Graphics Cards Guide

Mainstream Attack - The ATI Radeon HD 5770

Mainstream Attack - The ATI Radeon HD 5770



Mainstream 5000 Arrives

Juniper Arrives

ATI's latest generation 5000 series cards were launched to great success late last month. If you haven't checked out our review of the awesome Radeon HD 5870, then the short story is this: the new HD 5870 is the world's fastest single GPU. But what is perhaps more impressive is that it delivers such phenomenal performance with power consumption figures that are less than the previous generation of high-end cards. That's a very big leap in performance per watt improvement in the high-end space.

Although retail-ready samples of NVIDIA's GT300 cards are no where to be seen, they have, however, unveiled the "Fermi" architecture that will be powering the GT300 class cards at the recently concluded GPU Technology Conference held at San Jose, California. On top of that, they have followed up by making the GeForce GT 220, a budget-class graphics card that was initially made available only to OEMs, now available for purchase to the public.

Clearly the cogs of the graphics war machine are turning, and ATI is building on the success of the 5800 series with the upper mainstream class of the 5700 series, specifically the Radeon HD 5770 that we have here today. In accordance with ATI's new nomenclature, the new Radeon HD 5770 (previously codenamed Juniper XT), is a stripped down version of the powerful Radeon HD 5870. While the 5870 possess 1600 stream processors, the 5770 makes do with half that number. It also gets a narrower 128-bit wide memory bus, but retains the use of GDDR5 memory and has core and memory clock speeds of 850MHz and 4800MHz DDR respectively.

So on paper at least, it still looks as if it'll be a pretty quick card and should be prove to be a tough fight for perhaps the more established Radeon HD 4870. The new Radeon HD 5770 has the same number of stream processors and other GPU sub-function unit numbers are detailed in the table below. However, it loses out to the Radeon HD 4870 on memory bandwidth, no thanks to its narrower 128-bit memory bus interface as with many other mainstream range graphics cards of the past. This difference could prove to be critical in our testing outcome of whether the new mainstream card can oust the former top ATI card. The two are therefore somewhat evenly matched and comparisons between them should be interesting.

Paper specifications aside, the Radeon HD 5770 will also support ATI's Eyefinity technology, which means these cards can power up to three monitors simultaneously by either using a combination of a DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort, or two DVI ports and a DisplayPort.

Before we begin the review proper with cards from both PowerColor and HIS, here's how the new Radeon HD 5770 stacks up against other competitive SKUs.

The ATI Radeon HD 5770 and competitive SKUs
Model ATI Radeon HD 5770 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4890 1GB ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 896MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260+ 896MB
Core Code Juniper XT RV790 RV770 RV770 GT200 GT200
Transistor Count Unknown 965 million 965 million 965 million 1400 million 1400 million
Manufacturing Process 40nm 55nm 55nm 55nm 55nm 65nm
Core Clock 850MHz 850MHz 750MHz 625MHz 633MHz 576MHz
Stream Processors 800 Stream processing units 800 Stream processing units 800 Stream processing units 800 Stream processing units 240 Stream Processors 216 Stream Processors
Stream Processor Clock 850MHz 850MHz 750MHz 625MHz 1404MHz 1242MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units 40 40 40 40 80 72
Raster Operator units (ROP) 16 16 16 16 28 28
Memory Clock 4800MHz GDDR5 3900MHz GDDR5 3600MHz GDDR5 2000MHz GDDR3 2268MHz DDR 1998MHz DDR
DDR Memory Bus 128-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 448-bit 448-bit
Memory Bandwidth 76.8GB/s 124.8GB/s 115.2GB/s 64GB/s 130.4GB/s 111.9GB/s
PCI Express Interface PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16 PCIe ver 2.0 x16
Molex Power Connectors 1 x 6-pin 2 x 6-pin 2 x 6-pin 6-pin 2 x 6-pin 2 x 6-pin
Multi GPU Technology CrossFireX CrossFireX CrossFireX CrossFireX SLI SLI
DVI Output Support 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link 2 x Dual-Link
HDCP Output Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Street Price ~US$159 ~US$200 ~US$150 ~US$100 ~US$230 ~US$200