XFX & Sapphire HD 7770 1GB Reviewairman -
Category: Video Cards
Price: Sapphire $159.99 XFX BEDD Sapphire $159.99
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The beginning of this year marked the introduction of AMD's 28nm video cards, the HD 7970 Tahiti core. We got to explore it thoroughly along with its counterparts from other manufacturers within the next couple of weeks. A month later the initial 28nm launch, the HD 7950s, followed and fell into their expected performance ranges. With the industry's first 28nm GPUs on the market and the fastest single-core video cards now available, the performance margin for all other video cards have stepped up — even the budget cards. Although we can expect the best and meanest performance out of Tahiti-cored graphics cards, we can also expect to pay top dollar for the top-shelf cards.
For those of us who don't necessarily want or maybe can't afford such a powerful card but still want the low power consumption and good performance ratio of the 28nm core, AMD's budget 28nm cards launch today. Codenamed "Cape Verdi" as part of AMD's "Northern Islands" collection, the HD 7750 and HD 7770 have the potential to offer much more playable DX 11 games for around $149. The HD 7770's core clocks when they hit the shelves will be no less than 1000MHz as we can find in the retail base models. In this review, we will be taking a look at XFX's HD 7770 Super Overclocked Black Edition Double Dissipation video card. The name is a mouthful, but describes it perfectly. XFX also has an Overclocked Black Edition with a core clock of 1090MHz, but it's not as super as the Super Overclocked Black Edition with an out-of-the-box core clock of 1120MHz. The Double Dissipation part, as we recently saw in our review of an XFX HD 7970 means one thing — two fans. With 1GB of 128bit GDDR5, 1.5 billion transistors, 640 stream processors, 40 texture units and 16 ROPs, the new Cape Verdi HD 7770 cards from AMD are sure to please the budget-conscious gamers, the light gamers, and those who might want to run six monitors off of one card. In this review, a thorough evaluation of the XFX HD 7770 Black Edition Double Dissipation will be featured — let's get started!
As we are accustomed to with XFX's packaging, this HD 7770 is housed in an artistically-decorated box that is mostly black with some blue and red graphics and text. At the top on the front is the XFX logo with a blue graphic beneath it, followed by the text "R7770 / Black Edition S / Super Overclocked". At the bottom is some more information regarding the double dissipation technology feature. It also mentions the fact that this is the "first generation of ground-breaking GPUs with core clocks above 1GHz". On the left side of it is a very long list of "Key Features" of over 100 entries, most of which will be explained on the Specifications & Features page. The rear of the box is covered in more information regarding the cards tesselation capabilities, physics engine, and multi-monitor stereoscopic 3D abilities. The Sapphire box is decorated with a picture of a combat-ready hero-ess complete with a smoking gun, hard hat, an ammo belt, and an appropriate amount of cleavage. The text "1GB GDDR5" is justly surrounded by gold stars, and has the rest of the descriptive text over the front. As seen on the bottom (closest, skinny face), the system requirements are provided. In general, a Windows operating system from XP and up, 1GB of system memory, and a 450W or greater power supply with one 75W 6-pin PCI Express power connector. Also described here are the box's contents; I will share those with you shortly. The rear of the box, like the XFX's container, lists the video card's capabilities and associated technologies — such as its 28nm architecture, Eyefinity 2.0, AMD APP Acceleration, etc.
Inside of the outer sleeve is a black cardboard box with white graphics on it for the XFX card and a plain brown cardboard box for the Sapphire version. Opening these boxes exposes the area that contains the accessories. For the XFX card, this includes: adapters (DVI to VGA and HDMI to DVI), Crossfire bridge, door hanger, and driver CD along with the quick install guide and brochures about other XFX products including its power supplies, monitor stands, and display adapters. Sapphire includes similar paper content, two adapters (DVI to VGA and mini Displayport to Displayport), Crossfire bridge, and a 1.8m HDMI cable. Underneath the cardboard tray in the XFX packaging is the video card itself, while the Sapphire card is on the same "level" as the packaged accessories. Both are enclosed in an anti-static plastic bag. Judging by the size of the boxes, I thought the card would have been a little bigger — but being a lower-end card, it's expected. XFX and Sapphire most likely uses the same "blank" boxes for all of its cards.
Now that everything is unpacked, let's take a closer look at each of the cards. Although under the hood they should be rather similar, the external features and characteristics will vary.