Sapphire HD 4770 Reviewccokeman , ClayMeow - May 31, 2009
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To install the drivers for the Sapphire HD 4770, pop the driver disk into your drive and the Sapphire installation GUI will auto-start. The menu has three options that you can choose from. The first option is to install the Catalyst Control Center and drivers by clicking ATI Easy Install. The drivers used in this review are the Catalyst 9.5. The other two options available with the installation GUI include a link to the online manual in several different languages, as well as a link to download the latest Adobe Acrobat Reader.
When you click the ATI Easy Install option, the Catalyst Control Center installation will begin. This process installs all the necessary drivers needed to make the Sapphire HD 4770 fully functional. After finishing the installation, the customary reboot is required.
As an added bonus, Sapphire has included several pieces of software from CyberLink. Everyone has heard of PowerDVD, a program to play all the DVD, Blu-ray, and HD content you desire. DVD Suite includes PowerProducer 4, PowerDirector 5, Power2Go 5.5, and Medi@Show 3, as well as trial versions of Power Backup 2.5, PowerDVD Copy, and LabelPrint 2. While the HD 4770 is not specifically designed for use as an HTPC type video card, it is more than capable of performing this function. Just to see how well the HD 4770 performs in this role, I took a quick look through both the movie 300 and one of my favorites, Beerfest! I just couldn't find Full Metal Jacket. But if you take a look at the screen shot from Beerfest, you can see the CPU loading is in the 1 to 2% mark, meaning the HD 4770 is carrying the decoding load, not the CPU. This of course has the by product of improved performance while watching HD content.
One other bit of software included with the driver package is Folding@Home. When Stanford first started looking at the GPU to run the Folding@Home client, the ATI GPU was the first graphics processing unit that the application was coded for back when the X1900 series of video cards were at the top of the performance ladder. So just what is this Folding@Home, you ask? Well, when proteins don't fold correctly, the result is some really heinous diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, BSE (Mad Cow), and Cystic Fibrosis. By simulating how chains of amino acids fold or misfold, researchers hope to find cures for these diseases and more. You can find additional information here. If you decide to join the ranks of the people looking for a cure, make sure you select team 12772.