PowerColor HD5770 Crossfire Review

gotdamojo06 - 2010-09-27 11:57:16 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: November 4, 2010
Price: $164 each

Introduction:

Are you currently in the market for a new video card? Maybe you're not looking for the latest and greatest card that is currently out on the market, but rather are looking for a card that is going to be able to give you the performance that you are craving for your new games? Well, PowerColor may just have the perfect solution for you with its HD5770 single slot edition. What could be better than having a single slot video card in your system? Well obviously, having two single slot HD5770 cards for the most power you can get from the HD5770 lineup. I am very curious to see exactly how well the PowerColor single slot HD5770 is going to perform by itself as well as when it is paired up with another.

 

Closer Look:

The packaging for the PowerColor HD5770 cards is very similar to all of the other Radeon cards. There is an image of a warrior that is ready for battle in his armor to represent the power that the card is capable of. At the top of the package you will find the PowerColor logo with the slogan "Unleash the Gaming Power" printed just below. In the top right hand corner you will find stickers letting you know that there is 1GB of GDDR5 memory installed and that the video output connections are DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. The bottom of the package is where you will find the Radeon HD5770 logo with the ATI Radeon Premium Graphics badge. You will also find another sticker highlighting that these cards are "The World's First HD5770 Single Slot." XFX also has their Single Slot 5770 that came out around the same time as well. When you take a look at the back of the package, you will see the main features in the top left hand corner such as ATI Stream Technology now known as APP (Accelerated Parallel Processing), CrossFireX Multi-GPU Technology and much more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you begin to open up the packaging for the PowerColor HD5770 Single Slot cards, you will find a brown box that houses not only the video card itself, but the user manual, drivers disc and all of the other accessories. The PowerColor HD5770 is wrapped up in an anti-static bag to prevent electrical damage as well as pink bubble wrap to keep it from getting physically damaged during the shipping process.

 

 

Included in the package is the user manual that shows you exactly how to install your new HD5770 into your system if you did not know how to do so. You are also going to get a drivers disc included. However, I strongly suggest going to ATI's website and downloading the latest drivers as the ones on the CD are most likely outdated. There is also a dongle that will convert your DVI output connection to an analog format. You are also going to find a PCI-E 6-pin extender with your new card.

 


Now that we have taken a look at how the PowerColor HD5770 Single Slot video card is packaged, it's time to take a look at the card itself.

Closer Look:

When you first pull the PowerColor HD5770s out of their packaging, you are going to notice that there is a single slot cooler installed on the card that pretty much covers the entire card. There is a little bit of space at the front of the card that is not covered to allow for the warm air that is expelled from the cooler to flow out. The cooler does extend over the edge of the card (which is where the fan is placed) in order to intake fresh air from the rest of the case. This helps in delivering a constant supply of fresh air to the cooler. The PCB of the card is a bright red which goes well with the overall design of the card and cooler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like all of the higher end video cards out there, there is support for a multi-card setup. With the ATI (now AMD) side of things, you have CrossFireX. To enable CrossFireX, you need to install the CrossFire bridge on the card. This is done by connecting one end of the bridge to each of the cards via the connection at the top of each card. The connector is located right behind the slot bracket of each card. At the bottom of the card is the PCI-E connector where the card is going to be able to connect and communicate with the motherboard. The front of the card is where you are going to find all of the video out connections. The HD5770 has the ever popular DVI out but it is also equipped with DVI and DisplayPort adapters. The back end of the card under the cooler is where you will find the 6-pin PCI-E power adapter. Since the card requires more power than the PCI-E slot can deliver, additional power is needed from the power supply.

 

 

 

Once you get the cooler removed from the PCB of the PowerColor HD5770, you are going to see that there are four memory chips located around the GPU. There are also four more of them located on the back side of the card. The memory modules are manufactured by Hynix with the part number H5GQ1H24AFR-T2C. They are rated to operate at 5.0GB/s using a whopping 1.5 volts. The GPU that is installed on the PowerColor HD5770 is the Juniper chip 215-0754013. The HD5770 is going to support Microsoft DX11 and ShaderModel 5.0.

 

 

The cooler that is installed on the PowerColor HD5770 is unique in the fact that it is the first HD5770 with a single slot air cooling solution. The blower fan installed on the cooler is at the end of the cooler itself to help suck in fresh air from all around the card and push it though to help cool the heat sink. The base of the heat sink on the cooler is an all copper base that has direct contact with the GPU to give it maximum cooling performance.

 

 

Now that we know exactly how the card is setup, let's take a look at the specifications of the PowerColor HD5770.

Specifications:

GPU

HD5770

Code Name

Juniper

Manufacturing Tech

40nm

Die Size

170mm2

Transistors

1040 Million

ROPs

16

Shaders

800 Unified

DirectX Support

11

Shader Model

5.0

Pixel Fillrate

14.6 GPixel/s

Texture Fillrate

36.4 GTexel/s

Memory Type

GDDR5

Memory Size

1024MB

Bus Width

128 Bit

Bandwidth

84.5 GB/s

GPU Clock

850 MHz

Memory Clock

1200 MHz

 

Features:



 

All information courtesy of PowerColor @ http://powercolor.com/us/products_features.asp?id=256

Testing:

Testing of the PowerColor HD5770 video card by itself as well as in a CrossFireX setup will consist of running the cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of equal and greater capabilities to show where the performance of these cards stand. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the card at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see how much additional performance is available and to determine if it can run with the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. The drivers used in this test will be the 10.10 Catalyst drivers for the old ATI lineup, the latest launch driver for the HD 68XX series and 260.89 Forceware drivers from NVIDIA for the GTX 480, 470, 465 and GTX 460 and 450. Tests will be conducted at both stock and overclocked settings to gauge performance when an increase in clock speed is applied.

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

When it came down to overclocking the PowerColor HD5770, it was really quite simple. Using the MSI Afterburer utility, I began raising the clock speeds of the card up until it reached an unstable setting. I would start out by raising the GPU core by 10 MHz at a time and run MSI Kombustor for around 10-15 minutes to ensure it was stable enough to pass some the benchmarks that I was about to throw at it. Once it became unstable, I would lower the clock speed to the last known stable clock then begin on the memory and repeat the process. The first card that I used came out to be stable at 930/1330MHz for the GPU core and memory. However, once I threw the second card in, it was unable to keep up. This meant that I would have to repeat the process once again to find the maximum stable clock speeds for the CrossFire setup, which came out to be 910/1320 MHz for the GPU core and memory. 

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

MSI's Kombuster utility was used to test stability and to put a constant load on the GPU for the purposes of testing maximum power draw and temperatures. The stability test was used to find a range of settings that are stable.  The stable condition was determined through a 15 minute run at 1920 x 1200 8xAA. The reported clock speeds are those that proved stable over a 15 minute test at 1920 x 1200, 8x AA and the run through the benchmarks suite.

 

 

  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Resident Evil 5
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption

 

The maximum clock speed graphs above show the overclocking potential of the all cards tested.

Testing:

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 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 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 50 square kilometers 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

At both stock and overclocked speeds, the PowerColor HD5770 was around the middle of the pack when in CrossFireX. However, it was toward the bottom of the scales in a single card configuration.

Testing:

Part first person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA Physx and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied - in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses - chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

CrossFireX seemed to work quite well for the PowerColor HD5770s. It was heading toward the front of the competition at stock and overclocked settings but the GTS450s in SLI did beat the PowerColor dual card setup.

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.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The PowerColor HD5770s are sitting toward the bottom end of the charts at both stock and overclocked settings. The single card setup is also sitting at the back. The single card was able to beat out the Sapphire HD5770 OC once the PowerColor was overclocked.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking. You start off the single player missions playing as Private Allen and jump right into a serious firefight. This is the point where testing will begin. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is where the CrossFireX setup was able to shine. It came in third place in both the stock and overclocked setings all the way to the 2560 x 1600 testing.

Testing:

Just Cause 2 is a third-person shooter that takes place on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. In this sequel to 2006's Just Cause, you return as Agent Rico Rodriguez to overthrow an evil dictator and confront your former boss. When you don't feel like following the main story line, you're free to roam the island, pulling off crazy stunts and causing massive destruction in your wake, all beautifully rendered by the Avalanche Engine 2.0. In the end, that's what the game basically boils down to. Crazy stunts and blowing things up. In fact, blowing things up and wreaking havoc is actually necessary to unlock new missions and items.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The CrossFireX setup was once again able to kick some butt in the Just Cause 2 testing, it was able to come in the top five in the 2560 x 1600 overclocked testing while the single card was able to come in the bottom five beating out the Sappire HD5770 OC in the overclocked testing.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes. Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10 and OpenGL. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The Unigine 2.1 benchmark is a great benchmark for DX11 and the CrossFire setup was able to come in second place and third place in the stock and overclocked testing. The single card setup was more toward the end of the pack but was still able to hang on and beat out quite a few cards.


 

Testing:

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

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

During the Batman Arkham Asylum testing, the PowerColor cards ended up in the mid-range in both the stock and overclocked testing in CrossFireX. But, the single card was unable to beat out very many cards.

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 a co-op gaming style.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

Resident Evil 5 was a benchmark that took its toll on the PowerColor testing. The CrossFire setup was only able to hit about par for the benchmark and the single card ended up toward the end.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

The FuturMark 3DMark06 testing is where you are going to see the overall performance of all of the cards and the CrossFireX setup was unable to compete very well with the SLI setup. It was beaten by almost 1,000 3D Marks in the 2560 x 1600 Overclocked testing. The single card setup was about 500 3D Marks away from the Sapphire HD5770 OC in the same test.

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 1024 x 768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920 x 1200. 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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Higher = Better

 

In the Vantage testing, the CrossfireX setup was able to come in sixth place at stock and overclocked speeds in the Extreme testing, while the single card setup came in 16th place in the stock testing and 17th place during the overclocked testing.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using MSI Kombuster which is paired with MSI's afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using the stability test set to a resolution of 1920 x 1200 using 8xAA. I will use a 15 minute time frame to run the test ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the first test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for overclocking. The idle test will be a 20 minute cool down with the fan speeds left on automatic.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

The single slot cooling solution worked quite well during the stock speeds testing, putting the cards in the middle of the pack. However, as the clock speeds were raised, so did the temperatures, which put the cards at the higher end of the scales.

Testing:

Power Consumption of the system will be measured in both idle states and loaded states and will take into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use MSI Kombuster to load the GPU for a 15 minute test and use the peak load of the system as my result for the maximum load. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower = Better

 

In the power consumption testing, the PowerColor HD5770s did quite well in both stock and overclocked modes. They were toward the lower end of the scales, meaning they did not consume very much power when compared to the other cards.

Conclusion:

What is there to say about the PowerColor HD5770 in a CrossFireX setup other than "Wow!"? The performance of the PowerColor HD5770 in a single card setup was about mid-range when it came down to the benchmarking scores, synthetic and real-world gaming performance. However, once you threw a second card into the setup, you were able to see some great numbers beginning to pop out. For example, the scaling from single card to CrossFireX in Futuremark 3DMark06 at 2560 x 1600 was 62% at stock speeds and 55% once the cards were overclocked. In Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 at 2560 x 1600 at stock speeds there was an increase of 87% and once overclocked we saw an 88% increase! When it comes down to the power consumption of the cards, once they were overclocked and at full load with CrossFireX enabled, the entire system never went over 347 watts. At stock speeds, 335 watts was the highest power consumption seen. The downfall of the single slot cooling solution was that the temperatures did get quite high during testing. They hit a high of 89°C during the overclocked full load testing with CrossFireX enabled. That was with both fans at 100% fan speed, which was quite loud and a little annoying when compared to the other fans I have heard. Overclocking of the cards was not as impressive as I was hoping for. With one card in use, I was only able to get an extra 9% increase on the core and 11% on the memory. The overclocking window declined when I had two cards installed. The second card was unable to keep up with the higher clock speeds of the first and I was only able to get an extra 7% on the core and 10% on the memory.

If you are looking for a new video card setup that is not going to break the bank and still give you some really good performance, you should check out the PowerColor HD5770s in CrossFireX. These cards were able to beat out quite a few of the competition with CrossFireX enabled, such as the Sapphire HD5870, ASUS ENGTX465, PowerColor HD6870 and the XFX HD6870 in the Batman Arkham Asylum 2560 x 1600 overclocked testing.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: