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AMD’s Radeon HD 5770 and 5750 graphics cards

Scott Wasson Former Editor-in-Chief Author expertise
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Oh dear. Our review of the Radeon HD 5700 series is late. AMD keeps pumping out Radeons at such a ridiculous rate, they broke me. I just couldn’t keep up with it all—ran out of snark and iffy jokes, or something like that.

Just a few short weeks ago, the Radeon HD 5870 debuted, the first of a new generation of graphics processors that packs improved performance, new capabilities needed to support DirectX 11 and emerging GPU-computing standards, higher image quality, improved power efficiency, and multiple other marketing bullet points of varying worth. We liked it, to put things mildly. My wife keeps trying to convince me not to keep mine under my pillow at night, but I know better. Oh, yes.

New generations of GPU technology tend to make their way from higher end products into more affordable ones over time. This trend is often called the waterfall effect, because, well, I dunno. Water falls down, and stuff. Spray goes everywhere. It’s noisy, and sometimes there are rainbows.

Where was I?

Oh, right. Anyhow, the technology built into the Radeon HD 5870 is propagating to a second GPU in record time. AMD has just introduced a pair of graphics cards based on a new mid-range graphics processor code-named Juniper, bringing DirectX 11 and a whole slew of other buzzwords into price ranges heretofore reserved for older buzzwords followed by lower numbers. The bottom line for you and me, roughly speaking, is better graphics cards for less money. Let’s see how well the new Radeons deliver on that expectation.

Juniper takes a, erm, bough
Yep, the GPU behind the Radeon HD 5700 series is code-named Juniper, part of the “Evergreen” naming scheme AMD is using for these chips. The big daddy in the family, Cypress, is the chip inside the Radeon HD 5800 series. Juniper is classic example of a chip company firing up its design tools, including the vaunted World’s Smallest Chainsaw, and essentially chopping its high-end part in half to serve a broader market.

In truth, it’s not quite that simple, because Cypress and Juniper were essentially co-developed. The Juniper silicon came back from the fab about a week after Cypress, and AMD had both chips in validation at the same time. If a bug was found on one chip, AMD would then attempt to replicate it on the other one and, if needed, apply a fix to both. That co-development strategy is what allowed the firm to crank out multiple new Radeons in an unprecedently tight time window.


A block diagram of Juniper. Source: AMD.

Still, if you look at the block diagram above, you can see what I’m saying about that tiny chainsaw, a tool Canadians are renowned for using well. Architecturally, in many key respects, Juniper has half the resources of Cypress. That reality is reflected first in the graphics engine at the top of the diagram, which includes only a single rasterizer, not two like Cypress.

In its shader core, Juniper has 10 SIMD cores, each of which has 16 superscalar execution units. Each of those has five ALUs. Multiply it all out, and Juniper is sporting a total of 800 ALUs, or “stream processors,” as AMD likes to call them, a bit immodestly. Each SIMD core has a texture unit associated with it, so Juniper includes 10 of those, giving it 40 texels per clock of texture filtering power.

Also halved on Juniper is the number of render back ends, which now stands at four. As a result, the chip can produce 16 color pixels per clock and 64 Z/stencil pixels per clock. Again, that’s half of Cypress’ capacities.

Interestingly enough, Juniper turns out to be quite similar to the RV770 GPU that powers the prior-gen high-end Radeon HD 4800 series. Both Juniper and RV770 have 800 SPs, 10 texture units, four render back-ends, and a single rasterizer. But Juniper is a smaller chip intended for less expensive graphics cards, so it has only two 64-bit memory controllers or an aggregate 128-bit memory interface. Both Cypress and RV770 have 256-bit memory interfaces. Still, the use of higher-clocked GDDR5 memory in the Radeon HD 5700 series will at least help bridge the deficit versus the RV770.

Across the nascent Evergreen lineup, AMD has increased processing and graphics power disproportionately compared to memory bandwidth. That trend may largely be driven by cost considerations and the bandwidth per pin limitations of available memory types. Still, AMD claims the tradeoff makes sense, asserting that the RV770 actually had more memory bandwidth than it needed and that chips like Juniper are simply more balanced, not bandwidth-starved.

Of course, Juniper varies from the RV770 in many other respects. The chip’s hardware supports many capabilities exposed in new software APIs like DirectX 11, DirectCompute, and OpenCL 1.0. AMD has improved its image quality via superior texture filtering methods, as well, and revamped its display output block to support up to six four-megapixel displays simultaneously. I suggest you read our Radeon HD 5870 review for a full rundown on these features. The many incremental improvements are considerable, when taken together.

Juniper has dropped one major feature from Cypress, though: the ability to process double-precision floating-point math. Both Cypress and RV770 can process double-precision datatypes at one-fifth the rate they do single-precision numbers, with varying degrees of capability and internal precision. Cypress is more or less fully IEEE 754-2008 compliant. But if that string of letters and numbers doesn’t mean anything to you, you probably won’t miss DP support in Juniper. The ability to handle DP math is crucial for certain GPU computing markets, but its value for a consumer product is shaky. DP math doesn’t matter a whit for real-time graphics, for one thing; its only real use is for GPU computing. Even for GPU computing, the first consumer applications aren’t likely to need double-precision datatypes. Things like image processing, video compression and effects, and even physics simulations for gaming get along just fine with integer or single-precision FP datatypes. Omitting DP support reduces the size of the chip and thus cuts AMD’s costs, which is why the company chose to leave it out of this very consumer-focused GPU.

Sizing up the chip

Estimated
transistor
count
(Millions)
Approximate
die
size
(mm²)
Fabrication
process node

G92b

754 256 55-nm
TSMC
GT200

1400 576* 65-nm
TSMC
GT200b

1400 470* 55-nm
TSMC
RV740

826 137 40-nm
TSMC
RV770

956 256 55-nm
TSMC
Juniper

1040 166 40-nm
TSMC
Cypress

2150 334 40-nm
TSMC

Despite the omission of double-precision math support, Juniper’s transistor count still exceeds the RV770’s somewhat, as the numbers in the table to the right attest. Because, like Cypress, the Juniper GPU is manufactured using a 40-nanometer fab process, it’s a much smaller chip, though—closer in size to the RV740 GPU in the Radeon HD 4770. As you might be gathering, that means Juniper packs a heckuva wallop for its size. We’ll get into specifics on that front shortly.

Please note that the numbers in the table are somewhat approximate, since they’re culled from various sources. Most notably, Nvidia has avoided divulging die sizes for its largest chips, so our GT200 and GT200b numbers are potentially off. I just Googled around for them and settled on the most widely accepted numbers. You may prefer the “spin the bottle method,” which could produce more accurate results. I’ve not pried the cap off of a GT200/b to check them. Hence the asterisks.

Below are pictures of the various GPUs sized up, again approximately, next to a quarter for reference. As you can see, Juniper is very much a welterweight.


RV770


Cypress


Juniper


RV740


The 55-nm G92b


The 65-nm GT200 under its metal cap

What’s in the cards
AMD has unleashed a couple of graphics cards with Juniper chips onboard. The one that will most likely capture your interest is the Radeon HD 5770, which is the fastest Juniper-based card. Have a look.


Gigabyte’s Radeon HD 5770

That’s Gigabyte’s take on the 5770, and yes, it’s clothed in one of those Batmobile-inspired cooling shrouds. AMD calls this the “Phoenix” shroud, and all early versions of the 5770 should include it. Over time, though, the various brands will be free to come up with their own custom coolers, so the Phoenix’s availability may be somewhat limited.

Juniper cranks away at 850MHz in the 5770, paired with a gig of memory clocked at 1.2GHz. That memory clock translates into a 4.8 GT/s data rate, since this is GDDR5 memory. Happily, Juniper has inherited Cypress’s ability to conserve power at idle by dropping its GDDR5 memory into a low-power state. As a result, AMD rates the 5770’s idle power at only 18W. Even under load, the 5770 is relatively tame, with a 108W max power rating.

Thus, the 5770 gets by easily with just a single six-pin auxiliary power connector. The board’s relatively short, too, at just under 8.25″ in length—an easy fit for most any mid-sized desktop enclosure, though it will occupy two slots.


The Radeon HD 5750

And here’s the Radeon HD 5750, the 5770’s little brother. For this mission, Juniper has had one of its SIMD cores clipped, along with the corresponding texture unit. Clock speeds are de-tuned, too, with the GPU at 700MHz and memory at 1150MHz. Thanks to the changes, the 5750 tops out at 86W of power draw and is rated for just 16W at idle. The board’s shorter, too, at just 7 3/16″.


The 5770’s outputs


…and the 5750’s

Both 5700-series cards sport the same array of outputs as the Radeon HD 5870, including a pair of dual-link DVI ports, a DisplayPort connector, and an HDMI out. The cards can drive up to three monitors at up to 2560×1600 in several port combinations, although the third display must use DisplayPort. AMD’s Eyefinity capability is fully supported in all 5700-series cards, too, making it possible to play games across three displays with either card, provided the pixel-pushing demands of the games aren’t too strenuous.

Incidentally, AMD says board makers will be able to create multi-display cards based on Juniper that feature more than three DisplayPort connectors, but it will ask them to limit those cards to five outputs. You’ll have to step up to one of the upcoming Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity6 Edition cards to drive six displays via a single GPU.

Another limitation of the 5700 series will be the number of cards supported in CrossFire multi-GPU configs. Although the cards have dual CrossFire connectors up top, AMD plans to limit them to dual-GPU configs only. Again, going beyond that will mean moving up to the 5800 series.

AMD told us it expects “nearly all” board vendors to include a coupon with their Radeon HD 5770 cards good for a Steam download of the upcoming racing game, DiRT 2. As I understand it, board vendors may even include the DiRT 2 coupon with the 5750, if they choose. They don’t appear to be doing so right now, though. At present, most 5700-series cards listings at Newegg say nothing about a DiRT 2 coupon. Our retail boxed review sample of Gigabyte’s Radeon HD 5770 from Gigabyte didn’t include a coupon, either, and Gigabyte says only its 5800-series cards will feature that perk.


The Radeon HD 5770 in the nude

The initial suggested e-tail price for the Radeon HD 5770 is $159. That’s an interesting opening bid from AMD, because the Radeon HD 4870 1GB can be had right now for a prevailing price of about $150 at online retailers, with rebate deals that can drop the price another 10 or 15 bucks below that. The 4870 has a lower core clock speed than the 5770, but higher memory bandwidth, so the performance contest between them is no sure thing (as we’ll soon see). AMD has apparently decided to charge a bit of a premium at the outset for its latest GPU and the fresh technology it offers.

That decision puts the Radeon HD 5770 in more or less direct competition with the GeForce GTX 260, too. Prevailing prices online for the GTX 260 are about $165, with rebate deals shaving up to 20 bucks off the final toll, provided that the rebate company actually pays.

One tricky thing about making comparisons to the GTX 260 is the fact that clock speeds on end products tend to vary. For this review, we tested with a GTX 260 card from Asus that’s clocked quite a bit higher than Nvidia’s baseline speeds, primarily because it was the only one we had on hand that uses the 55-nm “b” version of the GT200 GPU. Our Asus card has clock speeds of 650MHz (core), 1400MHz (shaders), and 1150MHz (memory, or 2300 MT/s with DDR3). This particular Asus model is apparently not available at online retailers right now. This Gigabyte card with very similar clock speeds is selling for $179 at Newegg with a $30 mail-in rebate attached. Depending on whether the rebate works out, then, that GTX 260 will either cost more or less than the 5770. Be aware, though, that not all GTX 260s are created equal, and the one we’ve tested is at the upper end of the bell curve, like the word count in a TR review.

Meanwhile, the 1GB variant of the 5750 will list for $129, where it will have to contend with the Radeon HD 4850 1GB (~$120 prevailing price) and the GeForce GTS 250 1GB (~$140, with some rebates available). Again, clock speeds vary on the GeForces, and this Gigabyte offering for $150, plus a $20 rebate, is probably closest to our EVGA Superclocked card’s 770MHz core, 1890MHz shaders, and 1123MHz memory.

AMD says it has shipped “tens of thousands” of both 5750 and 5770 1GB cards for this initial launch, so availability hopefully won’t be as spotty as it has been for the Radeon HD 5800-series cards. Over time, Radeon board makers should begin shipping a 512MB version of the 5750, as well, for around $109.

Our testing methods
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 Core i7-965 Extreme 3.2GHz
System bus QPI 6.4 GT/s (3.2GHz)
Motherboard Gigabyte EX58-UD5
BIOS revision F7
North bridge X58 IOH
South bridge ICH10R
Chipset drivers INF update 9.1.1.1015
Matrix Storage Manager 8.9.0.1023
Memory size 6GB (3 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair Dominator TR3X6G1600C8D
DDR3 SDRAM
at 1333MHz
CAS latency (CL) 8
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 8
RAS precharge (tRP) 8
Cycle time (tRAS) 24
Command rate 2T
Audio Integrated ICH10R/ALC889A
with Realtek 6.0.1.5919 drivers
Graphics Gigabyte
Radeon HD 4850 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66.6-090929a-089412E drivers
Diamond
Radeon HD 4870 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66.6-090929a-089412E drivers
Sapphire Radeon HD 4890 OC 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Radeon HD 5850 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Radeon HD 5750 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66.6-090929a-089412E drivers
Gigabyte Radeon HD
5770 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66.6-090929a-089412E drivers
Radeon HD 5870 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
Dual Radeon HD 5870 1GB PCIe
with Catalyst 8.66-090910a-088431E drivers
EVGA GeForce
GTS 250 Superclocked 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 191.07 drivers
Asus
ENGTX260 TOP SP216
GeForce GTX 260 896MB PCIe
with ForceWare 191.07 drivers
Asus GeForce GTX 285 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
Dual Asus GeForce GTX 285 1GB PCIe
with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
GeForce GTX 295 2GB PCIe
with ForceWare 190.62 drivers
Hard drive WD Caviar SE16 320GB SATA
Power supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Watt
OS Windows 7 Ultimate x64 Edition RTM
OS updates DirectX March 2009 update

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. Their quality, service, and support are easily superior to no-name DIMMs.

Our test systems were powered by PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W power supply units. The Silencer 750W was a runaway Editor’s Choice winner in our epic 11-way power supply roundup, so it seemed like a fitting choice for our test rigs.

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 versions of our test applications:

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.

Running the numbers

Peak
pixel
fill rate
(Gpixels/s)


Peak bilinear
texel
filtering
rate
(Gtexels/s)

Peak bilinear

FP16 texel
filtering
rate
(Gtexels/s)


Peak
memory
bandwidth
(GB/s)

Peak shader
arithmetic (GFLOPS)

Single-issue Dual-issue
GeForce GTS 250 1GB

12.3 49.3 24.6 71.9 484 726
GeForce GTX 260 (216 SPs)

18.2 46.8 23.4 128.8 605 907
GeForce GTX 275

17.7 50.6 25.4 127.0 674 1011
GeForce GTX 285

21.4 53.6 26.8 166.4 744 1116
GeForce GTX 295

32.3 92.2 46.1 223.9 1192 1788
Radeon HD 4850 1GB

11.2 28.0 14.0 63.6 1120
Radeon HD 4870 1GB

12.0 30.0 15.0 115.2 1200
Radeon HD 4890

14.4 36.0 18.0 124.8 1440
Radeon HD 4870 X2

24.0 60.0 30.0 230.4 2400
Radeon HD 5750

11.2 25.2 12.6 73.6 1008
Radeon HD 5770

13.6 34.0 17.0 76.8 1360
Radeon HD 5850

23.2 52.2 26.1 128.0 2088
Radeon HD 5870

27.2 68.0 34.0 153.6 2720

We’ll begin by looking at some theoreticals, before moving on to in-game performance. Please note that the specifications in the table above are based, where applicable, on the actual clock speeds of the cards we tested, not on the baseline clocks established by the chipmakers.

There’s an interesting split going on here with the Radeons. The 5750 is slower than the Radeon HD 4850 in almost every respect, except for memory bandwidth. The 4850 has more peak texture filtering capacity and more FLOPS of shader power. Meanwhile, the 5770’s contest with the 4870 is the opposite; the 5770 leads in every respect except for memory bandwidth, where the 4870 has a decisive lead.

3DMark’s directed tests should give us some insight into how these theoreticals play out in the hardware.

This test of color fill rate is often limited by memory bandwidth, and these results track pretty well with the cards’ theoretical limits on that front. The Radeon HD 4870 and the GeForce GTX 260 score quite a bit higher than the 5770, but the 5750 just edges out its two closest rivals.

This test stresses FP16 texture filtering, and despite the GeForce cards’ impressive specs on paper in this department, the Radeons clearly have the upper hand. The 5770 is nearly 50% faster than the GeForce GTX 260 here, and it beats the Radeon HD 4870 pretty soundly, too.

The results here vary from test to test, but a couple of trends are obvious. For one, the GeForce cards perform better than their somewhat low theoretical peak FLOPS numbers would suggest. Also, the Radeon HD 5770 outperforms the 4870 consistently, by very nice margins in a couple of cases.

Far Cry 2
We tested Far Cry 2 using the game’s built-in benchmarking tool, which allowed us to test the different cards at multiple resolutions in a precisely repeatable manner. We used the benchmark tool’s “Very high” quality presets with the DirectX 10 renderer and 4X multisampled antialiasing.

With frame rates in the 30s at 1920×1200, this is a pretty tough test for this class of graphics card. The differences between the 5700-series cards and their closest rivals are pretty minor, too.

The 5750 outperforms the 4850, but just trails the GeForce GTS 250. The 5770, meanwhile, shadows the 4870 closely, but can’t keep pace with our hot-clocked GTX 260. Keep in mind that the GTX 260 is a little pricier before its rebate, so the value contest remains very tight.

Wolfenstein
We recorded a demo during a multiplayer game on the Hospital map and played it back using the “timeNetDemo” command. At all resolutions, the game’s quality options were at their peaks, with 4X multisampled AA and 8X anisotropic filtering enabled.

Chalk this one up as an unequivocal win for Nvidia, whose graphics cards have long excelled in id Software’s OpenGL-based game engines. The newer Radeons trail their similarly priced elder siblings, here, too.

Left 4 Dead
We also used a custom-recorded timedemo with Valve’s excellent zombie shooter, Left 4 Dead. We tested with 4X multisampled AA and 16X anisotropic filtering enabled and all of the game’s quality options cranked

This game runs quite well on relatively lightweight hardware. We’re seeing frame rates near 60 FPS at 2560×1600 on the slowest cards we tested, which raises the question of whether the differences in performance between these cards really matter. Nevertheless, the 5750 and 5770 are a slight bit slower than the 4850 and 4870.

Tom Clancy’s HAWX
We used the built-in benchmark tool in HAWX, which seems to do a good job of putting a video card through its paces. We tested this game in DirectX 10 mode with all of the image quality options either turned on or set to “High”, along with 4X multisampled antialiasing. Since this game supports DirectX 10.1 for enhanced performance, we enabled it on the Radeons. No current GeForce GPU supports DX10.1, though, so we couldn’t use it with them.

For some reason, perhaps immature drivers, the new Radeons in the 5000 series perform relatively weakly in this game. Even the 5850 and 5870 are affected.

Sacred 2: Fallen Angel
A little surprisingly for an RPG, this game is demanding enough to test even the fastest GPUs at its highest quality settings. And it puts all of that GPU power to good use by churning out some fantastic visuals.

We tested at 1920×1200 resolution with the game’s quality options at their “Very high” presets (typically the best possible quality setting) with 4X MSAA.

Given the way this game tends to play, we decided to test with fewer, longer sessions when capturing frame rates with FRAPS. We settled on three five-minute-long play sessions, all in the same area of the game. We then reported the median of the average and minimum frame rates from the three runs.

In spite of the iffy minimum frame rates, this RPG plays pretty well at these settings on all of the cards. The GeForces take their respective price classes, and the Radeons are left to fight for second place. The 5770’s performance is a little disappointing compared to the 4870’s.

Crysis Warhead
We tested Warhead using its “Gamer” quality presets at a display resolution of 1680×1050, with 4X antialiasing enabled..

For this game, we tested each GPU config in five 60-second sessions, covering the same portion of the game each time. We’ve then reported the median average and minimum frame rates from those five runs.

Wow, the ~$130 cards are incredibly closely matched. Among the higher-priced cards, the differences are still minor, but the 5770 is the slowest of the three.

Power consumption
We measured total system power consumption at the wall socket using an Extech power analyzer model 380803. 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 Left 4 Dead at a 2560×1600 resolution, using the same settings we did for performance testing.

Here’s where having a newer, smaller, 40-nm design pays off. The 5700-series cards draw substantially less power under load than their price competitors, and they idle down to some very nice lows.

Noise levels
We measured noise levels on our test system, sitting on an open test bench, using an Extech model 407738 digital sound level meter. The meter was mounted on a tripod approximately 8″ from the test system at a height even with the top of the video card. We used the OSHA-standard weighting and speed for these measurements.

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.

The 5770 has a beefier cooler than the 5750, which allows it to create less fan noise at idle. When running a game, though, the 5770’s higher power draw demands a little more fan power—and thus noise. Both 5700 cards are among the quietest under load, regardless.

The third-party cooler on our Gigabyte 4850 doesn’t ramp down its fan speed at idle, by the way; that’s why it’s comparatively loud in that test.

GPU temperatures
For most of the cards, we used GPU-Z to log temperatures during our load testing. In the case of multi-GPU setups, we recorded temperatures on the primary card. However, GPU-Z didn’t yet know what to do with the 5700- and 5800- series cards, so we had to resort to running a 3D program in a window while reading the temperature from the Overdrive section of AMD’s Catalyst control panel.

AMD has tweaked its fan control algorithms to reduce GPU temperatures in its more recent products, and that leads to an 18° C drop in peak temperatures compared to the 4870.

Conclusions
The performance comparisons we made in this review aren’t entirely fair, in the sense that we’ve pitted older, larger chips with wider paths to memory against the 5700-series cards. The GT200b GPU in the GeForce GTX 260 has nearly three times the land mass of a Juniper chip, to put things in perspective. In reality, the Radeon HD 5770 is a replacement for the Radeon HD 4770, not the 4870.

The thing is, AMD knows it has captured lightning in a bottle with the first DirectX 11-capable graphics cards, and it has priced its products accordingly. Yes, the 5770 may not quite be as fast as the 4870 in current games, but those performance differences are rather minor, a few frames per second here or there at the most common resolutions. And some games run exceptionally well on any of these cards, regardless of resolution.

What’s much harder to quantify is the true difference between DirectX 10-class hardware and DirectX 11-class hardware. A great many things are encompassed under that one umbrella, DX11. For instance, Juniper has a hardware tessellation capability that games may exploit to produce much higher quality polygon meshes at fluid frame rates. Although prior-generation Radeons also had hardware tessellation, DX10 doesn’t make use of it. And current GeForces have no tessellation hardware at all. At some point down the road, games will begin to use DX11 tessellation, and one of two things will happen: either the game will simply look better on the DX11-class parts, or it will run much faster on the DX11 hardware. We’ll likely see similar tradeoffs with other DX11 features, including HDR texture compression and multi-threaded command processing.

Juniper offers value on other fronts, as well, including higher quality texture filtering and supersampled antialiasing, not to mention the Eyefinity feature that enables gaming across three monitors at once. Toss in much lower power draw, cooler GPU temperatures, shorter board lengths, and lighter power supply requirements, too, as 5700-series advantages over similarly priced competitors. Soon, the value meter begins to wobble in the direction of the new Radeons. If board vendors begin include that DiRT 2 coupon more widely, the needle will move for sure.

The choice is yours, of course. Grabbing a GeForce GTX 260 still looks pretty rational from a raw price-performance perspective. The very fact that a Juniper-based graphics card could even begin to challenge the GTX 260 on performance is proof that AMD has built one heck of a potent little GPU. Once its DX11 price premium erodes, which could happen in a few short months, I expect the Radeon HD 5700 series to settle into the space between $99 and $129, where it will likely be the undisputed king for some time to come.

The Tech Report - Editorial ProcessOur Editorial Process

The Tech Report editorial policy is centered on providing helpful, accurate content that offers real value to our readers. We only work with experienced writers who have specific knowledge in the topics they cover, including latest developments in technology, online privacy, cryptocurrencies, software, and more. Our editorial policy ensures that each topic is researched and curated by our in-house editors. We maintain rigorous journalistic standards, and every article is 100% written by real authors.

Scott Wasson Former Editor-in-Chief

Scott Wasson Former Editor-in-Chief

Scott Wasson is a veteran in the tech industry and the former Editor-in-Chief at Tech Report. With a laser focus on tech product reviews, Wasson's expertise shines in evaluating CPUs and graphics cards, and much more.

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