Diamond Radeon HD5770 XOC Review

jlqrb - 2010-03-31 11:55:05 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: jlqrb   
Reviewed on: April 18, 2010
Price: $179.99 - 189.99

Introduction:

The HD 5770 graphics cards is one of those rare products that offers the end user an almost perfect price to performance ratio. For somewhere around $160, you can get a card that will produce good frames per second in most games on the market and also includes new features such as DX11 support, Eyefinity and ATI Stream technology. So, how to do you take a product that offers as much as the HD 5770 does and make it even better? You crank up the performance. This is exactly what Diamond did with its latest offering based on the HD 5770 chip. This card, which is appropriately named the XOC (eXtreme OverClocked) version, comes with the core clocked in at 930MHz and the memory at 1300MHz, which is an 80MHz increase on the core and 100MHz increase on the memory, over the reference design. With these faster clocks, this card will achieve higher frames per second than the lower clocked versions and do so right out of the box, without additional tweaking. Just how much performance the additional clock speeds will yield though, is what I intend to find out as we delve into our in depth look at the Diamond HD5770 XOC.

Closer Look:

The graphic card comes packaged in a rectangular shaped box that devotes the entire front cover to Colin McRae's Dirt 2. This game goes well with the HD5770 line because it is one of the few DX11 games currently available. Other than the image of the game, you will find some additional information of the front, such a sticker identifying this card as the XOC version, the size of memory, and the PCI bus type. Turning the packaging over, you can see that the back panel is where you find the more detailed information about the graphics card. On this panel, you will find information explaining how the card utilizes the latest technologies, such as DX11, ATI Stream and Eyefininty. The box also lists the system requirements and features for the card, with these being found on the sides of the packaging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The packaging we were looking at before is actually just the outer portion of the box that is used to advertise and give information about the product. To remove this outer covering, you simply open the side panel and pull on it until the inner packaging slides out. The inner packaging is just a plain white cardboard box that houses the graphics card and accessories. When opened, you are first presented with the included accessories sitting on top of a foam pad. Below this is the graphic card, which comes wrapped in a red anti-static bag, which will protect it from any electro-static damage prior to the card being removed from its protective casing. The accessories include a CrossFire bridge, VGA to DVI adapter, installation disk, and the manual.

 

 

 

Now that we have it out of the packaging, let's get a closer look.

Closer Look:

Even with this being an overclocked version of the HD 5770 graphics card, Diamond has decided to stick with the dual-slot reference cooler. The use of ATI's cooler over an aftermarket design should work fine, as the HD 5770 does not excessively create heat and the fan can be turned up for better cooling using the Catalyst Control Center if the chip is running hot. Looking the card over, you can see that most of it is solid black, with a few red areas throughout the cooler. This red and black color scheme looks nice and for additional appeal there is a sticker on the card continuing with the Dirt 2 theme that is found on the packaging. This sticker is of a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, which is one of the cars featured in the game. The listed measurements of this card is 8.6" with the cooler on, which means you won't have any clearance issues that you might find with the larger HD5870 or HD5970 graphic cards. Like most other HD 5770 cards, this one uses the PCIe 2.0 standard, but is backwards compatible, allowing it to be used in previous generation PCIe slots. For additional gaming power, CrossFire is supported by dual interconnects located near the rear bracket of the card.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For expansion, the Diamond HD 5770 OCX comes with enough ports to easily set up single or multiple displays with the use of Eyefinity. From left to right, you have a Display-Port, HDMI port and two Dual-Link DVI-I ports. To utilize Eyefinity you will need to use both the DVI-I ports and the Display-Port, so you will either need to have a monitor that supports these connections or an adapter ready to properly setup a three-panel display. Besides the video outputs, the bracket also has a small ventilation hole, which is where the majority of hot air form the card will be removed. With this being such a small ventilation area, not all air will be able to pass though, so there are also ventilation holes found on the side of the card that sits opposite of the motherboard. To power the graphics card beyond the 75w supplied by the PCIe slot, you will need to use the additional 6-pin power connector that is located in the right ventilation hole, near the GPU fan. It is recommended that you use a power supply that is at least 450watt or greater for a single card and a 600watt power supply for CrossFire. In addition, you obviously need to use a PSU that has enough 6-pin power cables for your needs.

 

 

The Diamond HD 5770 XOC is built on the RV480 Juniper core, which is manufactured on a 40nm process. This core has 800 stream processors, 1.4 billion transistors, 16 ROP units, and 40 texture units all on a 170mm die. As an overclocked version, the clock speed difference between this card and the reference design is 80MHz, making the core clocked at 930MHz, instead of 850MHz. Like other HD 57XX series cards, the memory bus is 128-bit, and this card comes with 1GB GDDR5 memory clocked at 1300MHz (5.2Gbps), giving it a total memory bandwidth up to 81.3GB/s. This is also an increase over stock, as standard versions come with the memory at 1200MHz. Looking at the memory chips, you will see that this card uses a total of eight Hynix memory chips with the model number H5GQ1H24AFR found on them. To cool the memory chips that are under the GPU cooler, Diamond uses a curved metal heatsink design. It is nice to see memory cooling, but unfortunately, the four memory chips on the other side of the PCB do not have any added cooling. In the last image below, you can see the disassembled GPU cooler, which uses a relatively small metal heatsink to transfer heat away from the core, which is then removed out the ventilation holes by force of the attached fan.

 

 

 

So, now that we have dissected the card and understand the hardware, we can put it in the test system and see just how much performance the faster clock speeds produce.

Closer Look:

The installation disk that comes with the Diamond HD 5770 XOC is straight forward and very simple to use. The first screen that appears after inserting the disk gives you a list of options that are all found on the left side in the form of large tabs. These tabs are Install Software, Read Documentation, Visit Website, Browse CD-ROM, and Exit. The Install Software tab will bring you into a new page that has more tabs on the left. Each tab lists an operating system so you can grab the proper drivers for your system. The Read Documentation tab opens up a PDF file that is the same as the paper manual included with the accessories. The Visit Website tab links you to the Diamond home page, while Browse CD-ROM lets you manually search the installation disk for a specific file to install. Last up is the Exit tab, which is fairly self-explanatory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it came time to install the drivers using the installation disk, I ran into an issue that required me to get the drivers straight from the ATI website instead of continuing with the Diamond wizard. Both install tabs (x86 and x64) for the Windows Vista drivers included the x86 drivers, which meant there was no way to install the drivers for Vista 64 from the disk. This was not a big deal though, as the 10.1 drivers are outdated anyway, so it would be recommended to get the latest ATI drivers instead of installing the included ones, even if your included disk does not give the same error as mine.

 

 

 

 

Now that we have the hardware and software installed, we are getting that much closer to the benchmarks.

Closer Look:

ATI Catalyst Control Center is an advanced software application that allows you to manipulate many of the graphics card's hardware functions, such as display and 3D settings. This program is usually bundled with the ATI graphics drivers, but does not need to be installed for the graphics card to function properly. If installed though, Catalyst Control Center is a very useful tool that allows for basic changes, such as adjusting the image quality of your display to more advanced options like overclocking the GPU core and memory frequencies. Below we will be taking a more in-depth look at this ATI software and some of its functions.

 

Welcome screen:

The Welcome screen allows you to check for updates, contact Customer Care, link to AMD.com, or join ATI's folding@home team. These links are all found at the middle of the page, with the option to switch to the basic Control Center below, along with two menus that give access to more options at the top. The two top options each have a drop down menu that appears when you select them. The first menu is Graphics and this is where the options to adjust the image quality and other video settings is done. The second option is Hydravision, which is a Multi-monitor Management system that lets you alter your desktop for improved productivity. Below, we will be taking a more in-depth look at Catalyst Control Center's functions and features.

 

 

 

 


  

 

 

Information Center & Desktop Displays:

The information center allows you to view both hardware and software details for installed ATI Radeon graphics card.  Some information that can be found here is the core and memory speeds of your graphics card, as well as what driver version is being used. The Desktop Displays screen shows all displays connected to your system and allows you to make changes to one or multiple monitors. Here you can rotate the display image, set a primary display, or use the force button, which comes with a host of features that can force you monitor to support resolutions and image qualities that may not be supported.

 

 

Desktop Properties:

Desktop Properties gives you a host of options to choose from that make changes to the desktop image. Here, you can adjust your display resolution, color quality, refresh rate, and choose the rotation of the image being displayed. There are also options here to adjust the colors of the monitor by either changing the Gamma, Brightness, or Contrast.

 

 

Display Options & 3D: 

Display Options simply selects how Catalyst Control Center detects your display devices, whether that be manually or done automatically when the Control Center is opened. The 3D menu has several tabs at the top that allow you to adjust the 3D features, such as Anti-Aliasing or Anisotropic Filtering - these options can be set to either Performance, Balanced or Quality depending on your 3D needs and hardware used. The changes made here will affect games, as well as other 3D applications. One nice feature here is that you can view your changes in real-time with the use of the 3D preview image.

 

 

Avivo Video:

Here you have five tabs to choose from, all letting you adjust the quality for your video. As in the 3D section, there is a preview image for you to see what your changes will impact. If you find that you don't like your choice, there is a handy default tab at the bottom right that will reset all the settings. From here, you can also change the display quality of the video that plays though your PC.

 

 

ATI Overdrive:

ATI Overdrive panel gives the ability to overclock the GPU core and memory, as well as adjust the fan speed. Before any of this is done though, you will need to click on the key icon that will unlock the overclocking options. Once unlocked, you can manually set the frequencies for the graphics card to a value between stock and a predetermined number by ATI. ATI has also included an Auto-Tune option for those that are new to GPU overclocking. This tool auto-overclocks the graphics card by adjusting the core and memory in small increments and doing a self check each time it raises the frequencies. The Overdrive menu also lets you adjust your fan speed, check your graphics card's stability, and get temperature information.

 

 

Specifications:

GPU
Juniper
Core Clock
930MHz
BUS
PCI Express x16
Ports
2 Dual-Link DVI, HDMI, Standard DisplayPort
Cooling
Active-Fan Cooler
MFG Process
40nm
Transistor Count
1.04 billion
Stream Processors
800
Memory Clock
1.3GHz
Memory type
GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth
81.3 GB/sec
Memory size
1024MB
Memory Interface
GDDR5
RAMDAC
400 MHz
CrossFire
CrossFireX
Direct-X
80,90,10.0-10.1,11.0
OpenGL
OpenCL 3.2
Video Acceleration
MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, WMV9, VC-1, and H.264
Max Resolution Analog
2560 x 1600
Max Resolution Digital
1920 x 1200
HDR F. Point Rendering
128
Standard Slot Solution
DOUBLE
Anti Aliasing Modes
Up to 24x multi-sample and super sample anti-aliasing modes
Anisotropic Modes
16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
HDTV
Yes
HDMI
HDMI 1.3 / HDMI Ready
HDMI Mode
Integrated HDMI 1.3 output with Deep Color, xvYCC
Native Display Support
Yes
3D Resolution
2560 x 1600
Dual Display Support
Yes
Package contents
DVI-TO-VGA Adapter
CrossFire Bridge Interconnect
Install CD
Quick Start Guide
Warranty
Two Year Limited Warranty with Registration

 

Features:

 

All information Courtesy of Diamond

Testing:

To gauge the performance of the Diamond HD5770 XOC graphics card, I will be putting it through our testbed of both games and benchmarking programs. To test the gaming graphics performance, we use a plethora of current games. Since gaming doesn't tell the whole story, we also use FutureMark's 3DMark06 and 3Dmark Vantage programs, which test both the DX9 and DX10 capabilities of the graphics card and give it an overall score depending on how well it holds up during the testing process. Since the HD 5770 graphics cards fit more into the mid-range market than the enthusiast, I will be running the tests at a level that is more in line with this audience's type of use. I will also be comparing the Diamond XOC to other mid-range graphics cards to determine the overall value of the card. One important note though - all the comparison cards were originally tested on an Intel platform, but have since been retested on the AMD test platform, so the numbers will vary from the comparison reviews that are found in the links below.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

When it came to overclocking the Diamond HD 5770 XOC, the Catalyst Control Center had the core clock capped at 960MHz and the memory at 1445MHz. These are actually decent speeds for an overclocked HD 5770, but since this card already comes with the core clocked at 930MHz, a 30MHz increase seemed a tad small for my tastes. So, to properly overclock the card, I turned to AMD's GPU Tool, which will allow you to push the clock speeds beyond the limits present in CCC. Since the core and memory were already increased over stock, I started raising the values of each by only 5MHz at a time and testing for stability using Furmark. During overclocking, I was able to reach clock speeds beyond the limits in the CCC, but not by much.The max reached during testing was 975MHz on the core and 1450MHz for the memory. These clocks are only 15MHz ahead of what CCC capped the core at and only 5MHz above the memory. Furmark is very demanding on a GPU, so I could have possibly gone higher without running into any issues while gaming, but since these were the highest speeds I could reach without errors, it is where I decided to stay at. These final speeds actually fall right in line with other HD 5770 models, but since the core comes clocked at 930MHz instead of 850MHz, you only get a 5% overclock instead of around 15%. I say, just think of it as Diamond doing most of the heavy lifting for you. Since this card comes with faster clocks, you might run into higher temperatures than what you would find with the stock card. While I was running Furmark with the fan at auto, I saw temperatures reaching into the high 80°C mark. To reduce the GPU temps, I started to turn the fan up, but I quickly found that anything over 60% rotation to be a bit too loud. For me, the sweet spot I found was around 49% fan rotation, which kept the temperatures during the benchmarks below the 80°C mark, without bothersome noise. I do use a benching table that is on my desktop though, so if your case is on the floor and closed, it might not be such an annoyance.

 

 

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. Darkest of Days
  4. Call of Duty: World at War
  5. Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main story line of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the first benchmark, you can see that the increased clock speeds do pay off for the Diamond XOC. This gave it enough performance to come out ahead of all the other cards, even another version of the HD 5770 graphics card, the HD R5770 Hawk. The results for the additional overclock on top of the factory overclock was not overly impressive, but this is because Diamond already pushed the core almost to the maximum.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Crysis Warhead, the Diamond card outpaced all other comparison cards in both the lower resolutions, while tying the HD R5770 Hawk at the highest resolution.

Testing:

What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher is Better

 

Even though this is one game where PhysX can limit ATI's performance, the Diamond HD 5770 did exceptionally well and came out ahead of all other cards, including NVIDIA's more PhysX-capable cards.

Testing:

Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, the Diamond HD 5770 XOC is the fastest card, but this time the difference between it and the Hawk is relatively small. Also, once again, the relatively small overclock on the core doesn't add much in the way of additional performance. The overclock only added two additional frames per second at 1920 x 1200 and the lower resolutions didn't see large gains either.

Testing:

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a real-time strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn of War II is one of those games where performance is similar across multiple cards. Even with the similar performance, the XOC card was the fastest at 1680x1050 and tied with the Hawk in the other two resolutions.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter rivals, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to become the Dark Knight.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, the Diamond card leads the others and was able to stay above 150 FPS across all resolutions.

Testing:

Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City, who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and co-op multiplayer.

Game Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resident Evil 5 is a game that ATI cards handle well and the HD 5770 XOC is no exception, reaching 91 FPS at the highest resolution. The XOC card makes this game beyond playable at the mainstream video level and it should play fine even with more enthusiast-style settings.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead is a first-person shooter from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. Your goal is to make it to a rescue point, all while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie "I Am Legend" comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombies. These zombies are quick and work with pack mentality. You have but one job; survival!

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Left 4 Dead benchmark was the only one where the HD 5770 XOC did not out-perform all the comparisons cards, but with frames per second in the low hundreds, you don't have to worry about not being able to play this game.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest begins. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diamond HD 5770 XOC was the fastest card in all performance tests run in 3DMark06.

Testing:

Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista-based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. "Entry" is 1024x768 progressing to "Extreme" at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 3DMark Vantage, the Diamond XOC smoked all the other cards, with the exception of the HD R5770 graphics card, which was close in performance, but not quite as fast the Diamond offering. It was in the high preset that the HD 5770 card really separated itself from the others, with the Diamond scoring an impressvie 7119.

Conclusion:

The Diamond HD 5770 XOC graphics card is definitely one product that lives up to its name, by almost maxing out the core and memory with a factory overclock. This resulted in there only being around an additional 5% of overclocking headroom left, which doesn't sound like much, but isn't too shabby on Diamond's part, as most manufacturers only provide mild overclocks on their cards. As such, this card performed better than the other mid-range and entry level products we looked at, including the other HD 5770 card in most benches. When a highly overclocked version of a product is released, it is designed to offer more performance at roughly the same price point, which is exactly what Diamond has provided with this card. It is perfect for light overclockers and mainstream users that don't want to spend a lot of time fine tuning the products they buy. These groups would rather just have a product that is fast straight out of the box, and in this regard, the Diamond XOC is ideal. Add to this a price below the $200 mark and you have a real bargain on your hands. Beyond the performance and price though, you will also get support for all the latest technologies, such as ATI's Eyefinity and Microsoft's DX11. Just a few months ago, DX11 games were far and few between, but fast forward to today and there are multiple DX11 games out and more on the horizon, making this a perfect time to upgrade your hardware to add support for these current and upcoming releases.

Even with the card having great performanceat a fair price, there was one thing that bothered me. This was as an Extreme Overclocked version of the HD 5770 graphic card, I would have liked to see a cooler that performs better than the reference design. Higher clock frequencies are greatly benefited from effective heatsinks, and the use of one would have reduced the temperatures beyond that of what stock cooling can offer. This additional cooling would also increase the overclocking potential, leading to an even higher level of performance. This is not to say that the GPU is not properly cooled, because it is. To me, however, it is about being able to reach the best overclocking performance possible, and since this cooler can let the core reach high temperatures when being pushed hard, it is some what of a hindrance in achieving that goal. Also, like many reference designs, the fan can get quite loud when spinning at high RPM's.

With my few gripes about the cooler aside, this really is one of the fastest, if not the fastest, versions of the HD5770 available, thanks to the preset factory overclock. So, if you are in the market for a GPU that offers a high level of performance at a decent price that doesn't require endless tweaking, then the Diamond HD 5770 XOC would definitely be a good fit for you.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: