Sapphire HD 5770 FleX ReviewRHKCommander959 - August 12, 2010
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The Juniper core has over a billion transistors on a die the size of 170 mm2. This is all created on 40nm fabrication technology and is paired up with a 128-bit memory bus along with 1GB of GDDR5. The core packs in 800 stream processors, similar to the older 4800 cards. 40 texture, 16 ROP, and 64 Z/Stencil units pair up with the stream processors and memory to make up the backbone of the video card. Connectivity is through a PCI Express 2.1 x16 slot, and two CrossFireX slots for multiple card configurations. The 5770 only requires one 6-pin PCI Express power connection and so theoretically can only use up to 150 watts of electricity, although it wont even reach those levels without a good overclock since AMD claims a reference 5770 loaded draws 108 watts. ATI PowerPlay throttles power consumption by adjusting settings on the fly such as core and memory speed during idle, 2D mode the card only runs at 100 MHz and 300 MHz respectively so power consumption is minimal when the load is low, 18 watts on a reference 5770. PowerPlay also saves energy when idling with CrossfireX configurations. HDMI 1.3 with 7.1-channel surround sound is supported, as are dual-stream 1080p playback, H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2 formats. ATI Eyefinity and 3D stereoscopic technologies are also supported so users can game in 3D and on up to three screens. On the audio front AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS Master Audio formats. ATI Stream technology supports OpenCL and DirectCompute for faster encoding and processing.
The Sapphire HD 5770 FleX is the same dimensions as most of the other 5770s on the market with a length of around 7.5" and a height of two slots. The core and memory speeds are reference speeds of 850 MHz and 1200 MHz respectively, all eight memory chips are not actively cooled as is common on 5770s. The plastic shroud and heat sink design are shared by some of Sapphires other video cards, this one however does not have a picture of the girl seen on the box as some of the other cards do feature her. The design on here is basic and reminds me of how racing cars are usually covered in company stickers, so is this video card! The two-wired ball bearing fan has an impeller with atypical angles to it that probably change how the air disperses in the heat sink fins or somehow varies the acoustics from the air noise. The heat sink does have two large heat pipes that start right above the GPU core and then each pipe reaches for an end of the card to terminate, this aids in dispersing the heat thoroughly throughout the heat sink since heat pipes help to wick heat away from the source rather than letting the heat merely radiate outward from the core. The back side is clean, there is no back-plate although this is common practice on the 5770s and four of the memory ICs are visible.
The single link DVI port is the top grayish port and provides only 1920x1200 resolution while the second DVI port is dual link and can handle 2560x1600 resolution. DisplayPort can handle 2560x1600 as well, so users can run up to four monitors at 1920x1200 or two monitors at 2560x1600 with one on the DL-DVI port and one on the DisplayPort. The only extra power needed is through the 6-pin PCI Express connection at the rear of the card away from the slot. CrossFireX can be achieved using the two CrossFire ports near the expansion slot bracket.
The core is the same as on all other 5770s, the 40nm Juniper core is 170mm2 in size and has over a billion transistors. This 5770 has come paired with Samsung GDDR5 K4G10325FE-HC04 6th generation ICs mounted with 170 FBGA pins, the ICs have a stock voltage of 1.5V and are rated for 1250 MHz operation so there should be some easy overclocking headroom. These chips are Halogen and Lead free too. Four Phillips-head screws are used to attach the heat sink to the PCB, the screws have springs attached to them and are only threaded for about half their length.
The heat sink assembly has four standoffs with a mushy shock dampener on each, the base is part aluminum and part copper, the copper area comes into contact with the GPU core. Two heat pipes are attached at the base with solder and then spread out to the ends of the fins where it is again soldered into place. The plastic shroud is a two piece design with a silver colored plastic mounted against the larger black piece. Four screws hold the heat sink and shroud together. Three more screws hold the fan in place, two L-shaped brackets are mounted against the heat fins and hold the fan when assembled.
The fan dimensions are 80mm wide and 15mm tall, also the impeller has unique curved blades that level out near the ends. The fan operates off of standard 12VDC power and draws up to 0.32A. The fan is only wired for power, no RPM sensing or PWM wires are included.
Time to read up on some specifications!