Sapphire HD 6770 FleX Edition Reviewccokeman -
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The smallish size of the packaging is an indicator that the HD 6770 FleX is going to be a bit on the small side. The first thing you see, other than the size of the FleX edition, is the non-reference PCB and cooling solution. At first glance, the cooling solution looks much like many of the Vapor-X equipped cards in Sapphire's inventory and uses dual heat pipes to pull the heat from the 40nm Juniper-based GPU core. The cooling solution occupies two slots over the motherboard, while only physically using a single 16x PCIe slot. The blue PCB used by Sapphire is one way the company differentiates its product from the reference cards. At just about 7.5 inches in length, the FleX Edition HD 6770 is not going to take up a lot of space in the chassis. The back side of the PCB has four of the Hynix memory modules that make up a portion of the 1GB of onboard GDDR5 memory. When you set both the HD 5770 FleX and the HD 6770 FleX side by side, the only apparent difference is the sticker on the fan shroud.
Connectivity options for the Sapphire HD 6770 FleX appear to be standard for the latest AMD-based cards on the market, with a single Dual Link DVI port, one Single Link DVI port, a single HDMI 1.4a port that supports Deep Color, 7.1 High Bitrate Audio, and Stereoscopic 3D to enhance your high definition audio and visual experience, with the final port being a single DisplayPort connection. The display options allow a connection to three low cost DVI monitors in a Single Large Surface Eyefinity configuration without expensive adapters. Adding a fourth monitor will mean you have to either purchase an active adapter for use with a DVI monitor or step up to a DisplayPort-equipped monitor. The exhaust vent on this card suffers much the same problem as many of the AMD cards with the full connectivity setup, in that the vent is too small to allow all the heat generated by the GPU core to be sent out the back side of the chassis. The back end of the card does not show much in the way of interest other than a few solid capacitors and the 6-pin power connection to provide additional power above the 75 watts pulled from the 16x PCIe slot. CrossFireX is supported on the HD 6770 FleX with more than two cards by way of the multiple CrossFire bridge connections.
The cooling solution used by Sapphire for the HD 6770 FleX edition is a dual heat pipe configuration that covers the PCB. The heat pipes radiate out from the contact surface into both the left and right side of the fin array for heat dispersal. The fan is a blow-through design that cools the GDDR5 memory and VFM components on one side of the PCB. The small discharge port on the mounting bracket means a large percentage of the heat generated will be dumped into the chassis. The copper contact surface is smooth and flat with some machining marks that do not seem to impact performance based on the temperatures delivered in the load testing. The heat sink has four standoffs with rubber vibration dampeners that work with the rubber shim around the GPU socket to keep the heat sink from rocking.
The fan used by Sapphire on the HD 6770 FleX is made by FirstDo. This fan part number, FD8015H12S, is 80x15mm in size, runs on 12V using .32A, and features a unique blade design most likely for improved static air pressure and/or a reduction in noise.
The HD 6770 did not really see a major press push since it is simply a rebadge of the Juniper-based HD 5770 with an updated BIOS for additional capabilities that include HDMI 1.4a and UVD 3 support. The TSMC-built 40nm Juniper core continues on with 1.04 billion transistors, 800 stream processors, and 40 texture units and ROPs. The Juniper die is 170mm2 in size and has clock speeds that mirror the HD 5770 at 850MHz on the core with the 1GB of GDDR5 memory at 1200MHz (4800MHz QDR). The GDDR5 memory used on the HD 6770 FleX is by Hynix, with part number H5GQ1H24AFR. The Hynix data sheets shows this memory to be created at 1250MHz (5000MHz QDR) using 1.5v. This memory has proven to have some nice headroom built-in based on previous testing, so It will be interesting to see if time has improved the process.
The HD 6770 FleX is equipped to compete at the $100 to $130 price point, but how does it fare by comparison?