Sapphire HD 5770 and 5750 Review

ccokeman - 2009-10-10 20:41:00 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: October 13, 2009
Price: Hd 5770 $159.99, HD 5750 $129.99


ATI had just dropped a bomb on the boys in green with the release of the HD 5870 that usurped the single GPU performance crown that nVidia has had a stranglehold on for the last few years and the company has now quickly followed up with the Juniper based HD 5770 and HD 5750 to fill a gap in the price/performance wars. The latest cards form Sapphire are DirectX 11 ready, support Windows 7 and are built on a 40nm fabrication process to both reduce costs and provide lower energy consumption. The HD 5770 features exactly half the stream processors (800), texture units (40) and ROPs(16) that its big brother, the HD 5870, carries into battle. The HD 5750 is built much the same way but the card itself has half the parts of the HD 5850. So just where will these cards fall when it comes time to start fraggin zombies or beginning the move to using your GPU as a computing tool? Based on the specifications, the HD 5770 and HD 5750 should offer up either half the performance of the HD 5870 and HD 5850, respectively. Let's hop to it and find out!







Closer Look:

Both the Sapphire HD 5770 and 5750 continue the packaging theme that we first saw with the HD 5870 just a few short weeks ago. Both feature a different rendition of "Ruby," each with a slightly different look. The same goes for the background but much is similar in the features advertised on the front panel. The 5700 series from Sapphire feature Eyefinity support, onboard HDMI and DisplyPort connectivity, are DX 11 ready, ATI stream Technology to harness the power of the GPU in parallel computing tasks, and of course the cards are both CrossfireX capable. Each card comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Both the 5770 and 5750 come with a digital download key for the game Dirt 2, a DirectX 11 title. The rear panel goes into detail on the attributes of the features listed on the front panel. At the bottom of each box is a bit of information that shows that Sapphire is doing its part to reduce its carbon footprint using recyclable materials for the packaging.




Both the 5770 and 5750 come packaged identically, Each box carries a small recyclable icon on the bottom left to promote that fact. Popping the boxes open you have the cards stored in a formed cardboard tray with the accessories in a separate compartment, with the documentation and driver disc on top of the bubble wrapped cards. For reference, the HD 5770 is on the left with the 5750 on the right.




The bundle of accessories allows you to get the most out of the Sapphire HD 5770 and 5750. Both cards come with a manual, driver disc, digital download key for Dirt 2, a CrossfireX bridge connetor, DVI to D-sub adapter and a 4-pin Molex to 6-pin PCI-E power adapter. Where the bundle differs is the inclusion of the ArcSoft SimHD software to make use of the Stream computing capability of the ATI GPU.



Time to pull the cards from their wrappers to see what Sapphire has in store for the public with the HD 5770 and 5750!

Closer Look:

The Sapphire HD 5770 and 5750 are based upon the "Juniper" series GPU from ATI built upon a 40nm fabrication process. While the big dogs of the 5800 series carry a transistor count of 2.15 billion, the 5700 series carries just shy of half that number at 1.04 billion, about 5 to 6% more than the last generation top card from ATI, the HD 4890. The Sapphire HD 5770 is delivered with a core clock speed of 850MHz on its 800 streaming processors, while the HD 5750 comes in at 700MHz on its 720 stream processors, giving the cards 1.36 and 1.08 TFlops of computing power, respectively. The 5770 is equipped with 40 texture units, four more than the 5750 at 36, while both cards have 16 ROPs. Each card is equipped with 1GB of GDDR5 memory at clock speeds of 1200MHz (5770) and 1150MHz (5750) running on a 128-bit bus. Power consumption has been minimized so these cards only pull 18 and 16 watts respectively at idle. Just looking at the cards you can see that the cooling solutions are vastly different from one another. The HD 5770 has the sleek look achieved with the full cover shroud while the HD 5750 uses a circular cover for the heatsink much like the Vapor X models. The 5770 is noticeably larger when you put the two cards side by side. The back side carries four of the eight memory modules on each card and are not covered with any heatsinks.











The front end of both the HD 5750 and 5770 are equipped with the same connectivity, two Dual Link DVI ports, a single DisplayPort connection and a single HDMI port that supports HDMI 1.3. The reason for the wealth of connections is to enable you to enjoy features such as Eyefinity, a multi monitor display configuration that can be run from a single card at a resolution of 3x2560x1600. The power connection resides on the back end of the card on both the 5770 and 5750. The connection looks hidden up in the air intake and looks to make removing the power connector a pain in the behind but in all actuality it was no more difficult than removing the connector from an open card.




Both of these cards are CrossfireX capable and have dual bridge connections to run three or more cards in this configuration with a supporting motherboard that has the right number of x16 PCI-E slots available.



It's always a shame to rip apart a perfectly good video card but here you go, both the Sapphire HD 5770 and HD 5750 in all their naked glory. The differences between the two are pretty obvious, with the 5770 being the larger card with a black PCB, while the 5750 looks, for all intents and purposes, like a card from the Vapor-X lineup although I can assure you it is not.



The heatsink assembly used on the HD 5750 looks like what comes standard on Intel's Core i5 750 processor with the copper slug inserted in the center of the radiating aluminum fins. There are four rubber legs to keep the heatsink from rucking on the GPU core. The heatsink on the 5770, on the other hand, does make use of Sapphire's patented Vapor X vapor plate technology to cool down the 800 shader cores.



The GPU cores each carry 1.04 billion transistors but where the two cards differ is in the number of shader cores, texture units and ROPs. The memory used on both the 5770 and 5750 is supplied by Hynix and is rated to run at 5Gbps. Each one of these cards was able to exceed 1300MHz+ on the memory clock speeds, or 5.6Gbps. The 5770 was able to jump 150MHz higher than 1300MHz with a climb to 1450MHz, the highest video card memory clock I have reached to date.




Let's see what the two latest creations from Sapphire and ATI have to offer in terms of performance.


Closer Look:

You know you just can't wait to get the Sapphire HD 5770 and 5750 installed in your rig to enjoy some righteous gaming. But first, you have to install the drivers so that you don't sit there utterly disappointed by the graphics performance of this shiny new card. Thankfully, Sapphire has included a disc to get you started although the manufacturer website is a great alternative. I will browse through the disc to see what is included.

After you insert the disc and allow the autorun to start the process you end up with the Sapphire GUI on the desktop. There are three options to choose from, ATI Easy install, Online Manual and Adobe Reader. Of course, the ATI Easy install is for installing the drivers and proprietary software to gain the most functionality from your new purchase. You have a choice of operating systems to choose from so just choose the appropriate OS and you get to start the ATI driver install wizard. The Online Manual is a link to download the manual while Adobe Reader links to Adobe's website to so you can download the latest version of Adobe Reader.










When you choose to install the drivers from the disc just move forward through the process and check the options best suited for your needs. You have two options, you can choose either the Express install that manages the whole process for you or the Custom Install that allows you to choose what software you will install from a list. Agree to the EULA and let the wizard finish and do the customary reboot to finish the installation.






Closer Look:

The ATI Catalyst Control Center got a new look with the introduction of the 9.7 drivers so it's about time to take an in-depth look at the options and the interface to see how well the GUI is set up and how easy it is to navigate through. Since the basic view is well, basic, I will look through the Advanced panel. The first page to open with ATI Catalyst Control Center is the Welcome page, which has quick hyperlinks to check for driver updates, get in contact with customer care, to give feedback, visit the AMD website, or to join the [email protected] cause. The next page is the Information Center, which is split into two tabs, one for Graphics Software information and the other for Graphics Hardware information. These two tabs can be very handy for troubleshooting any problems that crop up while using the Sapphire HD 5700 series video cards.










The Graphics Hardware tab of the Information Center contains information about the Sapphire HD 5770 and 5750, including BIOS version and date, chipset, memory, vendor code, and so on. Most people shouldn’t need the Graphics Hardware and Software information, but it's definitely handy when a problem may occur. The next page is the Desktops & Displays page – this page is for the basic settings of the monitor(s) and desktop. Users can figure out which monitor is which and rotate the outputted image. Clicking the properties or moving along brings us to the Desktop Properties page.



The Desktop Properties page has much more control over the desktop with settings such as desktop area, color quality, refresh rate, and again, rotation. The next tab in the Desktop Properties page adjusts the color, contrast, brightness, and gamma output. This can be handy on monitors that need some help putting out the appropriate colors – back when I used a CRT a long time ago it helped keep the colors closer to true when the monitor would get aged and get a gray or yellowish tint.



The Display Options page is very short and is used just for one option – Display Detection Option. The options are automatic or manual detection of displays. The 3D page has several tabs that allow users the ability to define a custom scheme for their games. There are previews for the effects or users can power through all of the settings on the 'All' tab at the end.



The Avivo Video page has five tabs dedicated to performance and quality adjustments for video output. A preview is included of a woman with flowers and fruit. Again, just as with the 3D page, there is an 'All' tab that can adjust all of the settings for the Avivo Video at once.



The last page on the graphics menu is the ATI Overdrive. To use this feature users must first click the "lock" to unlock the program after then agreeing to some terms. The software is capable of automatically overclocking the video card through Auto-Tune, but I prefer using the manual settings. Users can test their settings using the Test Custom Clocks button. Fan speed control is relatively new to ATI Overdrive and allows users to define what speed the fan or blower runs at. Underneath and to the right of this are gauges and readouts of some of the more important data for this card – temperature, usage activity, fan speed, GPU clock speed, and memory clock speed. The test feature brings up a full screen image that is pretty basic – greenish reddish with an AMD logo in the bottom left.



The latest additional menu is the HydraVision menu. The first page is the HydraGrid page, which allows users to define a grid-like component to lock applications to a certain chunk of desktop real estate. Options such as showing the grids when moving a window and showing an icon in the tray are settable at the bottom while adjustingthe grid is near the top. The grid can be previewed as the default layout is seen with white bars representing the grids. Users can customize the grid layout to whatever they desire and the keyboard shortcuts are listed out in the image while the red bar means it is the selected grid component to be adjusted.



The next page is the Desktop Manager, which does exactly what the name implies – it manages the desktop. The desktop manager can keep track of application position and size, and allow spanning across multiple displays. The last page is the Multi Desktop. This name is also suggestive to its use – this program allows users to have multiple desktops ranging from two up to nine. Users can rotate between desktops with the scroll wheel, preserve display settings, and enable another tray icon. This can be useful for those who have a ton of desktop icons as a means to separate them out – one could for instance even make a desktop for each category of their own choosing even – gaming, work, school, and whatever else.



Now that the Catalyst Control Center has been configured we can get to some gaming or take a rest and let the Sapphire 5700 duo do some crunching for a cure!


HD 5750
HD 5770
1.04 Billion
1.04 Billion
Engine Clock
700 MHz
850 MHz
Stream Processors
Compute Performance
1.008 TFLOPS
1.36 TFLOPs
Texture Units
Texture Fillrate
25.2 GTexels/s
34.0 GTexel/s
Pixel Fillrate
11.2 Gpixel/s
13.6 GPixel/s
44.8 GSamples/s
54.4 GSamples/s
Memory Type
Memory Clock
1150 MHz
1200 MHz
Memory Data Rate
4.6 Gbps
4.8 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth
73.6 GB/s
76.8 GB/s
Maximum Board Power
Idle Board Power






All information courtesy of Sappire technology @




Testing the Sapphire HD 5770/5750 will consist of running the card through the suite of games and synthetic benchmarks to test the performance of the 5700 series cards against many popular competitors to gauge its performance. The games used are some of today's popular titles to give you an idea on how the cards perform relative to each other. The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing with the exception of the 3DMark Vantage testing where PhysX will be disabled in the nVidia control panel. Clock speeds on each card are left at stock speeds. I will test both cards at stock speeds and then overclocked to see how much additional performance is available when you choose to overclock the card to see if it can run with or faster than the current fastest single GPU cards on the market. I have also changed up the benchmark suite to include some of the newest titles to market including Batman: Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5 and Darkest of Days. Of course, all settings are left at defaults in the control panels of each respective manufacturer except where noted. I will be using the latest drivers from each manufacturer at the time of this review. Catalyst 9.9 for all ATI cards save the 5800 and 5700 series, which require the 8.66 RC, and 191.07 for the nVidia cards


Comparison Video Cards:



Overclocked settings:

The first thing you want to do if you plan on trying for clock speeds in excess of the limits in the Catalyst control Center you should download AMD GPU Clock tool and MSI AfterBurner to make sure you get all the functionality you can. The reason for the two utility appraoch is that when you set the clock speeds in AMD GPU Clock Tool and apply the setting you default the fan speed to auto. If you go back into the CCC to change the fan speed you lose the clock speeds you set in the GPU Clock Tool. Goofy, but it's what happens. Enter MSI Afterburner - this application was written by the same person responsible for Riva Tuner over at Guru3d and is an easy to use interface that is already able to work with the latest cards from ATI and their partners like Sapphire. Once you have the applications installed it was a simple matter to overclock both of these cards. Both cards hit clock speeds in excess of their stock settings with the 5750 reaching 840MHz on the core and 1345MHz on the GDDR5 memory with the 5770 going even higher at 964MHz on the core and 1450MHz on the GDDR5 memory. Each of these cards were incredibly simple to clock once you got used to navigating between two programs. Just punch up the clock speeds, test, and repeat!



  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. Darkest of Days
  4. Call of Duty World at War
  5. Warhammer 40,000 DOW II
  6. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  7. Resident Evil 5
  8. Left 4 Dead
  9. 3DMark 06 Professional
  10. 3DMark Vantage



Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation First Person Shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.











The 5700 series cards from Sapphire deliver scores that fit the architecture. Having half the processing cores or less, not to mention the texture unit differences, the cards perform almost at half the speed of the behemoth 5870.




Crysis Warhead is a standalone expansion pack situated in time with the story line of the original Crysis. As Sergeant "Psycho" Sykes, you have a secret mission to accomplish on the far side of the island. Along the way there are EMP blasts and aliens to contend with, as you hunt down the KPA chief. This game uses an enhanced version of the CryEngine 2.











Comparing favorably with the GTX 260, the 5770 shows that it has some promise. The HD 5750 comes in right behind it in much of the testing, being at most 3 FPS off the pace set by the 5770!



What would testing be if you did not show both sides of the fence? In this test, PhysX was set to low, while leaving the remaining settings intact. You have seen time and again where the ATI cards suffer when PhysX is enabled. Mirror's Edge and Cryostasis are two prime examples. Darkest of Days is no different. What happens in this test shows that, although the game can be played by cards from the red team, the video effects and quality are diminished.

Game Settings:









Higher is Better


At the semi aggressive settings used the 5770 and 5750 from Sapphire deliver decent performance. The GTX 260 outperforms the Duo in this test at the higher resolutions.


Activision's Call of Duty: World at War goes right back to the bread and butter of the franchise - WWII FPS action. In this rendition, you start off in the South Pacific and move through a series of missions that flip back and forth between the Russian front and the island hopping advance toward the Imperial Japanese homeland. Included is a mission on Peliliu Island, arguably one of the more difficult and costly battles in the Pacific theater. The gameplay in the single player mode is rather short, but the game makes up for this shortcoming in online gameplay. If you thought CoD4 looked nice, this game is amazing with the graphics maxed out playing at a high resolution. I will use Fraps to measure a section of gameplay in the Semper Fi map on Makin Island to compare the performance of these video cards.












There is not a single resolution where the 5700 series is not playable in Call of Duty World at War. Again, the comparison card for the 5770 is the GTX 260. At the top resolution the cards performed at 43 FPS each.



Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is a Real Time Strategy game that is significantly different than its predecessor, with improved AI and an improved physics engine. You can play either as a single player in campaign mode, or in a multiplayer game where Microsoft's Live ranking system can be used.












At 2560x1600 the HD 5770 takes out the GTX 260 and HD 4890, not by an amount that would be noticeable though, but to think a $150 card performs to this level is exciting.



Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to reign the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of Physx technology to create a rich environment for you to play your trade.

Game Settings:











At 2560 x1600 the 5770 comes close to the performance of the HD 4890 but falls well behind the GTX 260.



Resident Evil 5 is the sequel to one of the best selling video games of all time. You play the game as Chris Redfield, a survivor of the events at Raccoon City who now works for the BSAA. Sent to Africa to find the genesis of the latest Bio Organic agents, you meet up with another BSAA operative and work together to solve the problem. The game offers incredible 3D effects and a Co-Op gaming style.

Game Settings:










The Sapphire HD 5770 delivers performance equivalent to the GTX 260 and HD 4890 at the higher resolutions but still falls short at the lower resolutions.


Left 4 Dead is a new release from Valve that leaves you as part of a group of survivors in a world where an infection has rapidly turned the populace into a zombie horde. You goal is to make it to a rescue point, all the while fighting what seems like overwhelming odds. Along the way there are safe houses where you can replenish your weapons and health. The movie 'I Am Legend' comes to mind to set the stage for this game. But unlike the movie, there are four characters and not just a lone gun and his faithful companion. The horde is not at all like the typical slow walking, foot shuffling zombie. These zombies are quick and work with the pack mentality. Your job: survival!










The Sapphire HD5770 and 5750 deliver performance below that of the other comparison cards. I was expecting the 5770 at least to keep pace with the GTX 260 but it fell short in each resolution.



3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest has begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.












The HD 5770 from Sapphire puts up a respectable showing coming close to the GTX 260 at 2560x1600. The HD 5750 is not as capable but still delivers scores that outpace previous generations.



Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.











The Sapphire HD 5770 makes a run at the cards close to its class but is handily beaten. When overclocked, the cards show great promise and compare more favorably to the GTX 260 and HD 4890.



Sapphire and ATI have brought out a series of video cards that offer great performance for the right price point. Coming in at $159 for the HD 5770 and $129 for the HD 5750, you have a set of cards that compare well performance wise to the GTX 260 and at times the HD 4890. I was quite surprised with the oveclocking abilities of both of these cards. Both the 5750 and 5770 gave up over 100MHz of headroom on the GPU core and gave up phenomenal gains on the memory clocks to the tune of over 1400MHz on the HD 5770 and well over 1300MHz on the HD 5750. Bargain overclocking that really gave up serious gains in performance for the effort. It took two separate applications to get clock speeds above what was available in the Catalyst Control Center. At least with this series ATI has given you the room to play since they did not give this option on the 5800 series. Even when I pushed the clock speeds the cards remained cool under fire, maxing out in the mid 60s Celsius, either with the driver controlling the fan or manually setting it. Before ripping apart the HD 5770, I did not know the reason it kept cool but found out as soon as I pulled the shroud off of the HD 5770 and found that it uses Vapor Plate technology to help manage the heat load. The other thing that contributes to the lower temperatures is the power consumption, which ATI says is 108 watts for the 5770 and 86 watts on the 5750 under load while dropping to an unreal 16 and 18 watts at idle, respectively. Eyefinity is a great idea if you can get past the trim surrounding the panel. Slapping three 24 to 30 inch monitors together in a surround setup could make for a great gaming experience, I see flight sims and driving games as the real benefactors since they already have pillars in if you play the cockpit views. Since nVidia is going full force with GPU computing, ATI is now getting into the act full force on this series of GPUs with ATI Stream technology. DirectX 11 looks to offer a next step in the visual quality of the games we like to play but at this point there is only one title supporting it but there are more in the works, 20+ going by ATI's documentation. Dirt 2 is coming out but until then it's slim pickings. If you dont have the cubic dollars it takes to play at the deep end of the pool, the Sapphire HD 5700 series of video cards will give you great gaming up to 1920x1200 at stock clock speeds and you can get additional performance with a little work. Overclocked performance at cool temperatures for a price that is sure to drop equals a deal that is hard to pass up. Both the Sapphire HD 5770 and HD 5750 fit this bill. As Bob Barker would say, "The Price is Right!"