Sapphire Radeon HD 7750 Low Profile ReviewWaco - August 30, 2012
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Sliding the Sapphire HD 7750 out of its cushy static-free bubble wrap reveals its true nature. This card is extremely small. I've seen and used low-profile cards in the past but I really wasn't prepared for just how compact Sapphire has made this card. It ships with the low-profile VGA bracket installed by default; swapping this out is an easy affair that I will cover in a bit. The card itself is decked out in the traditional Sapphire blue PCB and the heatsink is almost entirely black. While some low-profile cards tend to have coolers that either stick over the edge of the PCB (making them not really low-profile at all) or that take up dual slots, this card sticks to its name well. A small 51 mm fan sits offset on the heat sink and approximately above the GDDR5 RAM. As you can see from the side profile shots this card isn't a case-hogging beast like some cards have become. This card requires a PCI Express 3.0 x16 slot and is also backwards compatible with PCIe 2.1/2.0 x16 slots.
Connectivity on this diminutive card is a bit less robust than you may see on a larger card. With three outputs capable of being used at the same time this card is Eyefinity-ready out of the box! The micro-HDMI and mini-DisplayPort outputs are dwarfed by the full size Dual Link DVI port. Thankfully Sapphire included all the necessary adapters in the box to run all three monitors (assuming you have the right cables for your monitors) so you won’t have to go hunting last-minute to get your game on. The other end of the card is mostly bare with the exception of the fan power plug and open end of the heatsink.
Swapping the low-profile VGA bracket for the full-height VGA bracket is a very simple matter. A single screw through the PCB and the two DVI connector lugs are the only things that hold the bracket to the card. The rear end of the card lacks even a single PCIe power connector as the card pulls all of its power straight from your motherboard through the PCIe x16 slot. With a rated TDP of 55 watts and with PCIe x16 slots capable of delivering 150 watts this card really doesn’t need the extra connections anyway. While it doesn’t need all of the power capable of being delivered by the PCIe slot perhaps we can tap into that when overclocking…
The small cooler is held on via four spring-loaded screws to ensure proper cooling. Removing them and unplugging the cooling fan allows the cooler to fall away from the card. There are two cutouts in the bottom of the heatsink to allow airflow over the four Hynix RAM modules (256MB each). The GPU core mates to the heat sink with pretty standard TIM (though it is nearly misaligned on the heatsink) and shows even coverage. The backside of the card is crammed full of surface-mount components but is otherwise featureless. Zooming in a little closer on the left side of the card you can see the voltage regulator modules as well as the associated chokes and capacitors. These components are purely air-cooled, which would be quite scary on a larger card, but with a card of such low power draw it shouldn’t hamper anything.
The heat sink itself is machined from a single block of aluminum. Four rubberized pads prevent damage to the core during installation. The fins themselves are fairly short and each side of the heat sink is garnished with a Sapphire logo in white and red. There's really not much more to the heat sink for this card – it looks well-built and capable of shedding the heat that this low-power GPU gives off at stock speeds.
Removing the fan from the heat sink requires the removal of three tiny screws. Once released you can see the through-heat sink cooling vents that direct air over the GDDR5 RAM modules. The fan itself has a black and white Sapphire sticker on the center hub. I could not find any specifications for the fan but at 12 volts it can pull a maximum of .25 Amps and is a ball bearing design for extended life. The fan only has a 2-pin connector so the card controls the fan by varying the voltage (as opposed to 4 pin PWM control). When using the card with automatic fan speeds I never heard this little fan spin up, which was quite a surprise. Enthusiasts of quiet computing, fear not! That same silence did, however, disappear rapidly when cranking the fan to 100% for overclocking. It puts out a surprisingly loud whine but is still relatively quiet compared to most blower-style fans on reference cards.
Cleaning off the stock TIM reveals the extremely small 28nm Cape Verde GPU from the AMD Southern Islands family. This particular version of the core is the Cape Verde Pro featuring 512 stream processors, 32 ROPs, and 16 TMUs. Its maximum TDP is 55 watts when running at 800MHz. The four Hynix GDDR5 RAM modules are model H5GQ2H24MFR rated at 1250MHz (5000MHz effective). With a bit of headroom on the RAM specifications it should be trivial to get some extra performance out of this card. Move on to the next page to find out more!