XFX & Sapphire HD 7770 1GB Reviewairman - February 14, 2012
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In comparison, the Sapphire HD 7770 Overclocked Edition is roughly the same length as the XFX card, but doesn't appear that way due to its mostly-enclosed plastic shroud. The black plastic casing is textured and molded to give the card an aggressive look while shaped just right for the multiple copper heatpipes to show from the side. There is only one fan as opposed to two on the XFX card, but these heatpipes should compensate for the airflow difference. The card boasts the typical Sapphire blue PCB which matches the gold pins of the PCI Express notch and the copper color of the heatpipes well. Looking at the rear of the card, we can see the Sapphire logo on the other side of the plastic shroud and "leafed" in silver color. The bright blue PCB can be seen in full from this side, along with the traces and the rest of the components as well — including the Crossfire bridge port.
Taking a look from the sides show that the black shroud is not fully enclosed, just like that of the aluminum cover of the XFX card. From these angles, you can see some of the internal components and get a better look at the heatpipe layout along with how they interface with the copper plate on top of the GPU die. A part number sticker resides on the side where the heatpipes are exposed, which is useful for when you might need to RMA the card from trying to overclock it too far! There is also a holographic Sapphire sticker right in the center of the heatpipe's "angle" and helps prove the card's authenticity.
Turning the card to the short sides shows the available ports on the I/O bracket. Just like the XFX card, we are provided with two mini Displayport connections, an HDMI port, and one DVI port. Keep in mind to run more than 2 monitors you will need to use at least one Displayport connection. If your monitors are not Displayport equipped you will need to purchase an active DVI adapter. Most "approved" adapters run about $30, but are worth the cost savings in comparison to buying a monitor that natively supports it. Looking through to the other side, you can see a brief and slightly out of focus view at some of the aluminum fins as part of the main assembly that helps keep the card cool. A good look at a couple of solid capacitors can be seen here as well.
As stated on its box and as we could have guessed, this Sapphire HD 7770 requires one 6-pin, 75W PCI Express power plug to operate. Also, like all recent AMD video cards, this Sapphire HD 7770 is equipped with a single Crossfire bridge slot. Since there is only one, don't plan on putting these in "tri-fire" as you will find it difficult to locate another slot to put another bridge! Nevertheless, even just one of these cards in addition to another one as a later purchase is a fast and easy way to upgrade your system.
Getting under the hood of this card is as easy as any other, by removing of the four sprung screws on the back-side. Keep in mind that this will can void your warranty and I am only doing so as a display of what's underneath the cooler, it's GPU die, and heatsink construction and quality. Once removed, we can get a good glance as what's actually in there!
Just like the XFX core, the Cape Verdi core has 1.5 billion transistors, 640 stream processors, and 16 ROPs, but operates at a stock clock of 1150MHz versus the 1120MHz of the XFX. It is also labeled as manufactured in Taiwan versus the XFX's Chinese core. The memory is the same Hynix memory as found on the XFX, although it operates at a lower 1250MHz.