ATI Radeon HD 5770 review

£128
Price when reviewed

ATI graphics cards follow a familiar pattern: both the Radeon HD 4870 and [a hrref=”http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/graphics-cards/351784/ati-radeon-hd-5870″]HD 5870[/a] introduced new architectures with high-end performance, and were then followed by more affordable mainstream parts. Back then the Radeon HD 4770 won awards for its balance of performance and price, and now the HD 5770 hopes to tread the same ground.

The hardware certainly looks promising, using a 40nm GPU with a core clock speed of 850MHz that outstrips almost all 4000-series parts. The 1GB of GDD5 memory, clocked at 1,200MHz, is also around the fastest on the market. With 800 stream processors it matches the top-end 4000-series parts — though the 5870 has twice as many.

Like all 5000-series GPUs, the HD 5770 supports DirectX 11 and ATI’s multi-monitor Eyefinity system. The card offers two DVI-I outputs as well as HDMI and DisplayPort sockets – and only requires one 6-pin power plug.

In our Crysis benchmarks the HD 5770 proved a strong contender. At 1,600 x 1,200 and high quality, it returned a result of 41fps – only a single frame slower than the HD 4870, which was ATI’s flagship card for most of last year.

Only when we raised the resolution to 1,920 x 1,200 and set Crysis’ graphical effects to their highest level, did the HD 5770 drop to a choppy 22fps. With this level of detail we could achieve a playable framerate only by lowering the resolution to 1,280 x 1,024 – on the low side for serious gamers.

Still, the HD 5770 compares well to Nvidia’s current offerings. The GeForce GTX 260 core 216 costs around £25 more but ran just two frames quicker in our high-quality Crysis benchmark, and was one frame slower with very high quality settings.

Also worth mentioning is the power draw which, like the HD 5870, is surprisingly low. When tested with our Core-i7 test rig, the HD 5770 drew 117W when idle, with this figure rising to 204W as the card churned through our most demanding benchmarks – almost 50W less than the HD 5870 needed at peak levels.

But compared to the HD 5870, which doubled the performance of its predecessor, the 5770 seems a modest step up. It’s not hard to imagine that Nvidia’s new cards – when they finally arrive – could offer better value.

Indeed, ATI’s old HD 4870 costs the same as the 5770, and offers comparable performance. If that card falls in price any further, it could be a smart alternative. It doesn’t support DirectX 11, but it will be a long time before most games require that technology.

In all, the Radeon HD 5770 is a good performer at a tempting price, but hardly a hands-down winner with last-generation cards matching it at similar prices. It may be worth waiting to see what happens next before you invest.

Core Specifications

Graphics card interface PCI Express
Cooling type Active
Graphics chipset ATI Radeon HD 5770
Core GPU frequency 850MHz
RAM capacity 1,024MB
Memory type GDDR5

Standards and compatibility

DirectX version support 11.0
Shader model support 5.0

Connectors

DVI-I outputs 2
DVI-D outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
S-Video outputs 0
HDMI outputs 1
7-pin TV outputs 0
Graphics card power connectors 6-pin

Benchmarks

3D performance (crysis) high settings 42fps

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