PowerColor PCS+ 5770 ReviewRHKCommander959 -
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The stream processor count on the new 5770s from ATI/AMD matches the RV770/790 core variants, so performance should be similar to an ATI Radeon HD 4870. The 5-series are built on a smaller fabrication technology than the 4-series - 40nm, as opposed to 55nm. The memory bus was also cut in half, down to 128-bit, making the cards less expensive to make. Overall, the 5770 should be a much cheaper and still comparable card to the 4870 thanks to the smaller die size. These cards were also aimed at midrange level, while the 4800 predecessors were high-end. PCB size has also been shrunk down due to many factors, including the smaller memory bus and decreased power requirements - further enhanced by the new power saving technologies imbued with the 5-series cards. The 5770 uses a mere 18w idle and a little over 100w loaded and thus requires only one auxiliary 6-pin PCI Express power connector to supplement power needs. Another pair of new features that the cards bring are Eyefinity and Microsoft DirectX 11 support. Eyefinity allows up to three monitors to be hooked up to each card in tandem for an increased field of view, while DirectX 11 support keeps the cards on the cutting edge of PC gaming. The PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 5770 is factory-overclocked and should perform very decently for a midrange video card. Looking at the top of the card, a red PCB is readily visible, as is the large black heat sink shroud and decently sized fan sitting on top of the heat sink, which runs most of the length of the card. Flipping the card over, there is a decent amount of circuitry crammed into the smaller card, four memory ICs on the back side, and no back plate for the GPU, which is common for lower end cards. The video outputs are all protected by black caps to keep dust out, which is a nice touch and shows the company tries to take good care of its products. As is standard for most ATI cards, there are two CrossFire connections for connecting with CrossFireX cables.
The front of the graphics card has two DVI ports, a DisplayPort, and a HDMI port. Sitting around these are two grills to help ventilation, although with the heat sink design these won't provide much help to get heat out of the case - unless of course a high pressure setup is utilized. The rear of the card has the one PCI Express 6-pin connection, and gives a good glimpse at the thickness of the heat sink and fan assembly, which takes up at least two slots.
To hold the fan mount to the heat sink, two screws on the top and bottom are tapped into the heat sink. Making use of the extra space, the fins stretch over capacitors near the front and back. Looking at the card from the top, four notches are readily visible in the heat sink - likely to help the fan move air across the bare memory ICs laying underneath. Since the memory isn't actively cooled, it probably wont clock very high unless there is a bunch of headroom, but that is very unlikely.
Time to get it installed and check the drivers out!