PowerColor Radeon HD 5750

RHKCommander959 - 2010-01-10 19:41:27 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: February 4, 2010
Cyberpowerpc
Price: $149

Introduction:

Continuing off of the review of the PowerColor PCS+ 5770, I have received a PowerColor 5750. The 5750 packs less punch than the 5770, with a lower clock rate and fewer stream processing units – 720 rather than 800. Both are built on the same 40nm fabrication/Juniper core and are virtually the same except that the 80 stream processors (one SIMD) are physically disabled. Both feature 1GB of GDDR5 - 1GB memory is becoming very common in the mainstream finally but the 5750 can also be had with 512MB memory. Another similarity is the PCB – they are close to the same with some minor differences on which video outputs were installed from the factory, and some of the power regulation circuitry was left out since this card uses less energy – one PCI-E 6-pin connection is still left on the board for auxiliary power aside from the PCI-E port. As typical of all of the 5-series ATI/AMD graphics cards, this card supports DirectX 11 and ATI Eyefinity. This card can also be run in CrossFireX with other 5750s and 5770s. The stock clocks match the factory reference clock speeds of 700MHz and 1150MHz on core and memory, respectively, on a 128-bit memory bus.

The benchmarks will reveal how big of a difference the disabled SIMD unit and lowered clocks affect the Juniper core. It will be compelling to overclock the 5750 and see how well it clocks in comparison to the PowerColor PCS+ 5770.

 

Closer Look:

A warrior that resembles some characters out of the Dynasty Warriors series and headed by “Unleash the gaming power,” adorns the front of the box along with the terms 1GB GDDR5, DVI HDMI, and PowerColor Radeon HD 5750, while lightning bolts touch down along with a dark building that sits in the background. The back of the box has some specifications and features in seven languages - the box lists some of the general features of the card: ATI Radeon HD 5750 with 128-bit memory bus, PCI Express 2.1 support, 40nm fabrication process technology, DirectX 11 / Shader Model 5.0 Support, ATI Stream technology, ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance, ATI Avivo HD video and display technology, Enhanced Unified Video Decoder 2 (UVD2) for Blu-Ray and HD content, and built-in HDMI with 7.1 surround sound. Some of the features are then highlighted and explained somewhat. Centered at the bottom is a box with stars in it to rank what the graphics card is best put to use for - it is given four out of five for gaming, and five out of five for video and office usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first side explains the power and system requirements for some of the supported technologies. Simply put, a motherboard with an open PCI Express x16 slot is needed, a 450+ Watt power supply with at least one 6-pin PCI Express connection and 600+ Watts with two connectors for ATI CrossFireX. 1GB of system memory is suggested and to play DVDs and Blu-Ray discs users will need DVD and Blu-Ray drives. To run CrossFireX users will need to have two video cards, two PCI Express slots, and a CrossFireX ribbon cable. The top and bottom of the box both say PowerColor - overall a nice, clean box.

 

 

Opening the box there is a typical cardboard box held within, with folded tabs enclosed around the accessories and graphics card. Prying the box open - the card is protected by an antistatic bag as is typical with sensitive electronics. Here is the first glimpse at the new video card up for review.

 

 

The accessory pack is quite spartan in that it is really basic - a guide and a driver disc. No Molex to 6-pin adapter, and since almost everyone will be able to hook up to the video output no adapters are included.

 

Let's move on to the 5750 itself!

Closer Look:

The line of 5750s pack in 720 stream processors - 80 fewer than the RV770 and the full Juniper core of the 5770s. The 5700s use a 128-bit memory bus while the prior RV700 used 256-bit, the smaller bus allows for a simpler and cheaper design at the cost of bandwidth. The smaller fabrication process allows for smaller dies that use less energy but still have the same number of stream processors as the prior generation - each GPU core costs less than its predecessor and is more efficient. Both the 5750 and 5770 target the midrange market segment, and just as the 5870s and 5850s can be ran in mixed CrossFireX, so can the 5770 and 5750. 1GB GDDR5 is the norm for 5-series cards so far, but vendors have the option to opt for 512MB memory on the 5750 - the one from PowerColor packs 1GB. The card is said to use approximately 16W when idling and around 86W at full load, so the PCI Express 6-pin connection is needed. Just like the rest of the 5-series cards, this one supports DirectX 11 - titles are finally trickling out that support the new standard. One thing to mention is that both the PCS+ 5770 and this 5750 have nearly identical layouts except for minor differences in the heatsink, video out options (the solder points are there for both), and some left out power circuitry. The 5750 has a bright red PCB with a semi-transparent smoky gray shroud/fan attachment clipped on to an aluminum heatsink. The memory isn't cooled, only the GPU core. The standard two-slot CrossFireX ports are still available, and no back plate is used as is common on higher end ATI cards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The memory is made by Samsung with the code K4G10325FE-HC04, very common with 5-series cards so far. The memory is rated for 1250MHz and we will see how well it achieves that when it is clocked in at 1150MHz. The memory is intended for 1.5V but I cannot verify at this time since I do not have my voltmeter with me to see what it's running at on the 5750. Samsung has a data sheet readily available on the web for anyone interested in what the code means but it simply translates into 1GB 1.5V Samsung memory. Looking at the card from the side it is obvious that the heatsink is only intended for the GPU core, and the fan results in it taking up two slots. The fan shroud clips onto the sides.

 

 

The top side of the heatsink has slits gouged into it - probably to help heat dissipate from the memory ICs. The fan does not use a sensing wire so there are only two wires for power. The heatsink was cut so that it could fit over the small capacitors and chokes. Power comes through to the back of the graphics card as is typical with most ATI cards. This card has HDMI, DVI, and VGA outputs - it has room on the PCB for the double-stack DVI port but PowerColor opted for this configuration instead and were able to use a single expansion bracket rather than two, as is common with most of the 5-series cards.

 

 

Let's get the drivers installed so that we can test it already!

Closer Look:

This time around we will just be focusing on the ATI Catalyst Control Center features, which has options for overclocking the video card and adjusting fan speed through the ATI Overdrive tab, as well as options for adjusting desktop and monitor controls for the perfect setup. Users can also adjust game, video, and photo qualities by either forcing certain features or by letting the application use its own settings. To install the drivers, I suggest using the express option – it installs to the default location quickly and easily. Users will be prompted to install extras at their will, such as the Folding@Home client. OverclockersClub has its own folding team where anyone is welcome to join; our team number is #12772. When overclocking with the ATI Overdrive feature, users are likely to hit a brick wall. The new drivers allow for manual fan speed control, but otherwise, the only other capabilities of the program are running a rudimentary stability test, basic monitoring, and using sliders with limited ranges to adjust speed. Once the drivers are installed, a quick system restart will get things on the right path and allow the Advanced ATI Catalyst Control Center to be used. The first page to open with ATI Catalyst Control Center is the Welcome page, which has quick hyperlinks to check for driver updates, get in contact with customer care, to give feedback, visit the AMD website, or to join the Folding@Home cause. The next page is the Information Center, which is split into two tabs, one for Graphics Software information and the other for Graphics Hardware information. These two tabs can be very handy for troubleshooting any problems a person may run into.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Graphics Hardware tab of the Information center contains information about the video card including BIOS version and date, chipset, memory, vendor code, and so on. Most people shouldn’t need the Graphics Hardware and Software information, but it is definitely handy when a problem may occur. The next page is the Desktops & Displays page. This page is for the basic settings of the monitor(s) and desktop. Users can figure out which monitor is which and rotate the outputted image. Clicking the properties or moving along brings us to the Desktop Properties page.

 

The Desktop Properties page has much more control over the desktop, with settings such as desktop area, color quality, refresh rate, and again, rotation. The next tab in the Desktop Properties page adjusts the color, contrast, brightness, and gamma output. This can be handy on monitors that need some help putting out the appropriate colors. Back when I used a CRT, a long time ago, it helped keep the colors closer to true when the monitor would get a gray or yellowish tint.

 

The Display Options page is very short and is used just for one option – Display Detection. The options are automatic or manual detection of displays. The 3D page has several tabs that allow users the ability to define a custom scheme for their games. There are previews for the effects or users can power through all the settings on the 'All' tab at the end.

 

The Avivo Video page has five tabs dedicated to performance and quality adjustments for video output. A preview is included of a woman with flowers and fruit. Again, just as with the 3D page, there is an 'All' tab that can adjust all the settings for the Avivo Video at once.

 

The last page on the graphics menu is the ATI Overdrive. To first use this feature, users must click the lock to ‘unlock’ the program, after agreeing to some terms. The software is capable of automatically overclocking the video card through Auto-Tune, but I prefer using the manual settings. Users can test their settings using the Test Custom Clocks button. Fan speed control is relatively new to ATI Overdrive and allows users to define what speed the fan or blower runs at. Underneath and to the right of this are gauges and readouts of some of the more important data for this card - temperature, usage activity, fan speed, GPU clock speed, and memory clock speed. The test feature brings up a full screen image that is pretty basic – greenish reddish with an AMD logo in the bottom left.

 

The new additional menu is the HydraVision menu. The first page is the HydraGrid page, which allows users to define a grid-like component to lock applications to a certain chunk of desktop real estate. Options such as showing the grids when moving a window and showing an icon in the tray are defined at the bottom, while adjusting the grid is near the top. The grid can be previewed, as the default layout is seen with white bars representing the grids. Users can customize the grid layout to whatever they desire. The keyboard shortcuts are listed out in the image, while the red bar means it is the selected grid component to be adjusted.

 

The next page is the Desktop Manager, which does exactly what the name implies - it manages the desktop. The desktop manager can keep track of application position and size, and allows spanning across multiple displays. The last page is the Multi Desktop. This name is also suggestive to its use, as this program allows users to have multiple desktops ranging from two to nine. Users can rotate between desktops with the scroll wheel, preserve display settings, and enable another tray icon. This can be useful for those who have a ton of desktop icons as a means to separate them out – one could, for instance, even make a desktop for each category of their own choosing, such as gaming, work, school, and whatever else.

 

Now we can go test out the new 5750 from PowerColor!

Specifications:

Graphics Engine
Radeon 5750
GPU Clock MHz
700 MHz
Memory Clock MHz
1150 MHz (4.6Gbps)
Memory Interface Bus
128bit
Memory Type
GDDR5 
Memory Size (MB)
1024 MB
Bus Standard
PCIE 2.1
Microsoft® DirectX®
11

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

All Information courtesy of PowerColor@http://www.powercolor.com/eng/products_features.asp?ProductID=6525

Testing:

Testing the PowerColor HD 5750 is done with a barrage of tests consisting of these games in order: Far Cry 2, Crysis Warhead, Darkest of Days, Call of Duty: World at War, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5, and Left 4 Dead, then with the benchmarks 3DMark 06 and 3DMark Vantage. The results are then graphically represented next to other competing products with somewhat similar performance. Afterward, an overclock is attempted and the batch of testing is then repeated and also listed on the graphs. All system settings are the same for any graphics card, except for disabling PhysX for the nVidia team on tests like Vantage.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

All of the testing was done with the PowerColor HD 5750 overclocked to 755MHz on core and 1190MHz on memory because there were some problems at first; eventually I got the card to run stable and cool at 940MHz and 1200MHz on the core and memory, respectively. With the fan locked at 100% the noise was audible but still fairly quiet - nothing like the blower motors on the 5800s. Temperatures usually remained under 55C with the fan locked at 100%, except when I went for max OC it almost made it to 60C for a short term of poking around unstable overclocks. A little over 1200MHz resulted in decreased performance and not much further than that the memory would bug out completely. The core overclock was remarkable, a whopping 240MHz gain - nearly 35% - while the memory was lackluster. The lack of stream processors was made up for by the clock speed.

 

 

Some testing was done with 940MHz core and 1200MHz memory, which was achieved at the last minute after testing with the mild overclock of 755MHz and 1190MHz - the bigger boost was achieved by trying different drivers and AMD GPU Tool software. With enough toying around the barrier was breached (Catalyst seemed to be interfering with the overclocking) and a stable boost to 940MHz was possible. The results are put in rather unorthodox but are posted below for the 940/1200 results since I was unable to test the entire suite of games/benchmarks in time.

 

  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 specially 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 storyline 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 Far Cry 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 Far Cry 2 the PowerColor HD 5750 performed the worst at stock speed, however with overclocking it neared the rest of the bottom rung. With the higher overclock posted earlier it came even closer - at 1280x1024 it matched the factory overclocked PowerColor PCS+ 5770, at 2560x1600 it was two FPS under, the moderate overclock was five under - not enough to compete with the other cards.

Testing:

Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the storyline 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Crysis Warhead none of the resolutions were smoothly playable, even overclocked; the big overclock wasn't able to catch up to the 5770 or GTX 260 but was close. After 1280x1024 most of the cards were too weak to make Crysis Warhead playable with these settings.

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

 

Darkest of Days typically prefers nVidia graphics cards but the 5750 provided decent frames in the first two resolutions. Overclocking only gained a couple frames - the 5770 was far superior up until 2560x1600 where it was only 5 FPS above the light overclock in performance.

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 large resolution. This game just may be my reason to move to a 30-inch monitor. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare performance of these video cards.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call of Duty: World at War was playable even up to 2560x1600 with minor lag, overclocking didn't help much unfortunately. The 5750 was close to catching up to the GTX 260.

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 single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II had the 5750 perform well up until 2560x1600; at lower resolutions it nearly caught up to the 4870x2 and GTX 260. Overclocking gained 0-3 FPS depending on resolution.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Batman Arkham Asylum the PowerColor HD 5750 performed the worst with exception to the XFX 5750 card - the different drivers may have helped. nVidia cards do well with this game.

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 our second zombie game to test - Left 4 Dead is the other zombie apocalypse game, coming up next. The 5700s did the worst, with the 5750 and 5770 getting nearly the same FPS even though both have different stream processor counts and clock speeds. Poor driver support perhaps.

Testing:

Left 4 Dead is a new release 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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Performance at all resolutions was good for the PowerColor 5750 in Left 4 Dead, the quality was nearly set to the maximums on the game too. The 4750 was still bottom in the results - far away from any other cards.

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 5750 nearly caught up to the GTX 260 at the stock resolution for 3DMark 06 when overclocked; the massive overclock brought it above the GTX 275 and nearly to the 4890 at default resolution.

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PowerColor HD 5750 was able to squeeze a few points ahead of the XFX HD 5750 - both scoring the worst. All other cards were healthily ahead, even with the big overclock mentioned on page 5.

Conclusion:

Performance at stock was right about where it should be, there weren't any surprises. The 1GB of memory helped out in some games at 2560x1600 while others the card was just too weak. Once the big overclock set in though, this card was a performer! It wasn't ground shattering, but it did help the 5750 catch up to the other cards and made it feel less like a low-midrange GPU. The Vantage scores with the 940MHz core and 1200MHz memory were almost to the level of the ASUS ENGTX260 Matrix. Price vs. performance this card does very well - 1GB of memory, stellar core overclocking, HD video output, decent gaming - it could handle most games with good quality up to 1920x1200, and a low price come together for a good product. The 5750 series uses very little energy when compared to the 4-series cards of the last generation, boosted by ATI PowerPlay, and DirectX 11 is finally coming to fruition. Adding to it is the fact that it can still take advantage of the ATI Eyefinity multi-screen technology. The heatsink kept the GPU core cool, upper 30s Celsius at idle and generally 55C topped out, except for when I was pushing for really high overclocks where it almost budged 60C with fan speed at 100%.

The only cons that stick out in my mind are the disappointing memory clocks and minuscule accessory bundle, but overclocking is extra and all that is really needed to get the card working is the driver disc and the manual for anyone new to installing graphics cards. The memory was rated for 1250MHz operation but was incapable of achieving anywhere near there - 1200 MHz had to do for testing. However, neither of these issues can really be held against a card of this price bracket, but these are merely the only problems that come to mind.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: