- Wednesday, February 15, 2012
- Brent Justice
XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked Review
Today marks the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 7700 series of GPUs in the sub-$200 bracket. We've got a retail XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked video card just itching to show us what it can do. Will this Radeon HD 7770 based video card hold up to the likes of the Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti? You may be surprised.
AMD is far from finished debuting new GPUs in its Radeon HD 7000 series lineup. We've seen the launch of the high-end Radeon HD 7970 at $549 announced in December of last year and made available in January. We've recently seen the launch and availability of the high-end Radeon HD 7950 at $449 just a few weeks ago. Today, on February 15th AMD is introducing and making available its $109-$159 products, the Radeon HD 7770 and Radeon HD 7750. What about the $200-$300 cards you ask? Those are not being discussed yet, they will happen, but not today. AMD has decided to go ahead and release its lower end, sub-$200 GPUs first.
We can look at AMD's strategy for GPU placement in the slide above. The AMD Radeon HD 7900 series, known as Tahiti sits at the $399+ category. Below that, in the $199-$399 are the unannounced "Pitcairn" GPUs. These will most likely be the Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7870, but no information has been disclosed on them at this time. Below "Pitcairn" is "Cape Verde" also known as the Radeon HD 7700 series being announced today.
The Radeon HD 7700 Series
The Radeon HD 7700 series, made up of the Radeon HD 7750 and Radeon HD 7770 encompass everything that you know about the Radeon HD 7900 series. The Radeon HD 7700 series is built upon the new Graphics Core Next Architecture at 28nm. You will find the same Eyefinity Technology 2.0 support, DX11.1 support, PowerTune, ZeroCore Power, PCI-E Gen 3 support, and everything else that makes up the Radeon HD 7900 series.
The graphics engine has simply been cut down to sell at the intended price points. There are 10 compute units, and 640 stream processors, on the Radeon HD 7770. The memory bus has been set at 128-bit wide with fast GDDR5 memory. Though the memory bus is cut down, the fast GDDR5 can make up the bandwidth. We have achieved high overclock speeds so far in our testing that improves the memory bandwidth over the reference specification quite a bit.
The Radeon HD 7770 is AMD's first production 1GHz GPU. In light of the reference clock being 1GHz on the Radeon HD 7770 AMD has felt that it deserves some special branding. AMD is introducing the "GHz Edition" branding. This "GHz Edition" branding can only be used on GPUs that have a reference clock speed set by AMD of 1GHz. Therefore, you won't see this branding on factory overclocked Radeon HD 7970's that are set at 1GHz or higher, because the base reference clock speed of a HD 7970 is 925MHz, as set by AMD. Right now, the only reference speced 1GHz GPU from AMD is the Radeon HD 7770, so right now, this is the only video card that you will see this branding attached to. In the future, we may see more 1GHz reference speced parts from AMD, and those will be able to receive his branding.
The slide above compares the specifications of the Radeon HD 7750 and Radeon HD 7770. The Radeon HD 7770 has an MSRP of $159. The Radeon HD 7750 has an MSRP of $109.
The Radeon HD 7770 comes clocked at 1GHz with 640 stream processors, 40 texture units and 16 ROPs. The 1GB of memory rides on a 128-bit bus at 4.5GHz. Total board power is around 80W. For comparison, the Radeon HD 7950 runs at 800MHz with 512 stream processors, 32 texture units and 16 ROPs. The memory setup is exactly the same on the HD 7750 with 1GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus at 4.5GHz.
XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked
Instead of evaluating a reference model, we've got a fully boxed retail XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked in-house to evaluate for you today. This way we get to see how a great custom video card does on launch day.
The XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclock is on the higher priced side of Radeon HD 7770 video cards. You will find this one for $179. Though it carries a $20 higher price tag, it has plenty of features to warrant that higher price. The XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclock is a custom video card, through and through. XFX has set the default core clock speed at 1120MHz out-of-the-box. This is 120MHz faster than the reference clock of 1GHz. XFX has also given the memory a significant boost by setting it at 1300MHz (5.2GHz) versus the stock frequency of 1125MHz (4.5GHz). These are high overclocks, without you having to do anything at all.
XFX has also developed a custom PCB with its custom cooling dubbed Double Dissipation Ghost Thermal Technology. The dual fans on this video card increase airflow by 3x and keeping the noise down. XFX claims a 7c cooler operation compared to the reference video card.
Inside the box is a rather large bundle. XFX gives you a bunch of booklets to give you information on setup and other XFX products. There is a doorknob hanger, and a special case badge you can put on your case to display your XFX Black Edition video card. XFX also provides a DisplayPort to DVI passive cable, so that you will have a useable second DVI port. A CrossFireX connector is included since the video card supports CrossFireX.
Here she is in all her beauty. This is a beautiful video card, there is no other way to say it. Aesthetically speaking, the brushed aluminum look is downright slick. The video card itself measures a bit less than 8.5 inches in length, making it an easy fit. There is a copper based heatsink with aluminum fins. The two fans sit atop the video cad and keep it well cooled. There is a vent on the connector port side of the video card, but since the whole shroud is open most of the heat gets dissipated inside the case. This video card only requires one PCI-E power connector.
There is a DVI port, HDMI port and two Mini-DP ports on board. The ASIC itself supports up to six displays, so it is up to the add-in-board partners to develop more customized display connectors if they wish.