XFX & Sapphire HD 7770 1GB Reviewairman -
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The first thing that I notice and what catches my eye on this card is the simpleness of its cooler shroud. Forget about all of the injection-molded, fancy plastic designs with all sorts of venting and colorful designs with embossed logos. Buy some extruded aluminum channels, cut them up, bore some holes and tap some threads - Voila - an effective and aesthetic cooling shroud. Running down the middle of this aluminum section is a black stripe that has a brushed finish and a white, silk-screened XFX logo resides between the two holes for fans. The black PCB is wide open and easy to see from all angles of the card. Turning the card over to the other side shows the extruded aluminum's profile and more of the matte-black PCB.
Along one side of the card is a red, plastic strip that has XFX R7770 written along the side. From this angle you can get a good look at the shape of the cooler inside of it, which appears to be about as long as the PCB itself. From the other side you can see more of the cooler, the shroud supports, and the copper block that interfaces directly with the GPU.
Available ports from this card is one Dual-link DVI, one HDMI, and two mini Displayport plugs. With there being only one DVI port and one HDMI port, those of you who run 3x1 Eyefinity using non-Displayport monitors, you are going to need at least one of those pricey adapters! Underneath the ports on the other area of the mounting bracket are some venting slots and XFX's efficiently clever venting modification. With the card having an open cooler, I don't necessarily understand the requirement for these venting holes. Nevertheless, they are there! The opposite side of the card gives another look at the inside of the cooler and the shape of one of the fans.
Although this card is a budget-friendly option, it still has the ability to link up to another card similar to itself and work together to produce more frame output. The Crossfire slot is located in the same spot as it always is. Crossfiring a less expensive card such as this is always a good option to consider after the original purchase of the card when an upgrade may be desired. Rather than having to purchase an entirely new card and retire this one, another ~$150 or less will come close to doubling your performance in other games as opposed to $300+. At the back of the card is the 6-pin connector for auxiliary power. The power draw from the card should be rather low, but XFX recommends a minimum of a 500W power supply in your system to power this card properly.
To get under the hood of the card, the four small screws around the perimeter of the back side of the GPU are removed and the cooler pulls away. The fans are disconnected and four more screws are removed to separate the cooler from the aluminum shroud. The fans themselves are also screwed into the aluminum heatsink and can also be removed with the "adjustment" of several more screws. The cooler itself is a very simple design — no heatpipes, no vapor chambers, etc. Simply aluminum fins on a copper block with two fans is what will be keeping this card cool!
The heart of this video card is the Cape Verdi core. As explored earlier, the 28nm Cape Verdi core in the HD 7770 has 1.5 billion transistors, 640 stream processors, and 16 ROPs. At a base clock of 1000MHz, the HD 7770s offer 1.28 TFLOPS of computing performance, and even more with the 1120MHz core speeds of the XFX HD 7770 Super Overclocked Black Edition. In addition, this specific card uses 1GB of Hynix memory which operate at a base speed of 1300MHz (5200MHz effective).