XFX HD 5750 Review

RHKCommander959 - 2009-10-09 17:52:45 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: October 12, 2009
Price: $129.99

Introduction:

After the first wave of cards from when AMD changed from the 4-series to the 5-series, the second wave came. AMD presents the ATI HD 5770 and 5750 as targeted to the midrange graphics market and fall in line under the ATI HD 5870 and 5850. Stock designs of the 5750 have them built on 40nm fabrication just as the other 5-series, with memory sizes up to 1GB combined with a 128-bit memory bus. Stock speeds are set at 700MHz for the core and 1150MHz for the memory. The new video cards support some exciting new features - ATI Eyefinity and Microsoft's DirectX 11. The cards also idle exceptionally well at 150MHz core and 300MHz memory when they are not under load, providing great energy savings.

Under review today is the XFX HD 5750 HD-575X-ZNF. The XFX HD 5750 has 720 stream processors running at 700MHz, which is built on the 40nm process and can pack up to 1GB of GDDR5 memory running on a 128-bit memory bus at 4.6Gbps. Some of the specifications look to be in the same ballpark as the older 4870 cards, save for less energy consumption and so on, but I would take a stab at guessing that the performance to be in the general ballpark of the 4870's - just remember that memory speed has been increased and other features don't line up as well. The video card supports ATI Eyefinity as well as ATI Stream Technology and ATI CrossFireX just as the rest of the 5-series video cards do currently, with video output through two Dual-Link DVI ports, HDMI, and DisplayPort. The outputs and expansion slot are identical to the card's siblings but the heatsink design is far different with a small round heatsink that exhausts to the case - this card does take up the space of two slots. This card runs very lean on energy with its single power connection, and its low profile has it coming in at just about 7.25 inches. Another feature of this card to watch for is that it supports OpenGL 3.2 and Microsoft DirectX 11 for great gaming quality when DirectX 11 comes out.

Closer Look:

The front of the box is similar to the XFX HD 5870 reviewed here on OCC earlier, but with more detail in the background. The box itself is much smaller than the box for the 5870, and is more typical of what I've seen from XFX. The background is still a metallic X-shaped object, with the words Radeon HD 5750 front and center. Underlining it is more caution stripes as found on the other box. Above the caution stripes in white letters are a few of the basic features of the XFX HD 5750 like the PCI Express 2.0 bus, 1GB GDDR5 memory, and HDMI output. At the bottom are four stickers showing some of the package features - this is the 1GB of GDDR5 model, this card supports ATI Stream Technology, ATI Eyefinity Multi-Display Technology, and is aided by XFX's 5-Star Support. Turning to the back is the bold title of Radeon HD 5750 just like on the front. In green the new motto, "Expand. Accelerate. Dominate" sits boldly underneath the product name, over a paragraph summarizing some of the features of the XFX Radeon HD 5750. Underneath that are details of the XFX 5 Star Support program, and how to get help with the video card through XFX. Some of the key features are to the left of these, listing the supported technologies again, such as ATI CrossFireX compatibility, 1GB of GDDR5, and the power management feature of ATI PowerPlay technology.

 

 

 

 

 

Neither the top nor the bottom have much relevant information, especially the top, which only states the card type and the company that made it - XFX. The bottom has some information such as the model/part numbers, version, serial and UPC. Amongst other things are the RoHS, FCC, and recycle symbols along with a UPC.

 

 

The first side has the system requirements and box contents listed out. Users will mainly want to have the following: one PCI Express x16 slot open on the motherboard, suggested 450W power supply with a 6-pin PCI Express connector, and 1GB of system memory or greater. Inside the box is the XFX Radeon HD 5750, installation CD, quick installation guide, driver CD installation guide, XFX serial number door hanger, and a 6-pin PCI Express to 4-pin Molex power cable. The second side has four black and white images with the titles Vivid Photos, Cinematic Video, Immersive Gaming, and High Performance. A few of the features are then explained - ATI Avivo HD Video and Display Technology - HDMI with 7.1 surround sound, universal connectivity to TVs and displays, and high definition video, gaming, and photos. The ATI Catalyst suite is also given a brief explanation along with ATI CrossFireX.

 

 

The usual black box is inside of the main box, this design is elegant and protects the video card and accessories very well while maintaining a small footprint and a sleek look. Opening the black box reveals the tray that sits over the video card on top of a green platform that encases the card from its sides and bottom. The tray doubles as protection from the top while also making it extremely easy to get at the contents of the package.

 

 

Opening the tray reveals a single lonely 6-pin PCI Express to 4-pin Molex adapter. Part of the door hanger is also seen - it is a useful tool for keeping track of the serial number of the video card in the event that any trouble arises. Removing the tray shows the pint-sized card sitting with plenty of room off of its backside. The XFX 5750 is protected from ESD and dust/dirt by an antistatic bag.

 

 

Now that unpacking is done, it is time to take a peek at the card!

Closer Look:

The new XFX HD 5750 is aimed to provide decent performance at a low price, and as such is smaller and has a smaller heatsink than the more expensive 5800s. Built around similar technology, the GPU was created on a 40nm fabrication processes and supports a 128-bit memory bus with up to 1GB of GDDR5 memory. The GPU has 720 stream processors, just 80 shy of the RV770/790XT cores. The stock cooler bears no resemblance to the 5750's siblings - the 5770, 5850, and 5870 all share similar looking heatsinks. The low energy requirements of the shorter PCB combined with shrunken fabrication equate to a cool running GPU core that doesn't need as big or expensive of a heatsink as the higher end cards. The top of the heatsink is covered by an egg shaped piece of plastic with a hole for the fan to pull in air; the cover is another indiscernible object in the background with red, black, and gray along with some more caution stripes although a few don't have the black coloring. The heatsink is colored black and fits the design well although it would look better if the outputs were colored too. The back of the card is clean and has one sticker for identification. Four memory chips surround the GPU retention mechanism on the back side of the PCB.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The expansion slot has the exact same layout as found on the other 5-series video cards, including the vent slits and two holes for where the heatsink attaches to the plate. Video output is provided by two Dual-Link DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort connector. The rear of the card sports the single 6-pin PCI Express power connection. The fan is a two-wire fan but is still software controllable for fan speed.

 

 

The heatsink itself is round but it can be hard to tell what is underneath the egg-shaped shroud. The design of the cooler is adequate for the proper operation of the video card, especially when combined with the ATI PowerPlay energy saving feature. This card is ATI CrossFireX ready and does require two slots to fit.

 

 

Time to install the video card and drivers!

Closer Look:

This time around we will just be focusing on the ATI Catalyst Control Center features, which has options for overclocking the video card and adjusting fan speed through the ATI Overdrive tab, as well as options for adjusting desktop and monitor controls for the perfect setup. Users can also adjust game, video, and photo qualities by either forcing certain features or by letting the application use its own settings. To install the drivers, I suggest using the express option – it installs to the default location quickly and easily. Users will be prompted to install extras at their will such as the Folding@Home client. OverclockersClub has its own folding team where anyone is welcome to join; our team number is #12772. To overclock with the ATI Overdrive feature, users are likely to hit a brick wall. The new drivers allow for manual fan speed control but otherwise the only other capabilities of the program are running a rudimentary stability test, basic monitoring, and using sliders with limited ranges to adjust speed. Once the drivers are installed a quick system restart will get things on the right path and allow the Advanced ATI Catalyst Control Center to be used. The first page to open with ATI Catalyst Control Center is the Welcome page that has quick links to check for driver updates, get in contact with customer care, to give feedback, visit the AMD website, or to join the Folding@Home 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 a person may run into.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Graphics Hardware tab of the Information Center contains information about the video card 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 can definitely come in 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 first use this feature users must 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 new 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 adjusting the grid is near the top. The grid can be previewed as the default layout is displayed with white bars representing the grids. Users can customize the grid layout to whatever they desire, 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 we can go test out the new video card!

Specifications:

Process
40nm
Transistors
1.04B
Engine Clock
700 MHz
Stream Processors
720
Compute Performance
1.008
Texture Units
36
Texture Fillrate
25.2 GTexels/s
ROPs
16
Pixel Fillrate
11.2
Z/Stencil
44.8 GSamples/s
Memory Bus
128bit
Memory Type
GDDR5 
Memory Clock
1150 MHz
Memory Data Rate
4.6 Gbps
Memory Bandwidth
73.6 GB/s
Maximum Board Power 
86W
Idle Board Power
16W
Max Resolution
3x 2560x1600  
Dimension
7.25x 4.376x 1.5in

 

Features:

All Information courtesy of XFX and AMD

Testing:

To test the XFX HD 5750, the card will be used in a range of games and benchmarks to see how well it performs against other competitive products. The games consist of Far Cry 2, Crysis Warhead, Darkest of Days, Call of Duty World at War, Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II, Batman Arkham Asylum, Resident Evil 5, Left 4 Dead, and the benchmarks are 3DMark 06 and 3DMark Vantage. After running the card normally through the testing phase, the video card will then be overclocked and then re-tested. The results of the overclocked and stock speed performance can then be compared to see how large of a gain (if any) is made. All of the system settings remain the same from card to card and test to test, with the exception of disabling PhysX where applicable.

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

To overclock the XFX HD 5750, the ATI Catalyst Control Center will be used since the maximum stable overclock fell under the overall limit of 870MHz core and 1430MHz memory. The XFX HD 5750 overclocked roughly 20% extra on both the core and memory to a nice 845MHz and 1385MHz. Fan control is also possible now in the ATI Overdrive suite. Temperatures were in the low 30's at idle and low 60's at load. The R6 driver overclocked the 5750 without any major hiccups except that clock speed wasn't always properly reported. I used other software to verify that the overclock was where it was suppose to be and it was so this bug is only minor.

 

  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

 

Testing:

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.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This card is clearly not meant to be fighting amongst the higher end cards at stock. Nonetheless, it doesn't do too shabby for an inexpensive card. Far Cry 2 with Very High settings and Anti-Aliasing is very close to smoothly playable at the larger resolutions.

Testing:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At stock this card chases the Asus ENGTX260 Matrix, but never overtakes it. Performance at these settings in Crysis Warhead is miserable.

Testing:

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

 

Once again the stock XFX HD 5750 chases behind the GTX 260 from Asus. The performance of the 4870x2 is eerily low and looks like CrossFire isn't compatible with the game currently - the 4890 from Sapphire beats it in every resolution.

Testing:

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. This game just may be my reason to move to a 30 inch monitor. 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.

Settings:

 

 

  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The XFX HD 5750 puts up decently playable frame rates at the bottom three resolutions while 2560x1600 is pushing it. Performance was very close but not quite up to the GTX 260.

Testing:

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.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Dawn of War II the XFX HD 5750 put up a good fight at the lower resolutions, but it dropped off at the two higher resolutions. The Sapphire HD 5870 provided a playable experience all the way up.

Testing:

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. You task is to rein 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 the two lower resolutions, the game was just playable taking into account the minimum frames per second. 2560x1600 pushes the card beyond its limit.

Testing:

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:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with the others, the XFX HD 5750 performed decently until the big resolution of 2560x1600. Not surprisingly, the card barely gets more than half of what the 5870 got.

Testing:

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!

Settings:

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left 4 Dead leaves a big gap between the 5750 and the next nearest card, but even with the game having maximum details and quality it is playable on the 5750.

Testing:

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.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

At the default 3DMark 06 resolution of 1280x1024 the XFX HD 5750 came around 900 points under the GTX 260.

Testing:

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.

 Settings:

  

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

3DMark Vantage shows that the 5750 doesn't stand a chance when compared to the higher end graphics cards, but on its own right it does pretty well.

Conclusion:

The XFX HD 5750 performed admirably and the results shouldn't be confused for poor performance when compared to the titans it sat next to - the card did great and came within a stone's throw of the GTX 260. For a low power and low cost solution this card did very decently in most of the benchmarks. Microsoft DirectX 11 isn't out yet, but the card will be ready for when it does arrive, it is always nice to look toward the future. The ATI Eyefinity capability is another cool feature of the 5-series cards, gaming can easily become more impressive and enthralling with games spanning across multiple monitor setups - not to mention it makes it even easier to setup an in-home flight simulator. The lengths that this card is willing to overclock to are phenomenal as well, running the fan at 100% wasn't necessary either (it was just noisier) and didn't help the maximum overclock but a 20% overclock on both the core and memory is always awesome! Add in the idling capabilities from the ATI PowerPlay technology and this card looks to be a good deal.

The only real cons are that the fan is loud at 100% speed, which should be obvious but in retrospect the 5870's blower motor is far louder. At 50% the fan is pretty quiet while still moving plenty of air. The second con is that there aren't any DirectX 11 games released yet to make use of the full capability of the video card. Oh, and no DVI to VGA adapter was included for those who do still use VGA. Otherwise, the XFX HD 5750 is a great package!

 

Pros:

 

Cons: