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Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 1GB Vapor-X Video Card Review

The HD 6770 launch was so quiet that I didn't even hear about it. With a sample now in hand, though, let's check this new model out.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Fri, May 20 2011 11:50 AM CDT   |   Updated Fri, Sep 18 2020 10:50 PM CDT
Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Sapphire

Introduction and Package


Introduction

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I don't tend to do too much research on these lower end mid-range products. For starters, little information about them leaks because most people aren't all that interested. And secondly, partners tend to contact me about them before launch because they like these budget cards to get their moment in the spot light.

I didn't actually hear about the HD 6770 until it really launched, though. That's not completely true; I had heard whispers of it here and there, but nothing to the point that had caught my attention.

With my attention now grabbed, though, it was time to organize one and see what was going on with this new model. Priced at $134.99 US for the Sapphire version we're looking at today, we won't be running out and organizing a bunch to look at. Instead we'll probably only look at one or two.

So with the Sapphire HD 6770 1GB Vapor-X in our hot little hands, let's see what this new mid-$100 range card is cable of.


Package

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Being a cheaper card, we've got a pretty limited bundle with just some paperwork, driver CD, Molex to 6-Pin PCI-E power connector and DVI to VGA connector.

Card and Specifications


The Card

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The HD 6770 we're looking at today is the Vapor-X version from Sapphire and uses the pretty mean looking Vapor-X cooler. It's got a nice big fan, but the highlight to the cooler is the massive chunk of copper that you can see behind the fan which helps keep the card running nice and cool

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Looking around the card, we've got a single 6-Pin PCI-E power connector at the back, our CrossFire connectors across the top and connectivity comes in the form of two Dual-Link DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors. The setup of course supports Eyefinity.


Specifications

The HD 6770 is pretty much a rebadged HD 5770 with support for HDMI 1.4a, which in turn gives us support for 3D. Outside of that, though, there's really no difference between the HD 5770 and the HD 6770.

That means we've got 800 Stream Processors, 850MHz Core Clock and the 1GB of GDDR5 comes in at 4800MHz QDR running on a 128-bit memory bus.

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This particular HD 6770 comes with an overclock. Unfortunately that overclock is only an extra 10MHz on the core, bringing it to 860MHz. I understand that it's an overclock, but it's really frustrating when companies throw the OC label around for a 10MHz overclock.

I would've preferred to see the core just stay the same at 850MHz with no OC tag, or pushed to at least 880MHz and used it. 10MHz hardly seems deserving of an "OC" label. I can't put the blame on just Sapphire, though; we do see a lot of companies do it. None the less, it doesn't make it right.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11


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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

Today we'll be checking out the Sapphire HD 6770 Vapor-X OC against the Sapphire HD 5770, HD 6790 and HD 6850 on the AMD front. For NVIDIA cards, we've got the MSI versions of the GTX 550 Ti, GTX 560 and GTX 560 Ti.

Let's get started!


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Compared to the HD 5770 you can see performance is extremely similar. The only reason we're a little faster here is because of that extra 10MHz core clock.

3DMark Vantage




Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
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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Under Vantage we can again see that performance on the HD 6770 Vapor-X is just above that of the HD 5770 thanks to the extra 10MHz on the core.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark




Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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We continue to see that the extra 10MHz on the core helps just add a few extra points to the HD 6770 over the older HD 5770.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5


Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

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Getting into some games, we can see that performance between both cards is near identical. Fortunately we've got some pretty good FPS at both resolutions with 1920 x 1200 performance being just at the border of that 60 FPS average we want to achieve.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2


Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/




Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

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We continue to see that performance between the HD 5770 and HD 6770 is near identical.

Benchmarks - Mafia II


Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

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We continue to see the same trend in performance here. Unfortunately we're a bit below that 60 FPS average we need to achieve. A bit of a detail drop will sort that out, though.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2


Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/




Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 is such an intensive game that these below $200 US cards just can't offer performance at a playable level with in-game settings so high.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator


Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

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While not quite as intensive as Lost Planet 2, AvP is still a very intensive game and you can see we do struggle to pull off playable FPS with our in-game settings set so high.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV


Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/




While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

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We again see that performance between the HD 5770 and HD 6770 is almost identical. Under older games like this you can get some really playable numbers.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2


Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




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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Under Far Cry 2 you can see we've got some good FPS, but we're just a little below that 30 FPS minimum we try to aim for.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum


Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/





Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

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Batman AA performance for some reason is a little lower than the HD 5770 here. Fortunately we've still got some good FPS and you wouldn't have a problem playing Batman AA with high in-game settings at both resolutions.

Temperature Test


Temperature Tests



The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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Heat wise the card isn't too bad at 66c. It's probably a little warmer than you would expect for a card that sits under $150 US, but it's not too bad.

Sound Test


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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Surprisingly the noise levels on the Vapor-X cooler got a bit up there which was a little surprising. It's hardly at a volume that would disturb you, but probably like the heat, we thought it would be a little lower.

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 SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal 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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Being a cheaper card, it comes as no surprise that the power draw is nice and low. Just about any power supply would run this card.

Final Thoughts




Compared to the HD 5770, the new HD 6770 brings very little extra to the table. HDMI 1.4a support is going to help some people, but there's probably still a large portion of users out there who don't even know about the 1.4a iteration of HDMI, let alone what it does.

At $134.99 US the Sapphire Vapor-X version of the card is at an excellent price point. At $149.99 US, though, the Sapphire HD 6790 I feel is a better buy. It offers a clear performance difference and isn't much more of a stretch.

You can kind of understand, though, after looking at the HD 6770 why AMD didn't seem to make a big song and dance about the card. It's not the most exciting thing we've seen and performance overall isn't the best when compared to the slightly more expensive HD 6790.

The Vapor-X Sapphire version is nice and the cooler looks great as always, but you just feel that Sapphire isn't working with the best of cores. If you can afford $134.99 you should be able to afford the extra $15 to go to the HD 6790 which offers some great performance.

It's not that the HD 6770 is bad for the price; it's just that the HD 6790 is so much better. If the model was $10 - $15 less than the HD 6790 variant then it might've been an easier sell. For now, though, if your budget is that tight you can't make the jump to the HD 6790, the HD 6770 is still a pretty good product that sits between that $100 and $150 US price tag.

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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.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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