With 4770 series, ATI introduced GDDR5 to mid range graphics cards, and with 57XX series that tradition is continued in form of 1GB GDDR3 memory present on 5770 and 5750. Thanks to this feature, even higher resolutions shouldn’t be too much of a trouble problem for these models. It is obvious that ATI had to differentiate mid from high range graphics cards, and, unfortunately, they narrowed memory bus from 256-bit to 128-bit. With 4770 and 4850 models was the same case, but performance differences were smaller since 4850 had GDDR3 while 4770 model had GDDR5. With new series, both cards have GDDR5 so we can expect bigger performance differences. This move by ATI is understandable if we count in the whole story and the price tag for 57XX that should be around 120€ up to 150€. Except narrower memory bus, 57XX has less ROP, texturing and shader units. Model 5850 has 256-bit memory bus and with lower price than 5870, it is expected that it will become best buy in high range. All tests were conducted under Windows 7 64-bit. The rest of test configurations consists of: Core i7 overclocked at 3.4GHz and 6GB DDR3 memory at 1360MHz, since we didn’t want our CPU to become bottleneck. Benchmarks were run in DirectX 10 mode were it was possible, while BattleForge was run in DirectX 11 mode. We used latest 9.10 RC drivers (8.660) so slightly elevated scores should be expected once official drivers are available. ATI stated that new series has lover power consumption, especially in IDLE, so we paid extra attention on those results.
This card arrived in our test lab in rather Spartan packaging, which included graphics card (obviously), disc with drivers, short manual and DVI/D-Sub adapter. Since its price will be low, this shouldn’t surprise you, but absence of PCI-e 6-pin power adapter can be a problem for owners of older/weaker power supply units. There are two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort, which is absolutely enough and expected from this series. Cooling solution is signed by Arctic Cooling (Accelero L2 PRO) which offers nice cooling performances. This cooler maintained low GPU temperature and low noise levels during all test, so if you plan to build quiet rig this should be important. It is obvious that 128-bit memory bus influenced results in high resolution.
Since amount of ROP units is also lowered, lower results in 1920x1080 with AA and AF shouldn’t surprise you, except in case of DX9 games like X3 Terrain Conflict. Even in these resolutions games had decent fps so gaming on this card is possible and can be enjoyable experience. If you plan to play extra demanding games like Crysis in high settings and 1680x1050, some problems will occur. This card can be perfect for users on a tight budget or as upgrade solution for owners of 2XXX or 3XXX models.
This card came in slightly “richer” packaging, and besides usual accessories, there were two DVI/D-Sub convertors, CrossFire bridge and BattleForge game. This model also came without PCI-e 6-pin power convertor. This time PowerColor decided to leave default cooling system, but for some reason we noticed that plastic quality was lower than on, also default, Sapphire 5850 cooling profile.
During testing this card also didn’t reach high temperatures, but was accompanied with higher noise levels than 5750 model. Also similarly to 5750 model, performances in higher resolutions and AA and AF modes were lower. Compared to 5750, 5770 has for 15-20% higher scores overall, while price tag is higher for around 30€, which makes this card good choice for users with slightly bigger budget. BattleForge is just another additional bonus.
And the star of the tonight show is before us, in nice retail package that includes Dirt2 coupon besides all usual accessories. With price tag much lower than 5870 and performances at similar level, this presents the best buy in higher mid range. Games will be playable in high resolutions with performance levels higher even than overclocked 4890, especially when AA and AF are used. Low temperatures, low power consumption and of course DX11 support are important features.
However, even with this card Crysis in 1920x1080 with settings set at high, did experience a lot of problems when it comes to sudden fps drops. Noise levels are little bit higher than 5750 model but still very low, so for users that do need silent configuration it will be good choice.
Another card with referent cooling system, just like previous two models. In package are included disc with drivers, manual, DVI/D-Sub converter, Crossfire bridge and 2 PCIe 6-pin power adapters. For users that need ultimate performances regardless of price this is the only choice. Before you buy this card, you should check if it can be mounted into your chassis. All games, except Crysis, can be played in high resolutions with maximum settings, accompanied with enabled AA and AF set at highest values.
As you noticed, there is graph with power consumption. We installed one of the cards in a motherboard with integrated graphics card and measured its power consumption in IDLE and FULL state along with power consumption of motherboard without discrete graphics card. Then this card was used on test rig so we can get power consumption of benchmarked graphics cards. Of course FULL LOAD was achieved with 3D synthetic tests along with games in highest resolutions and with AA and AF set at highest levels. There are applications and benchmarks that can produce even greater load on graphics card and GPUs (such as Furmark for example) but those results won’t be real. Results that we got are the values that you can expect real configurations.
Some of the games that we used in this review does not support 16xAF mode so we conducted test without that mode (marked with 0xAF). There are hacks that can activate this AF mod, or by forcing this mode in drivers, but most of the users won’t go that far and simply run test with settings available in game. Therefore, we did the same.
And there you have it – all DirectX 11 graphics cards at this moment. NVIDIA does not have any card in this category, neither has anything announced. When it comes to power consumption at IDLE, we don’t know how ATI accomplished their levels, but we cannot confirm those. Don’t get us wrong, those levels are higher than those that ATI published, but still compared to previous generations, very low. This will have positive impact on your electricity bill, but more importantly on temperature inside your chassis. As we mentioned, for now Best Buy Award goes to Sapphire Radeon 5850 because of great price/performance ratio. When it comes to 57XX series our humble opinion is that just narrower memory bus was enough, without lower count of ROP, texturing and shader units. In this form, 57XX does not look as impressive as 5850 models.
On the other side, series 57XX offers accessible DX11 compatibility and good performances. Of course, 5770 model is the one that we can suggest from these two budget models, as better solution compared to 5750. ATI Radeon 5850 and 5870 are for users with larger budgets. ATI Radeon 5850 has very good performances, but if you don’t want to be bothered with in-game settings and can afford it – go for ATI Radeon 5870.