Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Gigabyte HD 5770 Super Overclock Video Card Review

The Gigabyte HD 5770 Super Overclock provides us with "Ultra Durable" components, cherry-picked GPUs, higher GPU frequencies, and a new cooling solution. With all that, does it wipe the floor with a Radeon HD 5770? How about GBT's claims comparing its card to the aging GTX 260? We put it to the test.

Introduction

Gigabyte is familiar to most PC hardware enthusiasts. It was founded in 1986 by a team of eight electronics engineers. At first, they specialized only in motherboard design. In a few short years, it expanded its product lineup to include graphics cards, notebooks, communications equipment, network servers, computer chassis', and plethora of PC components.

Today we are going to be taking a look at Gigabyte’s ultimate version of the Radeon HD 5770: the HD 5770 Super Overclock. This series offers the traditionally upgraded cooling solution and boosted GPU frequency. However it has two unique features which makes it standout from the crowd: high quality components and cherry picked GPUs.

Gigabyte makes some sweeping statements about this card. First that it is "13% better performance than sandard[sic] HD 5770." And it states that the card is "4.3% better performance than sandard[sic] GTX 260." We intend to hold Gigabyte's feet to the fire and find out if these statements are accurate.

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Gigabyte HD 5770 Super Overclock

The Super Overclock series of video cards is Gigabyte’s top of the line offering with its own dedicated MicroSite. There you will find information about what makes a Gigabyte card "Super Overclocked" being its ability to make it through the GPU Gauntlet, Gigabyte’s GPU cherry-picking program. The second quality that contributes is its Ultra Durable VGA design which notes the use of 2oz copper PCBs, solid capacitors, tier 1 Samsung/Hynix memory, low RDS (on) MOSFET, and ferrite core \\ metal chokes. It also states the following which we are going to be all to happy to test in our OC/Temp/Power section:

Features & Benefits - GPU Temperature 5%~10% down - Ultra Durable VGA board provides dramatic cooling effect on lowering both GPU and memory temperature by doubling the copper inner layer of PCB. GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA can lower GPU temperature by 5% to 10%.

Overclocking Capability 10%~30% Up - Ultra Durable VGA board reduces voltage ripples in normal and transient state, thus effectively lowers noises and ensures higher overclocking capability. GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA graphic accelerators improve overclocking capability by 10% to 30%.

Power Switching Loss 10%~30% Down - Ultra Durable VGA board allows more bandwidth for electron passage and reduces circuit impedance. The less circuit impedance, the more stable flow of current and can effectively improve power efficiency. GIGABYTE Ultra Durable VGA can lower power switching loss by 10% to 30%.

Going back to Gigabyte’s main site and navigating to the HD 5770 Super Overclock webpage and we find some more specifications, including frequencies, and a couple more things to test out. Obviously this model is "overclocked" and the webpage clearly states that it has a GPU frequency of 900MHz where as a standard HD 5770 has only an 850MHz frequency. The real crux is though that a 50MHz (or 5%) boost in GPU frequency isn’t "Super" to us and no boosted frequencies on the memory makes us even more disappointed. The other thing we were let down by is the complete lack of anything that mentions the unique cooling solution that the HD 5770 Super Overclock has. It is not mentioned on the micro- site, it is not mentioned on the main site, and it is not even mentioned on the box. If it weren’t for the small pictures on web pages you would have never known it until you opened the box. There are a few bad decisions being made here on the design and marketing side of things. The last thing note on the webpage (which has been pulled as of publishing this) is two performance promises that we are going to test out today in our evaluation:

13% better performance than sandard(sic) HD 5770 - 4.3% better performance than sandard(sic) GTX 260

Box Shots

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The marketing team did a solid job on the box however and we only have two gripes about it. First there is no specific mention or picture of the unique cooling solution that comes with this video card. Second there is no mention of the GPU or memory frequencies to make an informed buying decision on, especially since as we have seen above that "Super Overclock" is a relative term.

Now with those complaints out of the way there is tons of information on this box. It starts out slowly on the front with the GPU Gauntlet, Ultra Durable VGA, 3 Year Warranty, and performance logos. On the back though is detailed information about the Super Overclock Series, GPU Gauntlet, and Ultra Durable VGA. The top section is the marketing pitch for the Super Overclock Series. The middle is devoted to GPU Gauntlet which goes over graphs containing Wattage vs. GPU frequencies, fan RPMs vs. GPU temperature, 3DMark scores, and 3DMark power consumption. The latter two graphs being not quite as interesting to us since we find real gameplay testing and FurMark to be a better show of each aspect. The bottom sections details what is in involved with the Ultra Durable VGA program and describes the benefits of each. It also makes the same guarantee as the now missing webpage, 10%-30% overclocking capability, 10%-30% less Power Switching Loss, and 5%-10% lower GPU temperature.

The Video Card Pictures

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Gigabyte is using a seemingly ubiquitous dual slot cooling solution. The heatsink is made out of aluminum and uses four copper heat pipes to distribute the heat. The aluminum however doesn’t relay the majority of heat to the fins. Instead the copper heat pipes, which are in direct contact with the GPU core. The aluminum of the heatsink also looks like it covers some of the memory. However there is contact between the memory and heatsink.

The HD 5770 Super Overclock is 8.25" inches or a quarter of an inch smaller than a reference video card. It uses the standard PCI connector configuration with dual DVI ports stacked on top of each other then the HDMI and DiplayPort on the side. The HD 5770 Super Overclock, like the reference, has one 6-pin both 6-pin auxiliary power connectors coming out the back.

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The back of the Gigabyte HD 5770 Super Overclock was left uncovered and we can see the four bolts that hold down the heatsink. As with the reference HD 5770 we are also able to see the other half of the memory modules. It comes with a User’s Manual, a Driver CD, a DVI to D-Sub adapter, two 2 4-pin to 6-pin power adapter, and a Crossfire bridge.