Last month AMD unveiled the worlds first DirectX 11 graphics cards in the form of the HD 5870 and HD 5850 and mighty fine cards they were too. However, priced at £340 for the former and £240 for the latter, they weren't exactly what you'd call priced for the masses. So, today we're looking at the HD 5770, which at £120 is likely to fall within many more people's budgets. Has performance been compromised too much to reach this price point or will this be the pick of the current crop of cards? Read on to find out.
The HD 5770 is a relatively small card at just 220mm long. This means it should have no problems fitting in the vast majority of PC cases, though the double width cooler will limit those with particularly small cases. A major plus point of the double width of the card is that AMD has retained the quad-video output configuration of its more expensive cards. As such, you get two dual-link DVI, a DisplayPort, and an HDMI output but as with the higher end cards, you are limited to just three outputs at once.
AMD's new black and red livery is continued on this card along with the superfluous extended faux exhausts on the trailing edge of the cooler shroud. We do like the look but still fail to see why these little extended bits are needed - that extra bit of length they add could just make the difference between successfully fitting this card in a case and not.
Just one six-pin PCI-Express power connection is required to power this card and AMD's quoted TDP is 108W, while idle power is just 18W. We will of course be putting these figures to the test later on. Two Crossfire connectors protrude from the top edge of the card where we've come to expect them. As always, we're inclined to recommend you go for a more expensive single-card option than for Crossfire or SLI, due to compatibility issues, but at least the option is there.
The HD 5770 is based on a chip (codenamed Juniper) that is derived from the one (codenamed Cypress) that powers the HD 58x0 series of cards. As such it uses the same basic architecture and technology but just has less of everything. In particular, where Cypress has 1,600 stream processors, 80 texture units, 32 ROPs, and a 256-bit memory interface, Juniper has 800 stream processor, 40 texture units, 16 ROPs, and a 128-bit memory interface. Clock speeds, however, haven't changed so the HD 5770 really is almost exactly half off the HD 5870 - both cards run at 850MHz and use 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1.2GHz.
A second card based on Juniper is also available and it comes under the HD 5750 name. We're not looking at this card today but we'll get one in soon. Essentially it has had one SIMD engine removed, resulting in a total of 720 stream processors, and 36 texture units. Its clock speeds have also been reduced so the core runs at 700MHz while the memory ticks along at 1.15GHz.
So that's the card, but for the real meat and potatoes of this review, though, we need to start gathering some numbers so let's get testing.