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...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...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.