the HD 5770 uses much less metal, and feels as about as heavy as a feather.
Unlike the HD 5870, there is a single PCIE power connector, and it is not located on the top of the card, but instead, at the end, in the top (of two) air vents. The top air vent is somewhat blocked by this power connector. Hopefully between the lower air vent, and then the venting running along the top of the card, there will be enough incoming air flow to keep the card cool when playing Borderlands in a few weeks.
Also unlike the HD 5870, there is no back plate on the HD 5770. Not that one is really needed on a card of this class -- we just wanted to point that out.
Both the HD 5770 and HD 5750 feature the full set of possible, modern display output ports: you have two dual-link DVI ports, a HDMI port, and a DisplayPort port. While there is four, keep in mind you can only use up to three at the same time. It was a bit surprising -- in a good way -- to see all four of these options on these video cards between the $100 and $200 price point. ATI isn't trying to justify an artificial price premium on the higher-end cards just for the ability to use Eyefinity, or use DisplayPort or HDMI, which is great to see.
Let's take a look now at that other card, the little brother of the HD 5700 series, the HD 5750.
From first appearance the HD 5750 looks somewhat like the HD 4770. It features a similar brief cooler. Keep in mind that the HD 5750 and HD 5770 share the same Juniper design chip -- just the chip in the HD 5750's case has been laser neutered. So, thermally speaking, the HD 5750 should be able to get by fine with this basic cooler that consists of a bit of metal over the GPU attached to high speed fan.
The HD 5750 just barely needs a PCIE power connecter. According to AMD, the board requires 86W at load, and only a incredibly low 18W at idle, thanks to PowerPlay technology (which scales GPU activity with power needs) and the 40nm scale of the GPU.
With the HD 5700 series, in addition to the new touches like DirectX 11 and Eyefinity, you also get the rest of the contemporary Radeon feature set, including CrossFireX (the HD 5700 cards can be connected to up to 3 more of any Radeon HD 3000 series or faster cards), the UVD video engine to handle HD content on your GPU, and Shader Model 5.0.
The HD 5700 series is designed to give a great amount of gaming punch, for around the $150 mark. While it doesn't have the raw shader processor count as do the bigger brothers of the series, the HD 5800s, all of the GPUs share many of the same elements of architecture.
The secret to keeping the HD 5770 inexpensive is the same factor that made the HD 4770 such a bang-for-buck performer: fast GDDR5 memory is quick enough to keep games moving even with only the 128-bit memory interface. About two generations ago, the 128-bit memory interface was sporting on both Nvidia and ATI mid-range offerings -- but for the most part, it had proven incapable at delivering high performance for the demanding games of about 2006 onwards. But that was when GDDR3 memory was your only option; now, with GDDR5, 128-bit memory interface gaming cards are a reasonable proposition.
Nvidia and ATI have different methods of coming up with the shader count. For ATI, the HD 4700 series has 10 SIMD banks, 40 texture units, 64 Z/Stencil ROPs, and 16 color ROP units. Which is great news for fans of ROPs (Raster OPerators.)
While compared to Nvidia's line-up, the HD 5770 doesn't have an insurmountable advantage over Nvidia options around the same prices, when it comes to chip horsepower -- but when you consider the costs of manufacturing involved, ATI is currently sitting a bit prettier. Nvidia will have to find success at 40nm in order to stay competitive with their coming generation of chips.
|HD 4870||HD 4890||HD 5750||HD 5770||HD 5870|
Memory Clock (effective)
|256 bit||256 bit||128 bit||128 bit||256 bit|
|512MB GDDR5||1024MB GDDR5||512MB GDDR5||1024MB GDDR5||1024MB GDDR5|
* denotes cumulative effective efforts coming from 2 GPU's (i.e GTX 295: two GPUs with 240 cores equal 480)
Many of you are probably interested in the overclocking potential of the HD 5700 series. The HD 4770's were capable of performing close to a HD 4850 level with the right amount of tweaking and a little luck. We were interseted to see what these cards were able to reach.
For the HD 5770, it was good news. Like the HD 5870, we are able to max out of the core clock in the CCC, to the top speed of 960 MHz. Whew -- not much under that golden 1 GHz mark; great stuff. With a robust cooler you might even be able to reach 1GHz with a HD 5770, which would be quite something. As for the memory, we ended our overclocking adventure at 1300 MHz. (Compare these numbers to the default speed of 850 / 1200 [core / memory] ).
We were hoping for great things from overclocking the HD 5750 -- it seems a likely candidate for high O/Cing potential. But we had to settle for merely really good, instead of incredible. What a let-down! From a default speed of 700 / 1150, we were able to find stability in loops of Far Cry 2 with a core clock speed of 805 MHz, and 1195 MHz for the memory. The GDDR5 has little cooling to keep it stable so we would not recommend pushing the memory far on this card.
Both of these video cards clocked over %10 higher, which is good. We look forward to getting some OC models in the future to see if the limits might be higher.
Keep in mind, that for our tests, we ran the fans at 100%. This is too loud for most people to put up with in regular use.
We chose 8 other video cards across a wide range of performance classes to compare against the HD 5750 and HD 5770. Video cards used include a PowerColor HD 4890 Plus!, a VisionTek HD 4870, a Leadtek GTX 260 Extreme+, MSI N275GTX, a PowerColor HD 4770, a Gigabyte GTX 250 OC, a Palit 9800 GTX, and a Sparkle Calibre 9800 GT (OC model).
For the drivers, all the ATI cards used the Catalyst 9.6 drivers but the HD 5770's, which used unreleased beta drivers, and all the Nvidia cards used Forceware 186.18 drivers.
Here is our current line-up of benchmarking programs:
3DMark06 and 3DMark Vantage: These popular synthetic benchmarking programs were used at a resolution of 1280x1024. Vantage was run in 'Performance' mode, and only the two GPU tests were used.
Bioshock: For this benchmark, all of the Detail settings were set to 'High'. All of the graphic option switches were set to 'On', with the exception of the following three settings: Vsync, Windowed mode, and Force Global Lighting. We used FRAPS to measure frame rate performance. The FRAPS run was 138 seconds, triggered from pulling the switch in the sub at game's beginning. The sub's dive involves many big models moving around, which should strain the GPUs and be a good measure of the game's engine.
Crysis: Warhead: Games don't get much more demanding than Crysis. We used the 'Gamer' pre-set level of details, which is the middle level setting out of 5 options. We ran the benchmark on the 'avalanche' map, using the FrameBuffer Crysis benchmarking tool, version 0.29, in DX10 mode.
Devil May Cry 4: This Capcom action game runs well on most systems; but at 'Super High' detail settings, even the fastest systems get taxed. This is built-in benchmark.
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars: We use this id FPS benchmark to test out higher resolutions. We used the highest possible detail settings. We tested the resolutions at 4x AA as well as at 8x AA. 16x AF was also used.
Far Cry 2: This open-world FPS is great looking game that really puts the strain on a gaming rig. We used the built-in benchmarking tool, and the overall 'Very High' quality setting was used.
Furmark: This intensive, synthetic benchmark models a ring of fur. We benched at 1680x1050.
Street Fighter IV: You have probably heard of this famous fighting game. It has 3D graphics, but generally does not require much GPU horsepower to run well. We used Capcom's stand-alone PC benchmarking tool for our tests, and ran everything at its highest possible settings, using 4xAA, and the 'Watercolor' setting.
Unreal Tournament 3: We tested the game using a fly-through of the vehicle capture-the-flag map 'Suspense.'ShangriLa (map) running for 90 seconds. Details were set to 'High', and a AF setting of 16x was used.
World In Conflict: We used the built-in benchmark of the demo version of this game. We ran the benchmark in DX9 rendering mode, with a 'High' level of quality. For the AA testing, we used a setting of 4x, and a setting of 16x for AF.
If you would like any further information about our benchmark settings, feel free to ask us in the forums.
That is somewhat surprising. Vantage finds a larger than expected gap between the performance of the HD 5750 and the HD 5770. It scores the HD 5770 around the HD 5870.
On the feature tests, the HD 5770 does well, coming in close to the top most of the time, while the HD 5750 jumps around a bit more in the rankings.
The HD 5700's do well here, but the optimist in me thought perhaps the HD 5770 would score closer to the HD 4870.
At least for this game, the GTS 250 is still a very viable video card, selling for around $130 USD or so. Let's see some more benches before drawing initial conclusions.
Here the HD 5770 puts in basically the same performance as the GTS 250 OC, while the HD 5750 is on par with a 9800 GT OC.
Although this game has been around for a while now, it is nonetheless still a demanding game to run. The HD 5750 and HD 5770 put in some good numbers here, and prove up to the challenge.
Often the HD 5770 seems to perform like a HD 4870, while the HD 5750 puts in similar numbers to a GTS 250 (also known as a 9800 GTX+).
The Nvidia cards get the better of the battle here in Bioshock. The 9800 GT Sparkle card edges out the HD 5750, the HD 5770 falls behind even the 9800 GTX (which runs pretty much the same as the elder 8800 GTX).
At the highest detail settings, the HD 5750 and HD 5770 can keep things at about 30 FPS for 1680x1050. But higher than that is too much.
Here the HD 5750 and HD 5770 fair better against the 9800 GT and GTS 250.
Across our tests, the HD 5770 still looks like it has an uphill battle facing it if it would like to perform along the lines of a GTX 260.
It's as if the HD 5770 read what I just wrote last page, and decided to get back at me. On Far Cry 2 both of these cards perform great, putting in some surprisingly high numbers.
The HD 5770 again surprises, getting a large lead over the HD 4870. The HD 5750 maintains a nice lead on the competition here as well.
To measure core GPU temperature, we used the hardware monitoring program in RivaTuner 2.24. The idle temperature was taken after leaving nothing running, on Vista's desktop, for a minute. The load temperature was taken after a 100,000ms run of Furmark at 1680x1050 with no AA.
The HD 5750 and HD 5770 have average thermal performance. When stressed the GPUs went up to the high '70s, like some last generation ATI parts.
To measure power usage, we used a Kill A Watt P4400 power meter. 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 200,000ms run of Furmark at the maximum resolution.
These cards are great on power -- the HD 5750 especially offers a tremendous amount of horsepower for the low power requirements. You will not need much of a power supply to keep these cards happy. A generic 500W PSU is easily up to the task.
The HD 5700 series offers a formidable feature set for the relatively low introductory price they are targeted to sell for (about $160 and $130 USD). While on a strict price-per-performance metric, the 5700 series will not destroy the competition, when you consider that both cards are only using a 128-bit memory interface, they are excellent performers.
In our benchmarks, the HD 5770 often scored around the mildly factory overclocked Gigabyte GTS 250 OC, while the HD 5750 traded blows with the heavily factory overclocked Sparle Calibre P980 9800 GT. At times, there were a few surprises, like in Far Cry 2, and when the HD 5770 came close to the performance of the mildly factor overclocked LeadTek GTX 260 Extreme+, but overall, the 5700s performed around the middle of our benchmarking line-up.
Nvidia has taken a big blow to their bottom line with the introduction of the HD 5700 series, but their products are certainly still in the game. However the HD 5750 and HD 5770 are presumably much cheaper to produce than some of the Nvidia counter-parts in the line-up, that can no longer be discounted much further, because of materials cost (namely the GTX 260). The die sizes are smaller for ATI, only a light-weight cooler is needed, and the 128-bit memory interface also saves on PCB costs. Nvidia hasn't been around so long without surviving some tight spots before, so all eyes will be watching to see what equalization the next generation brings them.
While you might be able to get better game performance with last generation cards that will be plummeting in price very soon, such as the HD 4800 cards, or the still quite strong GTX 275, many folks will probably be encouraged by the HD 5700 series' support of DirectX 11. And like the the HD 4770, you can expect the HD 5700's to be great in CrossFireX setups.
As for the HD 5750 versus the HD 5770, it is a pretty close battle. If you have a bunch of games on your to-play list, we recommend going with the HD 5770, as it is worth the extra $30 -- especially if you overclock the video card.
In the end, the HD 5750 and HD 5770 are two more great editions to the new HD 5000 family. We expect a great many of these affordable DX11 gaming cards will be sold over the lifetime of the design.
Note: Because these video cards were engineering samples sent direct from ATI, they are not eligible for any winning any editorial awards.
Please do not redistribute or use this article in whole, or in part, for commercial purposes.