MSI HD R7770 Power Edition ReviewRHKCommander959 -
Category: Video Cards
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AMD has begun to fill in the mid-range ranks for the 7-series line up. Currently available are the 7970, 7950, 7870, 7850, 7770, and 7750. The 7770 has half of the number of Stream Processors as the 7870 with 640. AMD has stepped away from the VLIW architecture used on prior generation cards to a new design called Graphics Core Next. This architecture is specifically designed for general computing and is produced on a 28nm fabrication. DirectX 11 tessellation performance benefits greatly from the new architecture. These new graphics cards are also able to properly deal with C++ and OpenCL.
MSI has provided a factory overclocked GHz Edition graphics card model dubbed the Power Edition. The full name for this card is MSI R7770 Power Edition 1GD5 / OC. This card runs at 1.1GHz core and 1125MHz memory frequencies! Thermal design power is under 80W and the memory bus is 128-bit. For video output there is a DisplayPort, HDMI, and Dual Link DVI-I port available. This card is designed to be overclocked further with triple-voltage options enabled through MSI Afterburner. Military Class III capacitors, Hi-C capacitors, and chokes further stabilize overclocking, longevity, and efficiency. The unique heat sink design called TransThermal offers great cooling performance with the ability to add a second fan that is included for additional cooling if space allows. The fan can either be installed over the existing fan for “Double Airflow Mode” or the whole shroud slides over and the fan can be installed between the original fan and I/O panel. The fan(s) also features Dust Removal Technology – during boot up rotation is reversed for 30 seconds to pump dust out of the heat sink. All of these features should make this card very competitive while being affordable.
The box design has a standard MSI layout. To the top-right side are logos for 3DMark 11, MSI Military Class III components, MSI Afterburner, AMD Radeon and Eyefinity, and MSI 3-year warranty support for North America. The bottom half of the front highlights some of the main features of the card: Triple-Overvoltage capability, enhanced PWM design (using Military Class III components), native PCI Express 3.0 slot, 1GB of GDDR5 memory, Microsoft DirectX 11 compatible, and the TransThermal auxiliary cooling design. An odd orange-gold image highlights the center. Opening the front flap reveals elaboration on the highlighted features. For Triple-Overvoltage a picture of the MSI Afterburner application with all three voltage options is shown. MSI Afterburner is explained to the right of this as a VGA Utility with a wealth of features including: video capturing, stability testing with MSI Kombuster, overclocking, and mobile Afterburner through an iOS and Android-compatible app. The Military Class III components are highlighted and explained. The three components are the Hi-C Capacitors, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Solid Capacitors. To the right of this is a comparison of the PWM design of the Power Edition versus that of a reference HD 7770. The MSI variant has 3+1 phases and provides 84 A versus 2+1 phases and 75 A.
Under the flap is a window showing off the top of the actual graphics card. This side also highlights the cooling features. The TransThermal design utilizes Propeller Blade impellers designed to increase airflow up to 20%. There are three fan modes – the card is shipped in Single Fan Mode. The TransThermal design allows users to either lengthen or thicken the graphics card by stacking a second fan atop the original fan for Double Airflow mode. The other option that increases overall length is sliding the original fan and shroud towards the rear of the card and installing the auxiliary fan next to it. This customizable design means that this card is more universally capable. For users with a long case they can run the card in Dual Fan Mode for better cooling performance. For users with small cases or that run only one video card and with room to spare beneath, they can run the card in Double Airflow mode for improved cooling without affecting length. Both fans utilize the Dust Removal Technology – the fans rotate in reverse for the initial 30 seconds of boot up to pull dust out of the heat sink. This maintains cooling performance over time when other heat sinks could suffer reduced thermal efficiency from dust clogs! The back of the box highlights a few of the specifications and features of the card as well as minimum system requirements. Some of the basic information is then translated in numerous languages.
The package is well protected inside. Black foam is cut to shape for the graphics card, separately boxed auxiliary fan, and dual Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connector. A clear plastic cover helps to keep things clean and contained. Underneath all of this are the remaining accessories: a DVI to VGA adapter, Quick User's Guide, TransThermal Guide, another guide with MSI Afterburner instructions, and a CD containing drivers, MSI Afterburner, and MSI Live Update 5. The card is protected by the standard antistatic bag. The card is also protected by having all slots and ports except for the 6-pin connection plugged or capped off by blue plastic bits. This attention to detail is a nice! The box is loaded with everything needed to get this card installed and running quickly.
Continue on for an examination of the MSI R7770 Power Edition!