Radeon HD 5770 And 5750 Review: Gentlemen, Start Your HTPCs


The last 30 days have seen a ton of new technology, from Intel’s Lynnfield-based Core i5 and Core i7 processors (which we reviewed here, tested in a number of different games with CrossFire and SLI setups here, and measured the effect of integrated PCI Express 2.0 right here) to ATI’s Cypress graphics processor (manifest through the Radeon HD 5870 and Radeon HD 5850). Between those launch stories, I’ve run thousands of benchmark numbers and written tens of thousands of words. Thus, when I sat down to write this Radeon HD 5770/5750 review (after running another 500+ tests), I had to mix it up a bit and have a little fun with the intro. Feel free to read while listening to Biz Markie’s Just A Friend.

Have you ever seen a card that you wanted to buy?
Killer performance, but a price sky-high?
Let me tell you a story of my situation;
I game on PCs, forget Playstation.
The tech that I like is really high-end.
But I gotta get by with a couple Benjamins.
I upgrade once a year, whenever I can.
Processors, hard drives, graphics cards, RAM.
i7 looked great; I bought i5.
Now it’s time for new graphics; make my games look live.
I know of Nvidia; I know ATI.
So many boards between ‘em, makes me want to cry.G92’s been around
, and that’s a fact.Couldn’t find 740
; that launch was whack.
But I’ve pulled out my wallet out and I’m ready to buy.
I want something new; no shrunken die.Read Chris’ Cypress story
; that card looked hot
If I had four bones, it’d already be bought.

Come onnnnnn, I can’t even afford that.
I’m looking for something under $200, man.

And here’s where ATI chimes in…

We’ve…we’ve got what you need. And you say you have $160 to spend?
And you say you have $160 to spend? Oh gamer…
We’ve…we’ve got what you need. And you say you have $160 to spend?
And you say you have $160 to spend? Oh gamer…
We’ve…we’ve got what you need. And you say you have $160 to spend?
And you say you have $160 to spend?

Last Year’s Flagship Is This Year’s Mid-Range

Meet the Radeon HD 5770...

If the Radeon HD 5870 was characterized by roughly twice the computing resources as Radeon HD 4870, then the Radeon HD 5770 represents a halving of Radeon HD 5870. You’d think that’d yield something that looks a lot like the Radeon HD 4870 to which you’re already accustomed—and you’d be close to correct.

The Radeon HD 4870 is based on ATI’s 55nm RV770, sporting 956 million transistors on a 260 square millimeter die. It boasts 800 ALUs (shader processors), 40 texture units, a 256-bit memory interface armed with GDDR5 memory (cranking out 115.2 GB/s), and a depth/stencil rate of 64 pixels per clock.

...and the Radeon HD 5750

In contrast, ATI’s 40nm Juniper GPU is made up of 1.04 billion transistors. It also wields 800 shader processors, 40 texture units, and a depth/stencil rate of 64 pixels per clock. But its memory interface, being a halved version of Cypress,’ is only 128-bits wide. Nevertheless, ATI arms it with GDDR5 memory able to move up to 76.8 GB/s.

Right off the bat, we knew that this was going to be a very tough comparison—not only between ATI and Nvidia, but also between ATI and its own lineup of products. Yes, both of these new cards leverage DirectX 11 support. They both offer three digital display outputs split between DVI, HDMI, and DisplayPort connectors. And the pair is able to bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio from your home theater PC to your compatible receiver via HDMI 1.3, too.

But with specs that look roughly on par with the Radeon HD 4870 and Radeon HD 4770, anyone who recently purchased one of those previous-generation boards is bound to feel smug about the performance we see in this write-up—at least until DirectX 11 applications start emerging in greater numbers.

So, what’s the verdict? Is the Radeon HD 5770 worth paying $160 for amongst $145 Radeon HD 4870s? Is the 1GB Radeon HD 5750 worth its $129 price tag in comparison to the $120 Radeon HD 4770 (with 512MB) or even Nvidia’s GeForce GTS 250 at a similar price? Let’s dig into the speeds, feeds, numbers, and multimedia tests for more.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • Summer Leigh Castle
    Can we BOLD or change the color of the card that's being reviewed?
  • masterjaw
    Nice one, but the charts are a bit cluttered without giving emphasis on the featured cards (bold fonts, etc). A media card that could do games pretty good.

    I'm quite agree with the nvidia's G92 still hanging around but looking at their newly released cards (gt220, 210), I don't know what to say anymore. Hopefully, they're making the right choices at the right time.
  • megamanx00
    Looks to me like the 5770 really needs faster memory speeds, though that would defeat trying to make it cheaper, and perhaps a higher core clock. Perhaps we'll see some factory overclocked cards with memory that can reach a significantly higher speed.
  • JohnnyLucky
    Power consumption, temperature, and noise levels are very encouraging. I just finished reading other reviews where the 5700 cards are described as mid-level and mainstream cards.
  • buzznut
    If I was building today (htpc), I would still go with a HD4670. Who knows six months from now...
    Those other features are compelling. If I could afford 2 more monitors that is.
  • cangelini
    Summer Leigh CastleCan we BOLD or change the color of the card that's being reviewed?
    For sure--I've looked into this and would be happy to implement, but haven't had much luck. Any Excel gurus able to get only certain axis labels bolded without changing the entire series?
  • noob2222
    and bitstreaming HD audio in an HTPC (a reason to buy a second card for the living room).

    Personally I use my main computer as my HTPC, after all, I can't play games and watch movies from 2 different rooms at the same time, and all it takes is the HDMI cable (at least until they make it wireless.)
  • cangelini
    That works as well. But for someone with a triple-head setup *and* an HTPC, I can justify both usage models.
  • lashabane
    I'm looking to upgrade from my dated 3850 and was thinking that these would really impress me for the price. I'm thinking I'll just spend the bit extra and get the 5850 when the prices come down.

    Of course, I wouldn't have been able to make such an informed decision so early if it weren't for TH and columnists such as yourself.

    Thanks for another great article Chris.
  • ambientmf
    What's the benefit of DirectX 11 capabilities if the cards are worse performing than last gen cards in DX9/10 games? I'd rather get a 4800 series card, being a gamer myself, for slightly better framerates.
    I can see the other benefits for the hardcore HTPC crowd though.