XFX Radeon HD 5770 Video Card Review
By Gabriel Torres on October 22, 2009


Introduction

Radeon HD 5700 series is the first mid-range DirectX 11 video cards to arrive on the market. Let’snow  see the performance of Radeon HD 5770 from XFX and see if it is a good buy.

Radeon HD 5770 runs internally at 850 MHz and features 800 processors – the same amount found on Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 –, accessing its memory through a 128-bit interface, which is half the width found on Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870. Radeon HD 5770, like  Radeon HD 4870 and members from Radeon HD 5800 family, uses GDDR5 memory chips, which are capable of transferring four data per clock cycle instead of just two. This makes the memories, which are accessed at 1.2 GHz, to achieve a performance as if they were accessed at 4.8 GHz, providing a 76.8 GB/s maximum theoretical transfer rate. To compare these specs to other graphics chips please take a look at our AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table and NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table.

The main competitor to Radeon HD 5770 is GeForce GTX 260 with 216 cores (“GeForce GTX 260/216”). In our review we will be mainly comparing the performance from these two video cards. We also included in our review Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870, plus the new Radeon HD 5750 and GeForce GTS 250, and we should come up with a very interesting comparison.

Now let’s talk specifically about the Radeon HD 5770 from XFX. As you may be aware, XFX – which, by the way, many years ago was known as “Pine” – was for years one of the leading NVIDIA partners, and a while ago they decided they shouldn’t manufacture only NVIDIA-based video cards.

This model, also known as HD-577A-ZNFC, comes with 1 GB, two DVI outputs, one HDMI output and one DisplayPort output, following the reference model from AMD. This video card allows you to use up to three video monitors at the same time as a single desktop, feature known as “Eyefinity.” But there is a catch: the third monitor must use the DisplayPort connector, which is still not popular.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 1: XFX Radeon HD 5770.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 2: XFX Radeon HD 5770.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 3: XFX Radeon HD 5770.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 4: Connectors.

Introduction (Contíd)

We removed the video card cooler to take a look. As you can see in Figure 5, the cooler has a copper base and copper fins. The cooler does not touch the memory chips

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 5: Video card cooler.

With the cooler removed you can see that almost all capacitors are solid, which is a terrific feature as they don’t leak (the ones that are not solid are from Elcon, a Chinese manufacturer). The memory chips from the component side have passive heatsinks, what doesn’t happen with the memory chips located on the solder side of the card. The transistors from the voltage regulator circuit don’t have a heatsink on them. In Figure 6 you can also see that this video card requires only one six-pin auxiliary power connector. A power supply with at least 450 W is the minimum recommended for this video card.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 6: XFX Radeon HD 5770 with its cooler removed.

XFX Radeon HD 5770 uses eight 1 Gbit Hynix H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C GDDR5 chips, making its 1 GB memory (1 Gbit x 8 = 1 GB). These chips have a maximum transfer rate of 5 Gbps (“T2C” marking), which is equivalent of a 5 GHz GDDR5 clock or 1.25 GHz (5 GHz / 4) real clock. Since on this video card the memory was running at 1.2 GHz, there is a tiny 4.2% headroom for you to overclock the memories with them still running inside their specifications. Of course you can always try pushing them above their specs. In Figure 7 we provide a close-up of the GDDR5 memory chips.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 7: GDDR5 memory chips.

This video card comes with one free game, Battle Forge. Instead of coming with the installation media, the card comes with instructions on how to download and activate the game with the included serial number.

In Figure 8, you can see all accessories that come with this video card: a quick installation guide, an installation guide, driver CD, the Battle Forge flyer, a power adapter for converting two peripheral power plugs into one six-pin video card power connector, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, a CrossFire bridge and a “do not disturb” sign.

XFX Radeon HD 5770
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Figure 8: Accessories.

Main Specifications

XFX Radeon HD 5770 main features are:

* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review.

How We Tested

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit
  • Service Pack 2
  • Video resolution: 2560x1600 @ 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • Intel Inf driver version: 9.1.1.1020
  • AMD/ATI video driver version: 8.660.0.0
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 190.62 (8.16.11.9062)

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin; thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

3DMark Vantage Professional

3DMark Vantage measures Shader 4.0 (i.e., DirectX 10) performance and supports PhysX, a programming interface developed by Ageia (now part of NVIDIA) to transfer physics calculations from the system CPU to the video card GPU in order to increase performance. Mechanical physics is the basis for calculations about the interaction of objects. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will happen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? Note that since we are considering only the GPU score provided by this program, physics calculations are not taken into account.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600. First we used the “Performance” profile, and then we used the “Extreme” profile (basically enabling anti-aliasing at 4x, anisotropic filtering at 16x, and putting all detail settings at their maximum or “extreme” values). The results being compared are the “GPU Scores” achieved by each video card.

Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 didn’t produce a reliable score for the “Extreme” profile under 2560x1600, so these particular results should not be considered.

XFX Radeon HD 5750

3DMark Vantage - 1680x1050 - PerformanceGPU ScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21671674.92%
Radeon HD 487071354.45%
Radeon HD 57706831 
Radeon HD 4850547724.72%
Radeon HD 5750542725.87%
GeForce GTS 250514832.69%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

3DMark Vantage - 1920x1200 - PerformanceGPU ScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 260/216686027.79%
Radeon HD 487055984.28%
Radeon HD 57705368 
Radeon HD 5750430624.66%
Radeon HD 4850425226.25%
GeForce GTS 250389337.89%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

3DMark Vantage - 2560x1600 - PerformanceGPU ScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 260/216384025.98%
Radeon HD 487032305.97%
Radeon HD 57703048 
Radeon HD 5750248622.61%
Radeon HD 4850238028.07%
GeForce GTS 250214941.83%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

3DMark Vantage - 1680x1050 - ExtremeScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21656159.90%
Radeon HD 57705109 
Radeon HD 487050930.31%
Radeon HD 5750407125.50%
GeForce GTS 250400027.73%
Radeon HD 4850394129.64%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

3DMark Vantage - 1920x1200 - ExtremeScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 260/216524027.62%
Radeon HD 57704106 
Radeon HD 487040401.63%
Radeon HD 5750325925.99%
Radeon HD 4850311931.64%
GeForce GTS 250307333.62%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

3DMark Vantage - 2560x1600 - ExtremeScoreDifference
GeForce GTX 260/216302024.95%
Radeon HD 57702417 
Radeon HD 5750190726.74%
GeForce GTS 250172939.79%
Radeon HD 4870518366.60%
Radeon HD 4850402501.24%

Call of Duty 4

Call of Duty 4 is a DirectX 9 game implementing high-dynamic range (HDR) and its own physics engine, which is used to calculate how objects interact. For example, if you shoot, what exactly will hapen to the object when the bullet hits it? Will it break? Will it move? Will the bullet bounce back? It gives a more realistic experience to the user.

We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, maxing out all image quality controls (i.e., everything was put on the maximum values on the Graphics and Texture menus). We used the game internal benchmarking feature, running a demo provided by NVIDIA called “wetwork.” We are putting this demo for downloading here if you want to run your own benchmarks. The game was updated to version 1.6. The results below are the average number of frames per second (FPS) achieved by each card.

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Call of Duty 4 - 1680x1050 - MaximumFPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21686.448.24%
Radeon HD 487083.804.93%
GeForce GTS 25082.343.11%
Radeon HD 577079.86 
Radeon HD 575074.087.80%
Radeon HD 485069.5414.84%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Call of Duty 4 - 1920x1200 - MaximumFPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21683.5019.05%
GeForce GTS 25075.427.53%
Radeon HD 487073.604.93%
Radeon HD 577070.14 
Radeon HD 575062.4012.40%
Radeon HD 485057.1822.67%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Call of Duty 4 - 2560x1600 - MaximumFPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21664.3639.67%
GeForce GTS 25049.607.64%
Radeon HD 487047.402.86%
Radeon HD 577046.08 
Radeon HD 575040.8212.89%
Radeon HD 485036.2627.08%

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead is a DirectX 10 game based on the same engine as the original Crysis, but optimized (it runs under DirectX 9.0c when installed on Windows XP). We ran this program at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600, maximizing image quality (16x anti-aliasing, 16x anisotropic filtering) and using the Airfield demo. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Crysis Warhead - 1680x1050FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21618.05.88%
Radeon HD 577017.0 
GeForce GTS 25014.021.43%
Radeon HD 575013.030.77%
Radeon HD 485012.041.67%
Radeon HD 487011.547.83%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Crysis Warhead - 1920x1200FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/2161515.38%
Radeon HD 577013 
Radeon HD 57501118.18%
GeForce GTS 2501030.00%
Radeon HD 48701030.00%
Radeon HD 4850862.50%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Crysis Warhead - 2560x1600FPSDifference
Radeon HD 57708 
Radeon HD 5750714.29%
GeForce GTX 260/216560.00%
GeForce GTS 2504100.00%
Radeon HD 48701700.00%
Radeon HD 48501700.00%

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 is based on the same engine used by The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and it is a DirectX 9.0c (Shader 3.0) game. We configured the game with “ultra” image quality settings, maxing out all image quality settings, at three 16:10 widescreen resolutions, 1680x1050, 1920x1200, and 2560x1600. To measure performance, we used the FRAPS utility running an outdoor scene at God mode, running through enemy fire, triggering post processing effects, and ending with a big explosion in front of Dupont Circle.

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Fallout 3 - 1680x1050FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21677.311.15%
Radeon HD 577076.43 
Radeon HD 487075.321.47%
GeForce GTS 25074.332.83%
Radeon HD 575071.287.23%
Radeon HD 485069.3610.19%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Fallout 3 - 1920x1200FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21677.308.95%
Radeon HD 487073.453.52%
Radeon HD 577070.95 
GeForce GTS 25068.753.20%
Radeon HD 575066.127.30%
Radeon HD 485059.5619.12%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Fallout 3 - 2560x1600FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21661.4914.06%
Radeon HD 577053.91 
Radeon HD 575046.8315.12%
GeForce GTS 25046.0916.97%
Radeon HD 487044.3221.64%
Radeon HD 485033.2562.14%

Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2 is based on an entirely new game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10 when played under Windows Vista with a DirectX 10-compatible video card. We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game, setting image quality to the maximum allowed and running the “Ranch Long” demo three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

Radeon HD 4850 and Radeon HD 4870 could not run Far Cry 2 at 2500x1600 with all image quality settings maxed out.

XFX Radeon HD 5750

FarCry 2 - 1680x1050FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21638.9241.53%
GeForce GTS 25031.0712.98%
Radeon HD 577027.5 
Radeon HD 575024.5112.20%
Radeon HD 487011.29143.58%
Radeon HD 48509.8180.61%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

FarCry 2 - 1920x1200FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21633.8238.89%
GeForce GTS 25026.237.72%
Radeon HD 577024.35 
Radeon HD 575021.7711.85%
Radeon HD 48708.94172.37%
Radeon HD 48507.38229.95%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

FarCry 2 - 2560x1600FPSDifference
GeForce GTX 260/21618.6128.43%
GeForce GTS 25017.1518.36%
Radeon HD 577014.49 
Radeon HD 575012.3017.80%

Unigine Tropics

Unigine is a 3D engine used by some games and simulations. The developer provides two demos for this engine, Tropics and Sanctuary. We ran the Tropics benchmarking module under DirectX 9 mode at full screen with image quality settings maxed out. The results below are the number of frames per second achieved by each video card.

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Tropics - 1680x1050FPSDifference
Radeon HD 487042.43.67%
Radeon HD 577040.9 
Radeon HD 575034.119.94%
Radeon HD 485032.525.85%
GeForce GTX 260/21631.430.25%
GeForce GTS 25026.753.18%

XFX Radeon HD 5750

Tropics - 1920x1200FPSDifference
Radeon HD 577034.5 
Radeon HD 575028.819.79%
GeForce GTX 260/21628.521.05%
Radeon HD 485027.425.91%
Radeon HD 487024.640.24%
GeForce GTS 25021.560.47%

Conclusions

During our tests Radeon HD 5770 showed to be between 7% and 31% than its “economy” version, Radeon HD 5750, depending on the resolution, game and image quality settings.

Radeon HD 5770 was also faster than Radeon HD 4870 on scenarios that high-performance is needed, especially on Crysis Warhead (30% - 48% faster) and Far Cry 2 (144% - 172% faster) with image quality settings maxed out. On other scenarios both cards achieved the same performance level or Radeon HD 4870 was a tiny bit faster (up to 6%).

When Radeon HD 4870 was originally released it cost USD 300, making the new Radeon HD 5770 to be comparatively a real bargain at USD 170.

The problem is that its main competitor, GeForce GTX 260/216, left Radeon HD 5770 eating dust. Only on Unigine Tropics Radeon HD 5770 was faster than GeForce GTX 260/216, on all other games and simulations GeForce GTX 260/216 was faster, especially if you like to crank up image quality settings (the only exception was at Fallout 3 at 1680x1050 with image quality settings maxed out, where both cards achieved the same performance level).

Therefore we can’t recommend Radeon HD 5770 – unless, of course, you are looking for a DirectX 11-ready card with one DisplayPort output. If you are looking for a mid-range video card with a good cost/benefit ratio, GeForce GTX 260/216 continues to be our pick.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/XFX-Radeon-HD-5770-Video-Card-Review/845


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