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AMD Radeon HD 7770 review

AMD Radeon HD 7770

Verdict

A minor improvement over last year’s cards that needs to be cheaper to really appeal

Review Date: 15 Feb 2012

Reviewed By: Mike Jennings

Price when reviewed: £105 (£126 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £195
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
4 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
3 stars out of 6

Performance
4 stars out of 6

When we reviewed the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950, we said AMD’s 28nm architecture was promising but expensive. We’re pleased, therefore, to report that the next release comes with a much more palatable price: the Radeon HD 7770 should launch at around £125 inc VAT.

It also has a 1GHz core clock, which is a highly impressive figure, even if the rest of the specification is more reserved. There’s 1GB of GDDR5 RAM clocked at 1,250MHz, and only 640 stream processors – down by 160 from last year’s HD 6770 – which means ten Graphics Core Next clusters, rather than the 32 included in its top-end cards.

Our benchmarks returned middling results. An average of 31fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis test is playable, but it’s only 4fps better than the HD 6770, and 4fps slower than the HD 6850. There’s a similarly small gap in Crysis 2, with the HD 7770’s 30fps average in the Very High benchmark a mere 5fps more than the HD 6770.

AMD Radeon HD 7770

At 1,920 x 1,080 and Very High quality in Just Cause 2, the HD 7770 ran at 47fps, 8fps faster than the HD 6770, and the same gap was replicated in DiRT 3. Our final games test, the blockbuster Battlefield 3, saw the gap narrow: the HD 7770 averaged 38fps at its highest settings and 1,920 x 1,080, with last year’s card 4fps behind.

It isn’t groundbreaking, then, but it did perform well in our thermal tests. Our test rig consists of an Intel Core i7-3960X processor, 8GB of RAM and an SSD, and when the card was pushed to its limits the whole machine drew 171W from the mains. That’s a huge reduction on the HD 6770, which required 251W. A peak temperature of 66°C is nothing to be concerned about either, and it’s hardly an imposing physical specimen: it has a dual-slot cooler, but needs only one six-pin power plug.

Good power draw only goes so far, though. It isn’t a big leap forward from last year’s hardware in performance terms, and it’s only just capable of topping 30fps at 1080p in the latest games, so the £125 price looks simply too high. For only a few pounds more you could get an HD 6870, which will blow this card away in any benchmark. Several cheaper cards also remain faster, which makes the HD 7770 a tough sell until AMD cuts its price.

Author: Mike Jennings

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User comments

Received 'net wisdom...

...seems tothink that the prices are just a tad too high inorder to keep the 6850/70 still very much appealing and so speed up the clearence of those cards from the channel.

That and the fact there is no 28nm competition from nVidia means AMD can price at just about any level they like.

By fingerbob69 on 16 Feb 2012

GCN

Has the new GCN meant any improvement in Folding performance or any other software that is supposed to benefit from utilising the parallelism available within GPUs?

By redgar3 on 16 Feb 2012

"has a dual-clot cooler"

Give us a comments system that lets us edit our posts and I'll stop posting pedantic messages drawing attention to the typos. Promise.

By Mark_Thompson on 16 Feb 2012

Who's the clot ?

Dear Mr Thompson
Do you proof read your submissions ?
Yours insincerely etc

By howardabates1 on 17 Feb 2012

@howardabates1

If you pay just a little attention, you'll see that Mark Thompson is directly quoting the typo from the article.

You know how I realised this? I read his whole comment, including... "drawing attention to the typos"

By matbailie on 17 Feb 2012

So much choice...

Too many GC codes with no sensible linearity, and no way to properly compare them all. This seems to be a new high-end card, yet an older card is said to blow it away... Last year I bought a new GC (around £100, my usual 'knee')after reading several reviews stating it was fantastic for the price - it is in fact slower than my 7-year old X1950 Pro, which was £20 cheaper! So where does one find a nice honest "Performance Table" of all GChips from the last 5 years? Search me...

By Wilbert3 on 17 Feb 2012

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