review amds radeon hd 7770 ghz edition

AMD’s Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition

Can you believe it’s been over two years since we saw a genuinely new mid-range graphics processor from AMD? Oh, sure, the Radeon HD 6770 and 6750 that came out last April had new video decoding logic and HDMI 1.4a support. But other than that, they were pretty much identical to the Radeon HD 5770 and 5750 from the Fall 2009 catalog, down to the Juniper GPUs under their heatsinks.

It’s hard to blame AMD for the lack of progress. When TSMC decided to cancel its 32-nm fab process a few years back, both AMD and Nvidia were left with no choice but to make do at 40 nm until the next process node in TSMC’s roadmap became available. What little new silicon AMD and Nvidia produced was reserved for higher price brackets, and other products just stuck around, getting price cuts and minor facelifts along the way.

The Radeon HD 5770 cost $159 when it came out in October of ’09. Today, you can nab the same card (and its post-facelift alter ego, the Radeon HD 6770) for as little as $100. That combination of longevity, low price, and solid performance has made this card something of a staple for gamers on a budget. According to the Steam hardware survey, the 5770 is the second-most popular choice for Steam users behind Nvidia’s GeForce 9800 series.

In the wake of Valentine’s Day 2012, though, the Radeon HD 5770 (and the Juniper chip within) finally reaches the end of its run. At the stroke of midnight tonight, AMD launches the Radeon HD 7700 series, a new mid-range product line featuring 28-nm silicon, AMD’s latest and greatest GPU architecture, and purported performance improvements. Can the 7700 series live up to so many months of pent-up desire for new mid-range goodness? That’s what we’re here to find out.

Cape Verde
Wikipedia says Cape Verde (rhymes with bird) is a republic that spans a small archipelago in the central Atlantic, about 350 miles off the African coast. What does that have to do with graphics processors, you ask? Absolutely nothing. But it so happens that AMD chose Cape Verde as the code-name for its latest GPU, which is featured in the Radeon HD 7700 series. Cape Verde is, fittingly, part of the Southern Islands GPU family that includes Tahiti and the soon-to-follow Pitcairn.

At 123 mm², Cape Verde isn’t very big. It’s actually even smaller than the Radeon HD 5770’s Juniper chip, whose footprint was around 166 mm². Thanks to TSMC’s 28-nm process technology, however, Cape Verde manages to pack a whopping 1.5 billion transistors inside its diminutive die—that’s a 44% increase over Juniper’s 1.04 billion transistors.

There’s much more to Cape Verde than a higher transistor count, of course. AMD has endowed this tiny slab of silicon with its Graphics Core Next architecture, giving it all of the same features as AMD’s new flagship GPU, the Radeon HD 7970. Those features include PCI Express 3.0 compatibility, DirectX 11.1 support, a hardware video encoder block (VCE), improved power management, and last but certainly not least, a revamped shader architecture that’s more efficient and should perform better under general-purpose workloads (think OpenCL and the like).

We could devote entire pages to detailing those features. In fact, we already did, which is why I’m going to spare my fingers and point you to the relevant section of our Tahiti review. Cape Verde and Tahiti share the same architectural DNA, a fact AMD emphasized time and again when it spoke to us last week.

As you might expect, AMD dusted off the world’s smallest chainsaw in order to make Cape Verde suitably small and cheap to manufacture. Take a look at the block diagram below, which provides an abstracted, top-down view of Cape Verde’s various odds and ends:

Source: AMD

Now compare that with Tahiti’s block diagram, which we posted here. Cape Verde has only 10 compute units (down from 32 in Tahiti), two 64-bit memory controllers (down from six), four ROP partitions (down from eight), and one geometry engine (down from two). Since the two chips are based on the same core graphics architecture, however, Cape Verde’s compute units each contain the same number of 16-wide vector units (four) and texture units (also four). Cape Verde also has four color and 16 Z/stencil ROP units inside each ROP partition—again, just like Tahiti.

Here’s how Cape Verde stacks up once you do the math:

width (bits)
process node
Juniper 16 14/34 800 1 128 1040 166 40 nm
Cape Verde 16 40/20 640 1 128 1500 123 28 nm
Tahiti 32 128/64 2048 2 384 4310 365 28 nm

Depending on what part of the GPU you look at, Cape Verde has roughly one half to roughly one third the execution resources of Tahiti. It’s also outfitted a little differently than Juniper, with more texture filtering resources but fewer ALUs. I should note that Juniper is based on AMD’s older and less efficient VLIW5 architecture, however, so the figures above don’t tell the whole story.

Anyway, that’s Cape Verde for you: a new chip, a new architecture, and the promise of a breath of fresh air for cash-strapped gamers looking to upgrade. AMD isn’t just launching a new GPU by itself, of course. Cape Verde is making its entrance astride two graphics boards, the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition and the Radeon HD 7750. Before we lose ourselves in the fervor of game benchmarking, we should take a moment to introduce these cards.

The cards
In its pure, unhindered form, Cape Verde can be found atop the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition. Well, atop the board itself, but under that deceptively large red-and-black cooling shroud and the tiny heatsink it conceals.

What you see above is the card AMD sent us. The company was squeamish about us taking pictures of it, because the sample doesn’t have a shiny “GHz Edition” sticker on its cooling fan. Here’s the picture AMD wanted us to show, instead:

Source: AMD

Yes, AMD is making quite a fuss over that “GHz Edition” moniker. We’re not entirely sure why. The obvious reason is that the Radeon HD 7770 has a core clock speed of exactly one gigahertz, which leads AMD to tout it as the “the world’s first GPU at 1GHz.” But, see, that’s not strictly true. Other cards have shipped with 1GHz core clocks in the past, and every Nvidia GPU since the GeForce 8800 series has run its shaders higher than the core speed. For several years now, most higher-end GeForces have run their shaders in the 1.5-2GHz range.

All of that is somewhat moot, though, because with any highly parallel processor—and especially with a GPU—clock speed is a very poor predictor of performance.

All you really need to know is that the “GHz Edition” label doesn’t denote a particular variant of the Radeon HD 7770. All 7770s have a base clock of at least 1GHz, and some of AMD’s board partners are offering even quicker variants. (More on that in a second.) The 7770 also features 1GB of GDDR5 memory pushing bits at 4500 MT/s. It draws 100W at most and 80W under typical gaming workloads, requires a lone six-pin PCIe power connector, and has a suggested e-tail price of $159.

Here’s one of those faster variants we talked about: XFX’s Radeon HD 7770 Black Edition. This bad boy runs at 1.12GHz, and its memory pushes an eye-popping 5200 MT/s. Its asking price is equally eye-popping: $179. That kind of money will buy you a nice Radeon HD 6870 nowadays, if you don’t mind the larger power envelope, so this thing had better deliver.

At the other end of the spectrum lies the Radeon HD 7750, whose Cape Verde chip has had two of its compute units disabled. Since each compute unit has four texture units and four 16-wide vector units, the 7750 ends up with 512 shader ALUs and 32 texture units (down from 640 and 32, respectively, on the Radeon HD 7770). The 7750 is decidedly not a GHz Edition; it has a core clock speed of only 800MHz. However, its memory runs at the same speed as the 7770’s, and both cards have the same 128-bit path to memory. Both offerings can also drive six monitors in an Eyefinity configuration, with the use of a DisplayPort hub… and provided you can find one of those.

The 7750’s small sacrifices pay dividends in big ways. With a 75W max power envelope and 55W typical power draw, the card doesn’t need a PCIe power connector, and it can get by with either a single-slot active cooler or a dual-slot passive one. (We’re told Sapphire offers a passively cooled variant.) The 7750 is also, as you’d expect, quite a bit cheaper than its bigger brother, with a suggested e-tail price of only $109.

Ready to move on to the benchmarks? Not so fast. We have a big, meaty table full of peak theoretical numbers for you to pore over first:

  GPU core
Peak pixel
fill rate
Peak bilinear
Peak shader
GeForce GTS 450 783 13 25/25 0.6 3608 58
GeForce GTS 450 AMP! 875 14 28/28 0.7 4000 64
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 900 22 29/29 0.7 4104 98
GeForce GTX 550 Ti Cyclone 950 23 30/30 0.7 4306 103
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 675 22 38/38 0.9 3600 115
GeForce GTX 560 822 26 46/46 1.2 4008 128
Radeon HD 5770 850 14 34/17 1.4 4800 77
Radeon HD 5770 Super OC 900 14 36/18 1.4 4800 77
Radeon HD 6790 840 13 34/17 1.3 4200 134
Radeon HD 6850 775 25 37/19 1.5 4000 128
Radeon HD 6870 900 29 50/25 2.0 4200 134
Radeon HD 7750 800 13 26/13 0.8 4500 72
Radeon HD 7770 1000 16 40/20 1.3 4500 72
Radeon HD 7770 Black Edition 1120 18 45/22 1.3 5200 83
Radeon HD 7950 800 26 90/45 2.9 5000 240
Radeon HD 7970 925 30 118/59 3.8 5500 264

Judging by these theoretical figures, the Radeon HD 7770 has quite a bit more texture filtering power than the 5770. In fact, its filtering rates are close to those of the Radeon HD 6850. The 6850 does have somewhat higher peak shader performance, but Cape Verde’s Graphics Core Next architecture should do a better job of living up to theoretical peaks than the 6850’s VLIW5 design. It’ll be interesting to see how close the 7770 ends up to the 6850 in real games.

To keep up with the 6850, the 7770 will have to overcome one serious handicap: its limited memory bandwidth. Not only does the 7700 have half the memory interface width of the 6850, but its memory speed is also lower than the 5770’s. That leaves it with a comparatively paltry 72GB/s of bandwidth.

On the Nvidia front, the 7770 will have to contend with the GeForce GTX 550 Ti and the GTX 460 1GB. Making a prediction there is trickier. Both Nvidia cards have higher fill rates and more memory bandwidth, but they’re both more limited when it comes to peak shader arithmetic. The 7700 has higher integer texture filtering performance, but the Nvidia cards can do FP16 filtering at the same speed, something the Radeon can’t do.

Our testing methods
Note that the GeForce GTS 450, GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and Radeon HD 5770 cards we tested all have above-reference clock speeds. We would have loved to test reference-clocked variants, but these were the cards we had on hand when the Cape Verde samples came in the mail. It’s not the end of the world, but you’ll want to keep in mind that other GTS 450, GTX 550 Ti, and 5770 cards you find in stores may be a little slower.

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and we’ve reported the median result. Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Intel Core i5-750
Motherboard Asus P7P55D
North bridge Intel P55 Express
South bridge
Memory size 4GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Kingston HyperX KHX2133C9AD3X2K2/4GX
DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
Memory timings 9-9-9-24 1T
Chipset drivers INF update
Rapid Storage Technology
Audio Integrated Via VT1828S
with drivers
Graphics Gigabyte Radeon HD 5770 Super OC 1GB
with Catalyst 11.2 preview drivers
XFX Radeon HD 6850 1GB
with Catalyst 11.2 preview drivers
Radeon HD 7750 1GB
with Catalyst 8.932.2 drivers
Radeon HD 7770 1GB
with Catalyst 8.932.2 drivers
XFX Radeon HD 7770 1GB Black Edition
with Catalyst 8.932.2 drivers
Zotac GeForce GTS 450 1GB AMP! Edition
with GeForce 295.51 beta drivers
MSI GeForce GTX 550 Ti Cyclone II 1GB
with GeForce 295.51 beta drivers
Zotac GeForce GTX 460 1GB
with GeForce 295.51 beta drivers
Hard drive Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB
Samsung Spinpoint F1 HD103UJ 1TB SATA
Power supply Corsair HX750W 750W
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition
Service Pack 1

Thanks to Intel, Asus, Corsair, Kingston, and Western Digital for helping to outfit our test rigs with some of the finest hardware available. AMD, Nvidia, and the makers of the various products supplied the graphics cards for testing, as well.

Unless otherwise specified, image quality settings for the graphics cards were left at the control panel defaults. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following test applications:

Some further notes on our methods:

  • We used the Fraps utility to record frame rates while playing a 90-second sequence from the game. Although capturing frame rates while playing isn’t precisely repeatable, we tried to make each run as similar as possible to all of the others. We tested each Fraps sequence five times per video card in order to counteract any variability. We’ve included frame-by-frame results from Fraps for each game, and in those plots, you’re seeing the results from a single, representative pass through the test sequence.

  • We measured total system power consumption at the wall socket using a P3 Kill A Watt digital power meter. The monitor was plugged into a separate outlet, so its power draw was not part of our measurement. The cards were plugged into a motherboard on an open test bench.

    The idle measurements were taken at the Windows desktop with the Aero theme enabled. The cards were tested under load running Skyrim at its High quality preset.

  • We measured noise levels on our test system, sitting on an open test bench, using a TES-52 digital sound level meter. The meter was held approximately 8″ from the test system at a height even with the top of the video card.

    You can think of these noise level measurements much like our system power consumption tests, because the entire systems’ noise levels were measured. Of course, noise levels will vary greatly in the real world along with the acoustic properties of the PC enclosure used, whether the enclosure provides adequate cooling to avoid a card’s highest fan speeds, placement of the enclosure in the room, and a whole range of other variables. These results should give a reasonably good picture of comparative fan noise, though.

  • We used GPU-Z to log GPU temperatures during our load testing.

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

Batman: Arkham City
To warm up the new Radeons, we grappled and glided our way around Gotham, occasionally touching down to mingle with the inhabitants.

Arkham City‘s DX11 eye candy is a little too demanding for cards like the Radeon HD 7700 series, so we tested at 1080p in DirectX 9 mode.

Apologies for the hard-to-read line graphs. The simple truth is that most of these cards are neck-and-neck, and all of them exhibit wanton frame latency spikes, making their individual plots hard to distinguish from one another. Let’s dress up the data into something a little more presentable, shall we?

Our average FPS chart also shows most of the cards mashed together, with average performance in the same ballpark.

Thanks to our new benchmarking methodology, we can look inside the second for more subtle differences between these solutions. Our next two charts highlight those differences. The first one shows the latency threshold below which 99% of frames are rendered…

…while the second one tells us how long each card spends working on frames that take longer than 50 ms to render:

Based on these results, the Radeons clearly suffer from fewer abnormal frame latency spikes than the GeForces, with most of their frames rendered under a lower threshold. The differences aren’t huge by any means, but the Radeons are a teeny bit more fluid overall.

Put it all together, and we can confidently say the Radeon HD 6850 and 7770 are the best performers here. Which one is better? Well, it’d be a toss-up if the 6850 weren’t so much cheaper. Newegg’s cheapest 6850 sells for just $139.99 right now, and that’s before a $10 mail-in rebate. The 7770 should consume less power (we’ll test power, noise, and temperatures in a bit), but that may not justify its $20-30 price premium for most folks.

We should say a few words about the Radeon HD 7750, too. This little card actually does slightly better than the competition—our superclocked Radeon HD 5770 and GeForce GTS 450—and at $109, it’s no more expensive. Not bad at all.

Battlefield 3
We tested Battlefield 3 by playing through the start of the Kaffarov mission, right after the player lands. Our 90-second runs involved walking through the woods and getting into a firefight with a group of hostiles, who fired and lobbed grenades at us.

To keep things playable even on the slowest cards, we used the game’s medium detail preset. We had no qualms about keeping the resolution at 1080p, though. AMD claims even the Radeon HD 7750 can maintain playable frame rates in the latest games at that resolution.

Most of the plots are nestled around the 20-ms frame time threshold, just like they were in Arkham City. This time, however, we recorded substantial quantities of latency spikes on all three Nvidia GPUs. The spikes tended to be quickly followed by short dips well below the average.

The 99th percentile and 50-ms results put the Nvidia cards at a disadvantage, as expected, although the GeForce GTX 460 1GB doesn’t do too badly overall. Still, AMD’s Radeon HD 7770 and 6850 come out on top once again—which really means the 6850 comes out on top, because it’s cheaper and a better performer than the 7770.

Yes, XFX’s Radeon HD 7770 Black Edition technically trounces the 6850, and that’s a commendable feat for a card with half the memory bandwidth of its rival. The 7770 Black also happens to cost $179, though, which makes it more expensive than not just the 6850, but quite a few Radeon HD 6870 variants, as well.

As for the Radeon HD 7750, it falls behind our superclocked 5770 by a substantial margin. A stock-clocked Radeon HD 5770 would probably be quicker than the 7750, too—and cheaper.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Here, we played through the beginning of the game’s first real mission (at the Sarif Manufacturing plant) using a mix of stealthy sneaking and gunplay. Human Revolution allows for and rewards both approaches.

Since this game isn’t terribly demanding, we maxed out detail settings and cranked up FXAA antialiasing to “High” at 1080p.

Looks like a repeat of Battlefield 3 results. The AMD solutions are clustered together, and the Nvidia cards suffer from entirely too many latency spikes.

It’s like déjà vu all over again. The Radeon HD 6850 and 7770 rise to the top overall, the 7750 fails to catch up to the 5770 (though, to be fair, it does come closer than in Battlefield 3), and the Nvidia solutions are at a disadvantage because of their numerous frame latency spikes.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Our Skyrim run involved running around the town of Whiterun, starting from the city gates, all the way up to Dragonsreach, and then back down again.

Skyrim behaved surprisingly well at 1080p with the “High” preset, so we felt comfortable using that setting across the board. Note that we ran the game with the high-resolution texture patch installed.

There’s something funky going on here. The 7700-series cards exhibit considerably more variance than the rest, with lots of spikes and dips in rapid succession through much of the test. That variance was clearly noticeable when we tested—the game felt like it was skipping along instead of flowing smoothly. We saw something similar with the GeForce GTS 450, but to a much lesser degree.

The 99th-percentile results confirm our observations. The Radeon HD 7770 and 7750 have the highest latency thresholds of the pack. Most of their frame-time spikes lie below 50 ms, however, so they’re not penalized in our “time spent beyond 50 ms” rankings. We can’t say the same for the GeForces, whose more consistent overall frame times were marred by higher occasional peaks.

Power consumption
Now that we know how the new Radeons perform, let’s see how the 28-nm Cape Verde GPU stacks up against the competition in terms of power efficiency. Power consumption influences GPU temperatures and noise levels, too, which we’ll also be looking at.

Like Tahiti, Cape Verde gates off voltage to most of the GPU when the display goes to sleep. AMD calls that feature ZeroCore, and you can see its effects here. Idle power consumption for the whole system drops by exactly 10W when the display shuts off. (According to AMD, the 7770 and 7750 both draw around 3W of power in ZeroCore sleep mode.)

The new Radeons are also the most power-efficient of the bunch under load. Even XFX’s Radeon HD 7770 Black Edition sips power despite its high core and memory speeds, which are well above reference.

If saving polar bears is your game, Cape Verde is the GPU for you.

Noise levels and GPU temperatures

With the exception of the GeForce GTX 460 (and the Radeon HD 6850 under load), none of these cards are terribly loud. The Radeon HD 7750 does have an annoying hiss to it, though, no doubt because of its small fan and single-slot heatsink. I would hope most of AMD’s card partners choose either beefier active coolers or passive heatsinks.

In any case, I believe we’ve located the Radeon HD 7770’s only tangible advantage over the cheaper 6850 right now: its quiet cooler. AMD did a good job tuning the stock cooler for low noise, which probably wasn’t too hard considering the card’s spartan power consumption. You might find 6850 cards on the market with less noisy coolers than our sample, but that’s not a guarantee by any means.

The 7770 runs cool and quiet with the stock heatsink and fan. Nice. The 7750 isn’t doing terribly well with that tiny single-slot cooler, though. We tested on an open test bench, but I wouldn’t want to stick this card in a cramped enclosure with the adjacent expansion slot occupied. And I can just see that tiny, whiny little fan failing after six months.

Let’s round things out with a couple of our famous scatter plots. We’re laying average performance (based on the results from the four games we tested) along the Y axis and prices along the X axis. The sweet spot will be the card closest to the top left of the plot, while the worst will be closer to the bottom right.

We fetched prices for the new Radeons from AMD and XFX, and other prices were gleaned from Newegg. The exact GeForce GTS 450 and Radeon HD 5770 models we tested weren’t listed anymore, so we’ve used prices for slightly slower variants that are still available. That may not be entirely rigorous, but the differences don’t amount to very much.

Well, this confirms what we’ve been saying all along: the Radeon HD 6850 is the way to go in this price range, at least if you’re chiefly concerned about performance per dollar. As we noted on the previous page, the 6850 does have higher power consumption, and depending on which model you get, it may also have higher noise levels.

The Radeon HD 7750 isn’t as much of a lost cause as its faster sibling. In fact, considering how close it ends up to the Radeon HD 5770, I’d be inclined to recommend it—with the caveat that only solutions with third-party coolers should be considered. (The single-slot stock cooler really sucks. No pun intended.) Based on the photos in AMD’s presentation, the 7750 variants from at least Asus, Gigabyte, HIS, MSI, and Sapphire should have dual-slot coolers. Sapphire has a passively cooled model, too.

Before we render our final verdict, let’s get a little wild and compile a value scatter plot out of our 99th percentile frame time data. For consistency’s sake, we’ve converted the frame times to frame rates, so desirable offerings are still at the top left.

The new Radeons look even worse here, no doubt because of their lackluster showing in Skyrim (which I’d probably attribute to a temporary bug). The Nvidia cards are also penalized heavily, which isn’t surprising. Skyrim excepted, the GeForces definitely had a harder time maintaining consistent—and consistently low—frame times than their competitors.

So, there you have it. I hate to end on a down note, but two years after the Radeon HD 5770’s debut, AMD could have done a lot better. The Radeon HD 7770 isn’t a bad product by any means; it just costs way too much. This is a card that belongs at around $130, just below the Radeon HD 6850. It has no business anywhere near $159 or, heaven forbid, $179 like our snazzed-up XFX entrant.

The Radeon HD 7750 is more compelling, despite the awful stock cooling solution. However, it’s still a little too expensive, with a price tag $9 above that of the quicker Radeon HD 5770.

Of course, there is a silver lining. The reality is that the 7770 is almost undoubtedly far cheaper to produce than the 6850; its GPU is half as big, its memory interface is half as wide, and its circuit board likely has fewer layers. The 7770 can also get away with smaller heatsinks without costly heat pipes. It may cost more right now, but prices are almost assured to drop over time—and when they do, the 7770’s ability to nip at the 6850’s heels should turn it into a killer deal for gamers on a budget.

Too bad it’s not there yet.

0 responses to “AMD’s Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition

  1. To Cyril Kowaliski:

    Your charts are great idea, but unfortunately, they are non human readable.

    I advice to sort the data from higher to lower, like this image shows:

    [url=<][img][/img][/url<] Both charts show the same data, but the lower has the data sorted. Here we see that card B has higher lags, and FPS, and Card A is more consistent even when it haves lower FPS. It shows on how many frames Card B is worse that Card A, and is more intuitive and readable that the bar charts, who lose a lot of information. If you can access the numbers, excel is all you need to sort and display the charts.

  2. VERY, VERY good point there. I was always wondering about the real-world performance of this strange card. Anandtech tried to evaluate the bandwidth but this assessment by TR is quite telling.

    Because of this, I lowered the “performance” rating of GTX 550 Ti by 2 points, to 78 Voodoopower:


  3. AMD has a channel full of HD 68xx and HD 57xx video cards that they either paid to have built or borrowed to have built.
    AMD has a new HD 77xx series video card.

    whether you buy HD 68xx, HD 57xx or HD 77xx it’s still a win for AMD who can always lower the price of HD 77xx after they’ve sold off the HD 68xx and HD 57xx inventory so why wouldn’t they price it high now and lower it later?

  4. Well, if they’ve outfitted them with an infinite number of typewriters…

    Why’d you choose the Radeon HD6850 over the Radeon HD6870?

  5. Was waiting for the TR review, and I just jumped on a hot-clocked, filthy XFX XXX X-rated 6850 for £99, instead of the £125 that stock-clocked 7770’s are going for.

    The die size and specs of the Cape Verde chips indicates that they should be priced in the market against the Turks and GF108, not Juniper and GF106.

    AMD fired their whole marketing team.
    Did they replace them with gibbons?

  6. This is just the same situation as 5770 being less powerful than 4870 and yet was priced about the same or more, IMO graphics cards are rarely the best value on release. you’re just paying more to be on the ‘bleeding edge’, whether its the high end or not.

  7. I think we can put to rest that GCN is a step backward compared to VLIW5 for gaming…

    Its stunning that a GCN card with a 128bit bus at 4.5ghz and 16 ROPs and 1.5B transistor can match a VLIW5 card with a 256bit 4.8ghz 32rops and 2.15B transistor.
    40% less transistor and still able to pack state of the art features, like a full texture VM, PCIe3 and a full programmable video encoding engine.

    I’m surprised review site didn’t jump on overclocking the 7770, knowing how easy AMD Overdrive tool is to use and AMD hinting in their press kit to experiment. People that did got a 20% boost with ease…
    Its also weird to see review site showing a 7770 getting similar FPS as a 6970 in Crysis2.

    If you dont look at the price, AMD released a technological jewel with this 7770.

  8. Review sites review products, telling you what they think is best for your money, they don’t normally review business strategies, not their department.

    AMD wants their older product lines to be good buys, so they can sell them off.

  9. lol, fleshing it out in the most basic of ways so that ppl would understand was challenging, left a lot out.

    I didn’t want the post to become a novel.

  10. I can find absolutely no reason for AMD to undercut it’s own HD 6xxx and HD 5xxx product lines, I really have no idea why AMD would do that given Nvidia has no response.

    since you’ve started throwing out the tired and old “fanboy” accusations and “the reasons given are absurd”…..why don’t you explain why AMD would kill the value of HD 6xxx and HD 5xxx when they don’t have to?

    your prolonged silly has grown notably pathetic.

  11. You need to tell that to Tech Report, Anandtech, Tech Power Up, Tech Spot, Hardware Canucks….

    I could go on……

    But this has already gone on way too long. Time to leave this comments section behind. See ya next time.

  12. Flip-mode you are now being obtuse or dense.

    AMD [b<]wants[/b<] people to buy out their existing 6xxx inventory, while they are building up their 7xxx inventory. Both Nvidia/AMD have done this over years during product transition periods. I have acquired my two HD 4xxx cards during such a period when AMD was trying to clear out HD 4xxx stuff for then their impending HD 5xxx parts. Nvidia has recently done it with their 460s when their 550/560s replacements were around the corner. They did back when GTX 2xx were new and threw their 8xxx/9xxx parts on clearance. I could go on......

  13. I wasn’t trying to jest you. 😉

    I was being sarcastic to those who simply don’t understand basic inventory and economics.

    They probably don’t understand why their grocery store/B&M stores do clearance sales……

  14. fanboy.jpg. If it were priced right you wouldn’t be burdened to explain what doesn’t make sense. I’ll leave you to your RDF after presenting the general consensus:

    I hate to end on a down note, but two years after the Radeon HD 5770’s debut, AMD could have done a lot better. The Radeon HD 7770 isn’t a bad product by any means; it just costs way too much.

    in 16 months AMD has moved nowhere along the price/performance curve […] AMD has finally shot itself in the foot with its conservative pricing.

    Initially released at $149 nearly a year ago (and now retailing for about $119) this [6790] Barts LE-based card manages to play on a nearly level footing with the HD 7770 most games. If you can’t see the ramifications of this, let’s make it clear: $159 doesn’t buy you an ounce more performance now than it did 10 months and a generation of GPUs ago. We can talk all day about how the Cape Verde cores are able to offer similar performance with less power, less heat and less noise but budget conscious gamers don’t usually give a damn about any of that. They care about a great bang for buck ratio and that’s precisely where the HD 7770 falls on its face.

    Based on current pricing, the HD 7770 is at best 15% cheaper than the GTX 560, though some cards are selling for as little as $170, making the HD 7770 only 6% cheaper. Considering those figures, we can’t see how anyone could justify purchasing the HD 7770.

    Even at $159 the cards are way too expensive. They are up against the GTX 460 which is 20$ cheaper and delivers similar performance.
    According to the pricing it’s actually up against the GTX560Ti and therein lies the big problem. Its performance is akin to the GTX550, or the HD6790, so why would you spend the extra money to get something that performs in a manner similar to the cards in the price-bracket below, and is stomped by cards available for similar money with nearly identical features such as the GTX560Ti or HD6870?

  15. I had hoped that HD 7770 would also not need a power connector, was disappointed when I saw it.

    will be looking into HD 7750’s overclocking and consider it after it’s gotten fully placed in the market but I don’t think it will be quite enough, may go in the opposite direction and buy an HD 7950 instead, will revisit after HD 78xx reviews come online.

  16. Rather, what I meant is that there is a GTX-460 in the review and the tested 7xxx cards are running equal to it or even falling below in some instances. MSI’s “Cyclone” series (which I have) already uses an oversized, low-speed HSF combo, so I would either have to go with the 7750 and lose performance, or go with the 7770 and get roughly the same performance and noise. Less heat either way, but since I sleep this machine when I’m not using it, the advantage is insufficient to part me from money.

  17. the dark art of inventory management.

    AMD is publicly traded and their market capitalization is based on all assets including existing inventory.
    AMD cannot significantly reduce HD 68xx until the channel is nearly cleared or it will lead to a writedown.
    AMD would also prefer not to undercut demand for HD 68xx product or HD 57xx until nearly cleared because while HD 7xxx is new it’s value until produced in quantity is still only speculative.
    AMD’s HD 7xxx production will be financed by HD 68xx and HD 57xx money.

    given the lack of competition atm the easy answer for AMD is to initially price HD 7770 higher / limit it’s attractiveness…. which they’ve done.

    HD 7770 seems to have a promising future once it comes into play given it’s comparatively low manufacturing costs and favorable performance currently combined with the lack of competition.

    I’d also throw a guess in that while AMD wants to show stockholders a full 28nm lineup going forward they’d prefer to dedicate the much publicized limited 28nm production capacity towards higher margin parts that they can sell fewer of like HD 79xx and the upcoming HD 78xx series which should by all indications be much in demand.

    because Nvidia is late to the party AMD does have the room to play.

  18. Yep, and I am not swimming against the stream here. Read pretty much any review out there and it’ll say essentially: 7770’s price is too high, it’s not a good purchase at its current price, look elsewhere or wait it out.

  19. Unless we’re talking about a monopoly, If a product is overpriced it wont sell well, If there’s a clear shortage then they went too low, otherwise it’s priced fine.

    You don’t want to price your products too high or too low, and if tech’s availability assessment piece from yesterday holds true, then the price doesn’t seem to be out of line based on demand/supply ratios so far.

  20. sigh….. you like a few other unimaginative ppl are still talking about comparing HD 7770 to HD 6850 and HD 6870 like that is HD 7770’s purpose.

    HD 7850 and HD 7870 will replace HD 6850 and HD 6870 and they will indeed make them obsolete doing exactly what you are wishing for…. and they will both be more expensive.

    HD 7770 is replacing HD 5770 and is a worthy replacement, once the channel clears the price will drop and it will still be a worthy replacement.

    the worst part is that you don’t understand what the term “clear out inventory” means given you think pricing brand new product on par with the old product will somehow make the old obsolete product more attractive.

    you make the old look better by making the new look a little worse… in this case overprice it until the channel clears of the old product because if you price it similar to the old product then you’ll be forced to drop the price on the old product even more which is the worst option to go with.

  21. are you aware just like in the beginning that even now you still don’t understand that AMD knows better than you what it’s doing?

  22. AMD built a lot of HD 68xx product, the channel is filled with it, the Xmas season is over and sales are low.

    it takes months to clear the channel and the company that knew when HD7770 was going to be released knew this much better than you or I.

    do you believe you have a point in thinking that AMD could radically adjust pricing on HD 68xx cards 2 weeks or even a month before HD 7770 was being released…. do you really believe that?

    you aren’t being harsh, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about, sadly you aren’t alone.

  23. You can’t review a card based on what may happen someday. You have to review a card based on what they released with. If AMD wanted the reviews to include the extra performance from a superior driver, then perhaps they should have waited until April like nVidia. Otherwise, you can’t fault a reviewer for not including a hypothetical statement about how a guy who just left AMD once said long ago that drivers were going to be the magic cure to all of their new release’s woes.

    Other guys at AMD were the ones saying that all those rumors about how Bulldozer was going to tank were full of crap because Bulldozer wasn’t really that bad. And then it was. So then rumors picked up that once a scheduler update hit, suddenly Bulldozer’s potential would be UNLEASHED upon the world and all would tremble at its future-looking design. Alas, the people were beset upon by disappointment and sadness.

    Now you want reviewers to mention how new drivers are going to magically fix all the performance problems of the new line when AMD can’t even get the 7970 and 7950, their top of the line cards, into their official driver at launch or even weeks after launch.

    And you want reviewers to consider driver improvements? Along with Rage’s launch, AMD tosses out a new driver as its Rage driver that includes an ancient OpenGL component that essentially cripples its performance in the very game it was released to improve… and you want them to mention driver improvements?

    AMD’s done far too much wrong in recent months with regards to their drivers to deserve or warrant such forward-looking hypothetical well-wishing.

    If and when AMD shows up with a driver that improves the series to such a degree as it were necessary to show it, I’m sure TechReport will get right on reviewing the card with the newer driver. Till then, I’ll believe it when I see it. AMD’s not exactly a bastion of great drivers here lately. How long did it take for them to enable 79xx series Crossfire again? How many weeks? Hell, even AMD-BFF HardOCP started complaining about it…

  24. Interesting comment from Dremers.

    I wonder if that is part of the AMD strategy vs. Nvidia. By putting their new 57xx cards out on the market in their current state, but keeping some ‘known’ performance improvments in reserve. Nvidia will ‘tune’ their next cards based upon the known AMD performance, but AMD has the option to release a new driver that blows away the next Nvidia card in its first reviews.

    I know that’s jumping a couple steps ahead and includes some pretty big assumptions. But, it would make sense given that there is no real competition at the current time.

  25. Bummer. I was hoping that a 7770 with an oversized sink or a 7750 with a passive sink would give me a good reason to replace my MSI GTX-460 Cyclone and push forward my search for ever lower noise levels, but apparently not.

  26. 6800 series has been cheap for a long time ago (months), clone.
    And for one, i compare price range, not product naming.
    Right now and for months to come, HD7770 is garbage. Sorry if i sound(read) too harsh.

  27. This is the second time i see this happen since 4870 vs 5770
    Before that, the new part blew away the old part, while having the same price.
    Or performed the same or slightly better at much less price (GF 6600GT vs ATI 9800XT)
    8800GT vs 7900GTX 512
    FX5700 Ultra vs 4600 Ti

  28. [quote<]Can you believe it's been over two years since we saw a genuinely new mid-range graphics processor from AMD?[/quote<] I kind of think the 6000-series pricing was a bit of a fluke and an definite exception to the rule--really "mid-range" pricing has traditionally been in the ~$300 arena. Sub-$170 MSR pricing has always AFAIK squarely indicated the "value" segment of the discreet 3d-card market. I cannot remember a time when I've heard more grumbling over price even as the price-performance ratios continue to improve. Before he left AMD, Eric Dremers was quoted in a Rage3d interview concerning the 7970 as saying that he expected the 7000-series to really blossom in the driver department "in the next 3-4 months." IE, he foresaw big improvements via driver optimization right around the corner. Usually, "Sir Eric" has always been a straight-up, stand-up type of guy as the CTO (as opposed to some sort of mere marketing shill), so whereas the drivers for the older cards (~5770, et al) are quite mature, meaning whatever surprises these cards afford have long been realized, the 7770 has time to surprise yet, via driver optimization--and quite substantially, according to Dremers. I think it's more than fair to say that this adds a measurable, probable potential value to a 7770 purchase you won't find in either a 5770/6770 purchase. But I would have thought this was little more than common sense in this kind of new-architecture product release commentary. I can't figure out the source of the--laziness?--involved in adopting the opinion that the 7770 isn't as "great a deal" as the older cards based only on a brief, simplistic look at driver performance so early in the 7000-series' lifespan. IE, would your conclusions remain the same if overall performance, just to mention a single aspect of the product that could well see improvement, increased 15-20% in the next 90 days? With the older cards it is a given this is *not* going to happen--with the 7770 such an event is altogether more probable--likely, even.

  29. What are you smoking?

    HD 6850/6870 are already EOL as in AMD is no longer placing orders for TSMC to make more chips. The supply in chain is finite and will eventually dry up. AMD is trying to clear out the old inventory by putting it on clearance. That’s why 6850/6870 are cheap at the moment, but I will doubt it will the case three to six months down the road.

    6850, 6870, 7750 and HD7770 can all effortlessly handle 2 Megapixel gaming w/o AA/AF. They handle AA/AF at 2Megapixels if you are playing older titles.

    They have been placed as mid-range parts and are priced as such.

    6850 and 6870 used to command MSRP of $199-249 respectfully at their launch.

  30. are you going to complain when HD 7770’s price drops after the channel clears or are you going to profess that somehow you won….. lol.

    to be honest it’s not just you, another is talking about how HD 6850 is the winner while AMD is the loser…… think about what a win that is for AMD when Nvidia is no longer even noticed.

  31. Almost all of what you say is true – except the starting point of your argument is off, like others have pointed out: the HD 77×0 is not meant to replace the HD 68×0. That honour will go to the HD 78×0 that is about to appear. Yes, current pricing puts the 77×0 in the same bracket as the 68×0 but only because
    1. we are looking at the launch prices of the former and the EOL prices of the latter, and
    2. nVidia’s latest and greatest is yet to appear.
    77×0 prices WILL come crashing down, no doubt. They suck now, but not for long.

  32. Except HD6850 and HD6870 were selling for $120-140 and $140-160, respectively, for at least 6-7 months.

    So your argument that HD6800 series is only priced so low now because it’s going EOL is false.

    Also, HD7770 is almost entry level by today’s standards in performance. How is $159 entry level? HD7770 is a budget videocard. Budget videocards don’t sell for $160. More like <$120.

  33. The way to clear a channel is to deliver a better product and letting your worse product become obsolete because of inferior characteristic. For example, iPad 3 replacing iPad 2.

    HD7770 is worse than HD6850/6870 and costs more. Meaning, AMD is discontinuing the production of HD6850/6870 on purpose so that it can sell a worse performing and cheaper to manufacture HD7770 part.

    Name a single technology company that releases a slower product for more $ as a way to clear inventory? You clear inventory by making your previous product obsolete.

  34. You should learn strategy, marketing and economics together before you try to pretend you know anything about how a business works. Look at Pepsi as a firm and Tropicana juice as an example. When a company tries to maximize profits by selling a watered down products for more $, they risk diluting their brand value and long-term customer backlash and switching. When consumers smell that companies are not justifiably raising prices or come out and say they are in the business to make $, consumers move on to their competitors. You should read up on BestBuy and its pricing strategies too.

    It’s pretty pathetic when your “brand new” 28nm offering that’s “so advanced” takes overclocking to barely match a stock HD6850 and gets owned by an HD6870, despite coming out almost 1.5 years later.

    [url<][/url<] I'll let you enjoy your world though where technology gets more expensive with time and barely faster. I hope you upgrade your sad HD5770 with HD7770 for $160 and enjoy a 25-30% performance increase 2.5 years later. Are you one of those guys that drops $600 on an HD7970 and tries to argue how amazing it is by comparing it to HD6970? AMD's current strategy is aimed at milking consumers. As one key executive once said: "Eventually the last stupid customer will walk through the door." Unlike Rolex, Porsche or Apple, AMD isn't in a position to sell customers "emotional value" or "status" or "prestige". They should be in business of innovating visual, mobile and personal computing. Delivering something that costs MORE and is SLOWER than your previous card that costs LESS on the market today is not innovation. But if it is for you, knock yourself out.

  35. Price the new cards worse in terms of performance/dollar so people buy all your old cards. When the old cards dry up, price the new ones sensibly. Seems sensible to me, if a bit shrewd.

    Edit – sorry, this was meant to be a reply to flip-mode’s original post.

  36. AMD PR blurb:

    Enjoy stratospheric performance with the new 7770 GHz GPU! *1

    *1 Disclaimer: massive EM field generated by this product will cause your face to ignite after two seconds of use, then, while your face is burning, you will be sucked into the black hole that subsequently appears.

  37. Flip – Mode all old inventory is being reduced because the real exciting cards are just around the corner…. it’s not about HD 7770, it’s HD 7850 and 7870 which are a few weeks away that matter.

    clearing out the product channel takes time…. especially after the Xmas season.

    AMD’s HD 7870 and HD 7850 will be the major releases everyone has been waiting for, priced around $200 – $300 and likely almost as fast as Nvidia’s GTX 580…. those will be the “sweet spot” cards.

    HD 7770 and HD 7750 will be relegated to low end as soon as the old inventory is gone which was always where it was supposed to go, why their has been so much focus on a low end card as I’ve mentioned before is just wrong.

  38. I don’t believe prices will rise all that much given the manufacturing advantages with HD 7770, I suspect it’ll drop to $120 soon enough and eventually lower as always.

    while the dollar doesn’t buy as much as it used to no one else’s dollar does either.

    what’s really needed is some competition, when the low end AMD is snapping at the heals of Nvidia’s 560 ti cards ….. it’s getting embarrassing.

  39. sort of in that you saw a good deal and grabbed it but AMD was the company that chose the timing to offer the deal you jumped at.

    it takes time to clear out the channel especially now after the Xmas rush and before the OEM’s get ready for next Xmas’s buying season.

  40. Two things.

    First, I deliberately chose settings at which these cards were playable. Battlefield 3 was too slow and choppy at the “High” detail preset on the Radeon HD 7770. Pushing cards by testing them at less-than-playable settings may emphasize bottlenecks and architectural differences, but it doesn’t give us terribly useful information, practically speaking. People buy these products to have a smooth gaming experience, not to generate the most detailed frames at all costs.

    Second, the notion that having no frames over 50 ms “implies there is no real difference between these cards” is just dead wrong. The over-50-ms metric tells us when cards step over the threshold of unplayability, however briefly, which is a bad thing. None of them should do that. Our average FPS, 99th-percentile, and over-50ms results each show one piece of the puzzle, and they’re not meant to be viewed out of context or construed as self-contained scoreboards.

  41. This is essentially what the [H] review says as well. Basically, it’s as fast as it’s priced (generally), and we all accept that the price will drop soon enough.

  42. [quote=”Tooting Bob”<]Please offer something in between a majorly cut down 7770 and a hugely expensive 7950![/quote<] Wait for Pitcairn next month. [url<][/url<]

  43. [quote=”BobbinThreadbare”<]If you're not going to push the cards until the differences appear, it's not so useful information.... This implies there is no real difference between these cards.[/quote<] If you're just going to play BF3 at Medium and a mere 1080p resolution, there [b<]isn't[/b<] any real difference in the gaming experience with the best of the cards included in this review. Now, for someone with a large monitor or an Eyefinity setup or for someone who likes to turn up the graphics details beyond medium, you'd have a very valid point.

  44. If you RTFA he explains that. The shader count alone doesn’t tell the whole story for AMD cards anymore (not that it ever REALLY did in the first place).

  45. were there “proven shenanigans” on Batman AA beyond the standard “no PhysX for yuo!”? Not saying there weren’t, I just don’t remember.

  46. I appreciate the work you put into these reviews and the fact with your new methodology of frame time you can investigate how the cards performance will really affect buyers.

    However, if you’re not going to push the cards until the differences appear, it’s not so useful information. In the Battlefield 3 test, you have 2 cards with no frames over 50ms and 2 more with 5 or less. This implies there is no real difference between these cards, but the settings are only at medium. I think you need to increase the settings until the differences get big enough.

  47. It’s not that unusual for Nvidia to be faster on an AMD Sponsored game, or vice versa. I don’t tend to put too much stock into the branding unless there are proven shenanigans(Batman: AA anyone?).

  48. The price aint right but is expected on a new product, due to need to clear stock of older products and to pay a bit of development cost with the higher priced new product. The force is strong with cape verde :), it is a small and relatively cheap chip, can fit in a variety of power envelopes and performances being very efficient (replacing both turks and juniper), and its full of performance and features, i think that past mid year when prices start to fall will be a very good choice. has legs to be interesting for a wide market (mobile, desktop and workstation).

  49. I’d rather see a game tested than a meaningless synthetic benchmark, even if its TWIMTBP. They used a lot of the most popular games on the market right now, so it doesn’t seem like an unfair selection of games to use really.

  50. I randomly press things. If the voting system has no filtering impact, what is the point anyway?

  51. Ditto. I have a 460 that hasn’t needed an upgrade for a while and I don’t see anything really budging that unless someone buys me a 30″ display.

  52. The big difference back then was that the 4870 was a $300 card (at launch) with the last few supplies heavily discounted to below the 5770’s launch price because it’s real replacements (the 5850 & 5870) were already available and offering a massive step up in price/performance relative to the 4870.

    Today, the 6850 is only relatively mildly discounted from its $179 launch price because the new generation of cards have not lifted the price/performance bar by as much as previous generations. This is mainly due to a lack of competiton and AMD’s need to generate some profit while it can, which is understandable from a business point of view.

    Still, I don’t understand why many people seem to think the 7770 is a good deal at current pricing. I suppose I’m not arguing that the 7770 should be cheaper than the 6850, rather that both cards should be at least $30 cheaper than they currently are to move the price/performance curve on a bit more. While I’m dreaming, 7850 and 7870 should launch at the old 68xx launch prices ($179/$239) and 7950 and 7970 should come down to $299 & $399. Strangely I bet this is more or less where we’ll end up once Kepler arrives. The old 4850s may have to soldier on for a few months more.

  53. Maybe we should start referring to any product launch like this (where price goes up but performance remains flat or declines) as “pulling a bulldozer”?

  54. The HD7770 doesn’t seem to be the flop I feared it to be. Granted, it is a tad bit overpriced given its relatively poor performance in DX9 or DX10. However, after reading several reviews, it’s clear in DX11 titles that HD7770 is either performing on par with HD6850 or HD6870. At this point, I care more about DX11 than DX9 or DX10.

    If only I didn’t already spring for an HD6850 in my HTPC after launch. I could have totally saved power and money by waiting for this. 🙁

  55. I would’ve expected that to outperform the previous generation by about three orders of magnitude.

  56. It looks like they underspecced it a bit and bet on clock speed. It blows Juniper away sometimes, particularly when DX11 features are used, so it’s all good I suppose. Judging by the reduced die size and prices though, they seem to be going for higher margins all around.

    At this point I expect the 78×0 series to equal or slightly best 69×0/Cayman but sell at the same ~$270-$300 price as Cayman while being far cheaper to build.

  57. Thank you very much for using the i5 rig. You are the only ones with a reasonable review setup for these cards that I have seen so far.

    When I see a site use X58 with an old $1,000 CPU and 1,000w PSU to review a modern video card, it really annoys me.

    I hope you guys can switch to something like Ivy Bridge with a 400w PSU when the Nvidia cards come out.

  58. The 6850 came out about a year and a half after the first run of 40nm cards.

    If you want an apples to apples real world example, the 5770 was [b<]more[/b<] expensive than the 4870 when it came out, at about $150, while the 5750 was a more in line with the times at $110. Sound familiar? And then the price gap vanished. But that probably won't happen again, because you quoted some article!

  59. The 550Ti is nV’s only currently-produced midrange card. The 450/460 cards are very old inventory.This review points out that the 550Ti is very poor competition for AMD’s cards.

    AMD has little incentive to price the 77xx competitively at the moment because their only credible midrange competition is AMD’s own older products.

    Your comparison is so totally out of whack that its only effect is to reveal once again that you have nothing intelligent to say and can’t fit real-world information into your fanboy fantasyland.

  60. Was Pentium IV the competitor’s direct counter to Bulldozer and had it been jimmied in some silly fashion to score a technicality?

  61. I think these high prices and small dies for 28nm card means the iPad 3 chip is ramping up quickly at TSMC. There are very few 28nm wafers left and there is a price premium for working chips.

  62. And I think the only reason why don’t have more cards like that (or at least cards with fewer power connectors) is because it would break backwards compatibility with PCI-E 1.x. Does the 7750 maintain that or did it (finally) throw it out the window?

  63. When you read the Bulldozer review was your main take-away how much the Pentium IV sucked and how you hoped Intel could finally make a better CPU?

  64. For me one of the main takeaways from this article (IIRC the first one to look closely at the 550Ti’s frame times) is a reminder of just how disappointing the 550Ti was after the success of the 560Ti.

    nV chose a silly marketing tactic (tweaking the memory controller to “use” 1GB of memory when the natural amount to configure it with was 768MB) with little or no technical benefit. In fact I have to wonder if the memory interleaving scheme they used was a huge damper on performance, as the frame time tests show the Cyclone as being [i<]worse[/i<] than the much-lower-clocked 450 AMP!. It certainly couldn't compete at all with the similarly-priced 6850. I sure hope nV has a more reasonable midrange card in the Kepler generation.

  65. I guess the 6850 was a “rare fluke” too. From Anandtech:

    [quote<]The problem for AMD today isn’t the power/performance curve, it’s the price/performance curve. 16 months ago AMD launched the Radeon HD 6850 at $179 amidst fierce competition from NVIDIA. Ignoring the current price of the 6850 for the moment, on average the 7770 delivers 90% of the 6850’s gaming performance for 90% of the 6850’s launch price. [b<]In other words in 16 months AMD has moved nowhere along the price/performance curve – if you go by launch prices you’re getting the same amount of performance per dollar today as you did in October of 2010. In reality the 6850 is much cheaper than that, with a number of cards selling for $159 before a rebate, while several more 6870s sell for $159 after rebate.[/b<] The 7770 is so far off the price/performance curve that you have to believe that this is either a pricing error or AMD is planning on quickly halting 6800 series production.[/quote<] That includes the *launch day prices* of the 6850 in the equation, and the 7770 is still not looking that good.

  66. For almost all real applications nV has had a huge lead in GPGPU performance (most GPGPU apps can’t get anywhere near full utilization of the VLIW shaders, so AMD’s theoretical shader arith advantage, which helped it in games, was no help in GPGPU). Because of that and because CUDA was first to market, people haven’t bothered writing stuff for OpenCL.

    But GCN changes that picture considerably. Tahiti and Cape Verde do much better in GPGPU benchmarks than their nV 5xx competitors. Kepler will doubtless do better still, but considering how much nV hobbles their consumer cards’ abilities to avoid competing with Tesla, I imagine there will be a good number of GPGPU applications where AMD will have a price/performance advantage as well as a performance per watt advantage.

    I’d bet that a lot of folks will start rewriting CUDA apps in OpenCL because of GCN. I’m not saying everybody will jump ship and buy AMD cards this time around, but a few will, and many others will figure that now that AMD is actually looking competitive in GPGPU they had better keep their options open rather than rely on a single-vendor toolchain.

  67. too late? sounds like you just did what they intended. helped clear out the inventory of 5- and 6- series while the 7-series is still new and has no real competitors.

  68. First to 1 GHz speed on the CPU and now first to 1 GHz speed on the GPU. AMD might be getting hammered lately but at least no one can say they are not consistent.

  69. So the 7750 is now the fastest card you can buy without an external power connector. That’s worth noting for sure.

  70. Nice review. The card itself isn’t anything to write home about though.

    I also have a small suggestion. I can tell the difference between the colours in the line graphs themselves, but it’s almost impossible to tell with the single pixel wide colour line showing which cards are which.

    Most of the problem is probably my crappy monitor, but if you could just make them maybe five pixels thick, or even a block, that would really help me.

  71. Thanks, Cyril, I was wondering that too. The 7750 is now a leading contender for my nascent HTPC build.

  72. 8.35″ and 6.65″. Only the 7770 has a power connector, and it’s at the back. See the picture here:


  73. I sit here and look at the picture of the card with the quarter next to the processor and wonder why video cards need to be so big. Somebody needs to completely re-design the motherboard. It’s way over due.

  74. How long are the cards? How many power connectors? How are the power connectors oriented?

    Those of us with tiny cases need to know stuff like this.


  75. Yes and I remember pissing and moaning about my disappointment with the 5770 at the time – mainly with its launch price. As I’ve said, sometimes the real problem is my expectations. I want every product launch to be an 8800 GT – a sea change in the price / performance ratio. That’s not realistic, I know. But I can’t fault myself for wanting a product launch to exhibit even just a skosh of an improvement in price / performance too. I don’t think a skosh of disappointment with either the price or the performance is unreasonable here.

    I keep going back to what Hattig said how if this has 12 CUs instead of 10 it probably would have seemed so much better.

    And yet, your point stands and I think you’re right – 6 months from now the 7770 will probably settle to a fairly superb price point.

    Edit: I hope it doesn’t take eons for Nvidia to come up with a good counter the way it did for the 5770.

  76. That’s what I’m thinking too, clear the old inventory then drop prices, two birds with one stone: Build up new product stock and flush old models out of the supply chain.

    Doesn’t help us consumers at this point in time, but it makes good business sense.

    When the 7770 starts selling at 120 bucks by end of year (probably) and drivers for this new GCN architecture mature a bit more then maybe it’ll be a good budget gaming solution, until then the 6850 will do a better job.

    I’ll add that one big draw for me is the zero core feature, because I like keeping my pc on all the time, and I don’t game heavily so the 7750 might be a good sweet spot for my needs.

    Also helps that the 7750 doesn’t need a power connector since I’m not sure if my trusty but ancient Seasonic power supply has enough connectors to handle some of the newer video cards.

  77. Right on the mark there.
    To add to this:
    – 28nm wafer is more expensive than a 40nm one. Bad yields drive the price even higher.
    ATM, i’m sure that the production of Cape Verde is more expensive than Juniper.
    – Maybe the ‘new’ AMD is done with being so cheap (compared to nVidia).
    – It’s hard to make a direct comparison between the 5770 and the 7770. When the 57×0 series came out, it was the second fastest group after the 58×0 series. Now the 77×0 series is the third in line after the 78×0 and 79×0 series. I think it’s very probable that the prices of the 7770 will fall after the 78×0 series is launched.
    – Inflation? Because this discussion seems to be recurring every couple years.

  78. Quite shocked and impressed with the power consumption relative to the Radeon 6850. I think two 7770’s in Crossfire just might be an ideal scenario for those of us not wanting to upgrade our power supplies 🙂

  79. Don’t forget that in 2009 when the 5770 was released, it was a little slower than a 4870 and cost slightly more – basically the same sort of relationship we see today (the 7770 is universally faster than the 5770 but it’s more than “slightly” more expensive, too). Once the 4870 supply dried up, the price on the 5770 plummeted. It’s been at this $120-140 range for quite a while now. I think you’ll see the same thing on the 7770, too, and the 7770 stands to gain from GCN optimizations in future drivers. Down the road, the 7770 will be a very good card, but you should never upgrade to the latest gen right away.

  80. It is no thanks to gaming consoles, since they have been driving the market for system requirements for the last several years.

  81. Overpriced at the moment, but this is standard fare for newly released products.

    The previous generation always has an edge in value when it goes on clearance (since they are EOL) until supplies run out.

    The whiners are just people with short-term memories or got spoiled by rare flukes like the 4850 and 8800GT.

  82. clone has a fair enough point that this is really a replacement for the 5770 – just like it says in the article subtitle – and not a 6850 replacement. But given that we’re 28 months since the 5770 launched it’s still a rather disappointing replacement. 28 months after the 5770 we get a successor that is, what, 20-ish percent faster or somewhere thereabouts. Weak sauce. I know, I know – TSMC 40nm forever, 32nm canceled, and so on. None the less, after 28 months this is a crummy successor. And look how small that chip is! AMD cut it to the bone. As Hattig said, maybe AMD should have given it 12 CUs instead of 10. Maybe that would have been a more worthy successor to the 5770 and compared better to the 68xx.

    There’s no way to rebut the fact that the card is priced too high, and the suggestion that this is the way to “clear the channel” of 68xx cards is, frankly, ridiculous.
    > First, if it is true that this is not a replacement for 68xx then why are we clearing the channel with it? Clone is suggesting that it’s “not fair” to compare to the 68xx on price/performance but then turns around and says this is the card that will clear the channel of 68xx. Well, let’s have it one way or the other – if this is the product to clear the channel of 68xx then it’s completely and totally fair to make any comparison desired to the 68xx.
    > Second, there are multiple ways to clear the channel. AMD has plenty of lead over Nvidia hear so they have all the options at their disposal. They’re not up against the wall. A little bit of proper scheduling (i.e. clear the channel of 68xx before launching 77xx) is one way. A price cut on 68xx is another way. Arguably the worst way to clear the channel is to put a price hike on your new card and sour the flavor of the launch.

    It was summed up perfectly by Cyril, and differently yet also perfectly by the guys at Anandtech, who said [quote<]16 months ago AMD launched the Radeon HD 6850 at $179 amidst fierce competition from NVIDIA. Ignoring the current price of the 6850 for the moment, on average the 7770 delivers 90% of the 6850’s gaming performance for 90% of the 6850’s launch price. In other words in 16 months AMD has moved nowhere along the price/performance curve – if you go by launch prices you’re getting the same amount of performance per dollar today as you did in October of 2010.[/quote<]

  83. I have seen lots of people screaming about OpenCL on GPGPU. I also know people that actually use GPGPU in real workloads (hint: not some hobby distributed grid project). Interestingly enough, the people that actually use GPGPU in real life use CUDA and Nvidia GPUs exclusively.

  84. It’s not quite the same. 5770 was close to 4870 in performance and cost less. 7770 is close to 6850 but costs more, and is nowhere near the 6870.

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable for poeple to expect a price/performance improvement with a new process node based on previous experience. AMD are choosing not to do this with the 7xxx series, at least not until the competition shows up.

  85. What really impresses me about this review is the Radeon 5770. It can still totally hold its own at 1920×1080 2.5 years after launch.

    I’m starting to see that the time to upgrade your GPU is when the new generation is released, and the card to buy is the previous generation. :p

  86. I down-voted you because you said 32nm process where this is made on a 28nm process. 😉

  87. That’s a pretty sensible suggestion and would avoid the probelm of different cards with varying average frame times getting out of alignment in the plots.

    As an aside, why do almost all suggestions like this get voted down, even when they’re pretty sensible like this one? Is there a deep-seated resistance to change among much of the readership, or a prevailing view that perceived dissent must be squashed? It’s even more puzzling when Scott and the other TR staff are generally pretty open to suggested improvements.

    Perhaps the drive-by downgraders would like to leave some comments to explain their objections?

  88. And back then, the 5770 was priced similar to a 4890. Yet just matches the 4870 in performance.

  89. Why wouldn’t you compare the 7770 and 6850 when they’re in the same price range? Do you shop for products based purely on their artifical market segmentation rather than on price? If so, then I think you’ll find you’re in a very small minority.

    Based on this, the 7850 is going to be significantly more expensive than the 6850, so why would you compare those cards directly?

    We can all understand why AMD are choosing to do this (limited supply, need to clear out old inventory), but that doesn’t make it any more palatable if you’re shopping for a new card right now.

  90. It’s like one of those nature programs where the camera is capturing the sleeping lion/tiger/bear (oh my) and the whispered voice-over is less “to prevent being eaten” and more for effect.

  91. Here in about 3 months (once the 6850s and Juniper-based chips are out of the channel), that’s what you’ll be paying for this card. Except at Best Buy where it’ll be $199.

  92. oh, it doesn’t? I’ve been saying YAH-no. And Cape BER-deh, for that matter. I’ve assumed they’re all Spanish. :p

  93. It seems that TR doesn’t care about OpenCL. Even if they do care, it seems that OpenCL performance should come at no cost according to them.
    This article contains a lot of useful info about OpenCL:

  94. As a 5770 owner who was looking forward to the 7770 as an upgrade, I’m somewhat disappointed there isn’t much of a performance bump, only a minor increase over the 6770.

    However, for small cases, I’m kinda happy the 7750 is available in a single-slot configuration (provided the suckage issue is addressed at some point); it’s nice to see those back in the upper-medium product range.

  95. AMD also insists that “Llano” does not begin with a “y” sound. I don’t know what planet they learned Spanish on.

  96. nVidia has an “unfair” advantage in Civ5 because their drivers support DX11 multi-threading while AMD does not. I guess we could still get intra-AMD comparisons.

  97. So… is the 7750 the fastest/best single slot/no external power card there is? If so, it might find a home in my htpc; after a few price drops and/or a better/passive cooler.

  98. It would be difficult to get rid of all the old stock if the new versions were priced the same at launch. You see this is just about every sector of the tech market. New stuff commands a premium while old stock is old off cheap.

  99. My 4850 has kept its value for far longer than it had any right to. But damn you AMD i want to upgrade. But please offer something in between a majorly cut down 7770 and a hugely expensive 7950!

  100. that is actually very true…

    and I had mine 6850’s @130 bucks (in my case euro) 7 months ago… 😀

  101. “The problem for AMD today isn’t the power/performance curve, it’s the price/performance curve. 16 months ago AMD launched the Radeon HD 6850 at $179 amidst fierce competition from NVIDIA. Ignoring the current price of the 6850 for the moment, on average the 7770 delivers 90% of the 6850’s gaming performance for 90% of the 6850’s launch price. In other words in 16 months AMD has moved nowhere along the price/performance curve – if you go by launch prices you’re getting the same amount of performance per dollar today as you did in October of 2010.”

  102. Learn economics 101 and take a long look at price ranges in the GPU market throughout the years. The 7770/7750 are following the norm for their segment.

  103. The 7700 may crush the 6850 in some things but Civ V isn’t the best example. Yes it does perform better than the 6850 but 36.2 FPS for the 7700 versus 33.4 FPS for the 6850 doesn’t show the 7700 has dominating the 6850. (That’s from a review I saw over on techpowerup.)

  104. [quote<]Like Tahiti, Cape Verde gates off voltage to most of the GPU when the display goes to sleep. AMD calls that feature ZeroCore, and you can see its effects here. Idle power consumption for the whole system drops by exactly 10W when the display shuts off. (According to AMD, the 7770 and 7750 both draw around 3W of power in ZeroCore sleep mode.)[/quote<] Anyone else read this in a quiet whispering voice?

  105. Because you make the communism association you must be an American, but because you fail to understand the free market, you must be…

  106. I think this is priced fairly. For one, it’s priced at roughly the same level as the 5770 when it came out. For another, we all know how new GCN is. There’s a lot more untapped potential in it than something like a 6850 has. Give it a half year, and it’ll likely be faster.

  107. Hmm, priced to clear out remaining stock of 68xx. Presumably after it will drop in price a little as it does seem a little expensive right now for how it performs. Sadly a lack of DX11 benchmarks and Civ5 would have been an obvious one to test too. I think this should have had 12 units instead of 10 – but maybe that will be a 7790 in a few month’s time.

  108. LOL.

    Winner: 6850.

    Loser: AMD releasing a new product at a price segment that makes their own previous products look like gold.

    Now to find someone that isn’t sold out of 6850s….

  109. Two things:

    The new Verde chip is the bottom end for AMD, designed for Laptops and cheapish desktop cards. It should be compared to the 6700 series not the 6800 series. TR should have had an Nvidia 430 and AMD’s 6750 in the testing lineup. In that perspective the chip is a success.

    Second, your dollar is not going to buy what it used to. The price of everything has gone up. You pay more for food and energy now. That makes it harder to ship a product half way around the globe and charge you the same price as last year when the same dollar bought more. A 6850 selling at 130 bucks is a steal and is not going to be available for ever.

  110. This reminds me of the 4870 vs 5770 arguments. Same thing with 7770 vs 6850.

    5770 came close but didn’t quite beat the 4870 but over time few frames turned into moot point. 5770 became the card of choice. However price on the 7770 needs to come down.

  111. yes really, just because you don’t understand the best way for AMD to clear the channel is to get rid of old stock before lowering the price on the new product doesn’t mean they haven’t chosen the right path.

    and why the hell is everyone trying to compare HD 7770 to HD 6850 when HD 78xx will be replacing that series….. HD 7770 is a low end card meant to eventually sell in the lower end why so many seem to think it’s supposed to replace HD 68xx is sad.

  112. if the free market works as intended AMD will clear out the channel of HD 68xx cards and HD 57xx cards then it will lower the price of HD 7770 and sell them en masse…… which is exactly what they want to do.

    if you think HD 7770 is too expensive and HD 68xx is priced just right then stop waiting and buy it because they are no longer producing HD 68xx’s and AMD is trying to give you every reason they can to buy it so that they can eventually lower the price on the HD 7770 as required.

  113. HD 68xx & HD 57xx are being discontinued. HD 78xx & HD 77xx will replace them.

    so what is AMD to do, they can launch the new cards for less than the old ones angering shareholders because old unsellable video cards are sitting on store shelves or they can ask a little more for the new cards until the old cards clear out of the channel…. in effect giving an incentive to clear out the old stock to make room for the new.

    their is a thread dedicated to how mysterious and illogical this concept is….. get rid of the old to make room for the new while avoiding a loss of money in the process… how difficult is it to understand.

    ppl are complaining HD 7770 isn’t faster than HD 68xx…. it was never meant to be.

    that said it’s surprisingly close while consuming less power, generating less heat, using a simpler PCB, and lastly having a GPU half the size.

    I can already read the rebuttals without seeing them, “well HD 6850 is cheaper”…. then buy it before it’s too late silly because it’s price isn’t going to go any lower and they are no longer manufacturing it.

  114. Why is GPGPU not mentioned at all? Not even any games tested that use GPGPU features, such as Civ 5. You guys are painting too ugly of a picture highlighting only the weaknesses without looking at the whole picture. Obviously the 7770 is going to crush the 6850 in GPGPU, not to mention the new video encoding engine.

    Also, even though it cost more for the brand new card, and most don’t care about power consumption, the savings on your power bill will make up for the higher initial cost, so why not buy the new card, with new features, less noise, less heat, less power just because it costs a few dollars more than it could.

  115. you are comparing the wrong parts, HD 68xx is selling for cheap because it’s being discontinued, HD 78xx will replace it in a month.

    HD 7770 is replacing AMD’s old HD 5770 which is also being discontinued.

    once the old parts are gone the new parts will drop in price, AMD wants to clear out old stock before they push the new product.

    that said I like the new HD 7770 and am even more excited to see what HD 78xx brings and for what price because by the looks of things HD 78xx will destroy the old HD 68xx series.

  116. It has slightly worse performance, and slightly higher price, but is quieter, cooler, and uses considerably less power. Even if you don’t care about power consumption, you will make up the cost over time for 36w less load, and 10-20w less idle power consumption.

    There is also the new video encoding engine, which is better and faster than quicksync, with more flexability. The review doesn’t even mention GPGPU at all, which would be clearly dominated by the 7770.

    It is brand new technology, expect a tad bit of markup for R&D. $149 would be a better price point, but its not like a few extra dollars is highway robbery. Like others say, expect price to drop when Nvidia gets around to releasing something…. 3-6 months late.

  117. Cape Verde is impressive for the fact it manages to keep up with 6850 (Bart XL) with a fraction of the bandwidth and less on-die resources.

    Price isn’t that great, but then again AMD has to recoup the R&D costs for new 28nm process. 6850s at the moment are cheaper, because they are on clearance (a.k.a EOL).

    The price will come down once Nvidia has direct competition for it.

  118. Very good replacement for HD5770. I think the game choices selected were too nvidia friendly TWIMBP (or whatever) games or course excluding Deus Ex. Where is the 3DMark11 test?

  119. I’m dead serious. I only glanced your post but i spotted no spec comparison. HD 6870 20% faster? Ok but look at 7770’s specs. Compare the bus width, compare the number of stream processors, compare the number of ROPs, compare power consumption, compare all the specs…i said the price is not right for the 7770 at the moment but it will at some point.

    And FYI by the time the 7770 will have the correct price the 6870 will be long EOLed.

    Edit 2:
    [quote<]While at it, why don't you advocate gaming on HD3000 series? It's "free" and has the industry's leading performance/watt.[/quote<] Did i say buy the 7770 right now? Did i say to people to buy it right now instead of a 6870/6850? Did i said to someone to ditch their 6870/70 and buy this card? If you thought i did say that, please bother me no more.

  120. Oh really, so in the world you live, technology gets more expensive and slower over time? What country are you from again, Soviet Union? I hope the caviar and top-notch vodka make up for regression you are happy to experience.

  121. “Wikipedia says Cape Verde (rhymes with bird)”only if you pronounce it in english and that’s just weird.
    Anyway,i would say,it rhymes with ripoff. AMD must have taken too many green pills.

  122. You can’t be serious?

    HD6870 is still on average 21% faster than an overclocked HD7770 at 1080P, costs the same, came out October 22, 2010.

    [url<][/url<] What do people buy "graphics processing units" for? To save on power consumption OR to accelerate their graphics? First and foremost we buy GPUs to get better graphics. If we didn't want better graphics at the cost of power consumption, we'd be gaming on our tablets and smartphones and save even more electricity. If you have 2 similarly performing cards, but one consumes a lot less electricity, then sure it matters. But if the card is a total turd and it consumes less electricity than a 1.5 year old card, no one cares. While at it, why don't you advocate gaming on HD3000 series? It's "free" and has the industry's leading performance/watt. Using your logic, you'd be impressed that HD3000 performs rather well given it's cost, specs and power consumption. See how that works? How do you release a card almost 1.5 years later than HD6850 and HD6870 and it costs more than both and performs worse? The only way that's viable is if AMD discontinues HD6800 series, removing any choice from consumers.

  123. There is no way HD7870 will be $220. Expect $299 and performance that’s worse than HD6970 on average without overclocking. Considering HD7950 is only 17-20% faster than HD6970, there is no way AMD is going to sell $220 HD7870 with HD6970 level of performance for $230 less than their HD7950:

    [url<][/url<] HD7000 series: "redefining price/performance curve by ..... barely/not moving it at all. Rory Read for tech CEO of the year."

  124. I’m quite impressed by the HD 7770’s performance given the specs and power consumption. When the prices drop it will be an awesome card for low budget gaming rigs given the fact that it will work with small power supplies.

  125. Solid review, but I can’t extract value from those frame latency vs frame number graphs without considerable difficulty. Wouldn’t it be possible you make those into frame latency vs game time with a just a bit of excel math? Maybe a point cloud would work better than a line, as well.

    Good to see ATI/AMD is executing well here. AMD will fix the price when they feel the need.

  126. Ya, probably. But don’t forget, it has “advanced” features such as PCIe 3.0 and DX11.1 and 4K display support. You need that bro. Otherwise you are “outdated” (sarcasm).

    I hope even the most hardcore AMD fan out there prays and dreams that GK104 drops for $319 or so and gives us GTX580 level of performance so that we actually move forward in price/performance (and not just at the $550+ price level and also not only because we would need 30% overclocks to get something substantial — ahem HD7970). Rory Read needs to come down to earth. I realize the strategy for making profits, but HD7700 series is taking this to a whole other level of FAIL. It basically relies on discontinuing HD6850/6870 series so that consumers have no other option but buy these turds.

  127. The only competition to this card is another AMD card. I’d expect it to stay near this price, helping clear out HD 6850/6870 inventory and then drop in price once Nvidia shows up. Drop the 7770 to $120~ and then position a 7850/7870 duo around the $170 to $220 range.

  128. [quote<]The Radeon HD 7770 isn't a bad product by any means; it just costs way too much. This is a card that belongs at around $130, just below the Radeon HD 6850. It has no business anywhere near $159[/quote<] Thank you, Cyril; thank you. That's the bottom line here. Sometimes I expect to much, but this is truly a disappointing price point. Is Pitcairn going to be equally as disappointing? As fast as a 6950, priced like a 6970?

  129. Wow, the prices for these cards are ridiculous. New cards are supposed to provide better performance for similar amount of $, or provide similar performance for a lot less money, while giving gamers more features. As such, with many HD6850s available for $120-130, it would have made a lot more sense to sell HD7770 for $119 or below and for HD7750 to be priced at $89 considering it’s hardly much better than the HD5770/6770.

    The sub <$150 GPU market has been deteriorating for a long time and AMD’s pricing strategy is signaling that. Grab those HD6850s and HD6870s while you still can. Unless NV surprises us with Kepler’s amazing price/performance, it looks like the discrete GPU market will become >$250 or you are getting crap. What’s next, a $299 HD7870 that’s not any faster than a $220 HD6950? I wouldn’t be surprised.

  130. I think Krogoth should be impressed.

    Think about it- when the prices drop with competition and economy of scale, we’ll have a cheap budget card that is silent and cool running, and another that can can run passively!

    The HD7750 is particularly exciting in that regard. Imagine a fanless HTPC card that can reasonably run BF3 (at Medium-Low) in MP and Skyrim at Medium? Priceless!

  131. The pricing is very reminiscent of bulldozer/FX8150 actually. There are still cards from the previous generation that are faster and the same price (or cheaper even). Hopefully the cards will drop in price a bit after a couple weeks.

    On the bright side my GTX460 is keeping it’s value better than any card I’ve ever owned. 🙂

  132. Agreed, and to be a “steal” it would need to be ~$100 (not that that will happen anytime soon). Their entire range is overpriced. I guess you could argue Intel does exactly the same thing with its CPUs, but at least you get more performance for the same static price.

    I’m going to upgrade in a few months. Despite being a loyal ATI fan I’m contemplating going to the green team if they offer a better price/performance ratio.

  133. flip-mode is going to be tearing his hair out.

    Pretty disappointing though. At most, I’d pay $119 for this card.