Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 1GB Video Card

The new mid-range options from ATI arrive - we have a look at the HD 5770 model from Sapphire, can it impress?

Manufacturer: Sapphire
11 minutes & 18 seconds read time


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So you find yourself wishing you had the money to get in on the new Radeon HD 5000 series action from ATI, but the problem is the HD 5850 and HD 5870, while offering pretty kick ass performance, are just a bit out of your price range. So, if you find yourself in this situation, the model we're looking at today might be the one for you.

Launched today are two new models from ATI, while in the HD 5000 series they're not part of the 5800 line up, instead we drop back a number and move to the 5700 series. There's the HD 5750 which we'll be looking at in another article later on today, and the one we're looking at now, the HD 5770 from Sapphire.

While you might think that the HD 5850 is more mid-range, it sits in the lower segment of the high-end arena, above that is the HD 5870 and still in the high-end, but at the very top end of it is the HD 5870 X2, which is due in November.

So, if that wasn't confusing enough, you wonder where the two new models sit, well they are clearly in the mid-range market. The HD 5770 which we're testing here sits in the high-end section of that, while the HD 5750 is in the lower end of the mid-range section.

With that all sorted out, let's get stuck into the rest of the review to find out exactly what we have going on. Before looking at the performance though, we'll have a look at the package, a closer look at the video card and see what kind of specifications the model carries.

The Package

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It's great to see that Sapphire provides a Dirt 2 Steam voucher in the mid-range model, as we've seen some companies not even include it in the HD 5850, which sits higher up on the ladder.

Apart from that there isn't a whole lot more to look at with everything else being pretty standard including the all round box design.

Video Card

Having a look at the video card for the first time it wouldn't be hard to mistake it for a HD 5800 series card with it using the exact same cooler design. The biggest difference, though probably not so noticeable here, is the length of the cooler and card itself.

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In typical fashion we can see Sapphire have added its own sticker on the cooler, like the HD 5800 series the overall design is pretty similar with the picture of the girl being different and it saying HD 5770 instead of HD 5850 or HD 5870.

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The back of the cooler has the same vents and inside the top vent we have a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector. You might find yourself thinking the same thing as me, that the connector is a bit deep and might be a pain to get too. Actually, getting the plug in wasn't a problem, getting it out though on the other hand was a slightly larger pain in the butt.

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Moving to the top of the card and closer to the front we have two CrossFire connectors. We're not sure if they're something that you'll find yourself making use of, but in the event you find yourself wanting to, you'll be able to hook up three cards in a CrossFire X configuration.

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In the I/O department we're seeing the same thing as we've seen in the HD 5800 series, two Dual-Link DVI connectors along with a HDMI and DisplayPort connector. This setup allows for EyeFinity support, which means we're able to have three monitors run off this card.


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Looking at GPU-Z, you can see there isn't a whole lot being shown, what we can tell you about the card is that the core comes in at 850MHz, in the memory department the card is packing 1GB of GDDR5 that comes in at 1200MHz or 4800MHz QDR.

Test System Setup and 3DMark Vantage

Test System Setup

Processor(s): Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz (190MHz x 20)
Cooling: Noctua NH-U12P (Supplied by Noctua)
Motherboard(s): GIGABYTE EX58-UD5 (Supplied by GIGABYTE)
Memory: 3 X 2GB OCZ Technology PC-12800 DDR-3 8-8-8-24 (OCZ3G1600LV6GK)
Hard Disk(s): Western Digital 300GB Velicorapter (Supplied by Western Digital)
Operating System: Windows Vista SP1 64-bit
Drivers: ATI Catalyst 9.8, ATI Catalyst HD 5770 Driver and ATI Catalyst Cypress Driver

Today we'll find out how the HD 5770 performs against the new HD 5850 which was launched recently, but also see how it compares to the older HD 4890, which we had grown to love since its release.

Let's get started!

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

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Straight out of the gate, it's surprising to see the HD 5770 break the 10k mark. Considering where the card is aimed at it's nice to see this kind of performance, we just hope that it translates into real world performance.

Benchmarks - PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a naval action simulator that places gamers in charge of a mosquito fleet of the Allied Forces, Russia or Germany during the height of World War II.

Using the latest Direct X 10 technology PT Boards - Knights of the Sea manages to apply a lot of stress to the components of today which in turn gives us quite an intensive benchmark.

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We get another surprise; we're seeing that the HD 5770 is able to break the all important 30 FPS minimum at not just the 1680 x 1050 setup, but at 1920 x 1200 as well.

Benchmarks - CINEBENCH R10


Version and / or Patch Used: Release 10
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CINEBENCH is a real-world test suite that assesses your computer's performace capabilities. MAXON CINEBENCH is based on MAXON's award-winning animation software, CINEMA 4D, which is used extensively by studios and production houses worldwide for 3D content creation. MAXON software has been used in blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man, Star Wars, The Chronicles of Narnia and many more.

MAXON CINEBENCH runs several tests on your computer to measure the performance of the main processor and the graphics card under real world circumstances. The benchmark application makes use of up to 16 CPUs or CPU cores and is available for Windows (32-bit and 64-Bit) and Macintosh (PPC and Intel-based).

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Even for the mid-range card, we see good performance under CINEBENCH with it sitting in line with the higher end HD 5850.

Benchmarks - World in Conflict

World in Conflict

Version and / or Patch Used:
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:

World in Conflict is a real-time strategy video game by Massive Entertainment and to be published by Sierra Entertainment for Windows (DX9 and DX10).

The game is set in 1989 where economic troubles cripple the Soviet Union and threaten to dissolve it. However, the title pursues a "what if" scenario where, in this case, the Soviet Union does not collapse and instead pursues a course of war to remain in power. It is an intensive new game is sure to put plenty of stress on even the latest graphics cards and we use the built-in benchmarking for our testing.

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We continue to see very good performance here again from the HD 5770.

We're only 1 FPS away from that 30 FPS minimum, which we need to see for a good gaming experience, but we're talking about 1920 x 1200 and a very high preset - getting that extra FPS at 1920 x 1200 is going to be a small change in one of the graphics settings.

Benchmarks - Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead

Version and / or Patch Used: Unpatched
Timedemo or Level Used: Airfield
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
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Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game.

It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 using full DX10 extensions and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.

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Compared to the HD 4890, the HD 5770 numbers aren't bad, on a whole though the numbers that we're seeing here a pretty disappointing, not really a surprise though.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage:
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The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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We continue to find ourselves surprised with what the HD 5770 is able to offer; at 1920 x 1200 we're able to see that the video card is again able to break that 30 FPS minimum at a very high preset.

Benchmarks - S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. - Clear Sky

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.5.07
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, is the stand-alone prequel for S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl, a first-person shooter computer game by Ukrainian developer GSC Game World.[3] The game consists of a roughly 50/50 mix of new areas and old, remodeled areas from the previous game. The X-ray graphics engine has been updated to version 1.5 and includes DirectX 10 support (later patch 1.5.06 included DirectX 10.1). Additionally, the AI received an overhaul to accommodate the new faction wars feature.

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Clear Sky numbers across the board aren't great.

Benchmarks - Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Custom Timedemo
Developer Homepage:
Product Homepage:
Buy It Here

Left 4 Dead uses the latest version of Valve's Source engine, with improvements such as multi-core processor support and physics-based animation to more realistically portray hair and clothing, and to improve physics interaction with enemies when shot or shoved in different body parts. Animation was also improved to allow characters to lean realistically when moving in curved paths.

Rendering and artificial intelligence were scaled up to allow for greater number of enemies who can navigate the world in better ways, such as climbing, jumping or breaking obstacles. Lighting has been enhanced with new self-shadowing normal mapping and advanced shadow rendering that is important to convey information about the environment and player actions.

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Without a minimum we want to see an average of around the 60 FPS mark, we're way above that at both resolutions.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

Far Cry 2

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Not much of a surprise that the HD 5770 is putting out low numbers in this extremely intensive setup.

World In Conflict

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AA isn't really an option for these mid-range cards; you can see we're way below the 30 FPS minimum we need to see.

Left 4 Dead

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With the average being just above 40 FPS we're going to be way below that 30 FPS minimum we need.

Temperature and Sound Tests

Temperature Tests

With the TES 1326 Infrared Thermometer literally in hand we found ourselves getting real-world temperatures from the products we test at load (3D clock speeds).

There are two places we pull temperature from - the back of the card directly behind the core and if the card is dual slot and has an exhaust point we also pull a temperate from there, as seen in the picture.

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Heat isn't anything to worry about.

Sound Tests

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Noise levels are pretty much in line with the other cards, really nothing to be worried about.

Power Consumption Tests

Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a 7,200RPM SATA-II single hard drive is used without CD ROM or many cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Power draw on the HD 5770 is exactly as you would expect with it coming in lower than the other two cards in both the idle and load tests.

Final Thoughts

It's easy to be impressed with the performance of video cards like the HD 5870. They're really designed to be fast and over the years we've seen ATI do a really good job of making these high-end cards really good value for money, which was something that tended to be reserved for the mid-range models.

What this has ultimately done though is create an even greater value for the mid-range cards than in previous generations. Where it really began was the 9600 GT series a few years back. Does the HD 5770 follow the trend that we've seen over the past few years, though? Hell yeah!

The HD 5770 offers some serious performance for the price and when it came to testing, I knew that benching at 2560 x 1600 wasn't going to be an option, it was then a decision of if I benchmarked the card at 1280 and 1600 or continued to use the 1680 and 1920 setup. Once the results started rolling in I was so glad that I stuck with benchmarking at 1920 x 1200, because this video card manages to perform at that resolution.

We're seeing two results, just over 30 FPS in the minimum department or way below it due to the fact that the game isn't coded the best and prime examples include Crysis Warhead and S.T.A.L.K.E.R Clear Sky. Games like FarCry 2, World in Conflict and Left 4 Dead see some seriously good numbers at 1920 x 1200, the other thing to consider is the fact that our presets are designed for high-end cards, so we see are at High to Very High in our graphics quality settings.

Due to these presets, if you need a little bit of wiggle room, like World in Conflict where we have a 29 FPS minimum moving from Very High to High or even Medium is going to get above the 30 FPS mark, which is great.

If all that wasn't enough to convince you to buy a HD 5770, then the fact that Sapphire have thrown in Dirt 2 should sign, seal and deliver the deal.

This video card is great not because it's really fast. It's not quicker than a HD 4890 or a HD 5850 - it's great because it's this fast at the initial pricing we're seeing. Value for money is fantastic, but we can't give it that award, we have to give it our top award, the Editors Choice, because it's also fast, it has a good bundle and the I/O shield packs everything the more expensive HD 5800 series offers.

What do awards mean? Click for details!

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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