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The graphics card industry has undergone more than a few changes in the first half of 2011, including a branding shift within AMD itself. At the end of April, the manufacturer announced plans to introduce an updated version of their popular HD 5770 and HD5750. That upgrade has us today taking a look at the HD6770. In this case we will be taking a look at Sapphires FleX version of the card. Some of you may remember that we took a look at the HD5770 FleX last August, along with just about every other FleX model in between. The HD5770 FleX was given our Editors Choice; will its replacement do the same? In order to do that the HD6770 will still have to maintain a great price to performance ratio, something that may be hard to do with all of the great competition.

Product Name: Radeon HD 6770 Flex Edition

Review Sample Provided by: Sapphire

Review by: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Specifications

Specification
Output 1xDual-Link DVI
1xHDMI 1.4a
1xDisplayPort
1xSingle-Link DVI-D
GPU 850MHz Core Clock
40nm Chip
800x Stream Processors
Memory 1024MB Size
128-bit GDDR5
4800MHz Effective
Software Driver CD
1x Dirt®3 Coupon
Accessory DVI to VGA Adapter
6 PIN to 4 PIN Power Cable
HDMI to SL-DVI Adapter


Packaging
If you're one hoping that the HD 6770 is similar to the 5770, Sapphire's packing will give you high hopes. The box for the 6770 FleX edition is almost identical to that of the 5770 FleX, give or take a few badges and orientation. Among a few buttons proclaiming the main features of the card, a reference box explains to consumers exactly what makes the fleX edition special. We, however, will make you wait until the Performance section of the review.

6770flex_1

On the reverse side are further details about the card and features, as well as a list of included accessories. At the bottom, consumers can see an impressive collection of awards the company has earned throughout the years, though I can't help but feel it's missing a pretty big one...

6770flex_2

The containing box slides out of the art sleeve, revealing the driver software and paperwork resting on top of a static-protectant bubble-wrap bag. Removing the cushioned card will allow the DVI-to-HDMI cable, DVI-to-VGA adapter, and 6-pin Molex connector to once again see the light of day.

6770flex_4

6770flex_13

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Board Layout
Cooling is addressed with Sapphire's typical combination of heatsink and central fan encased in a plastic shroud to channel the hot air through a half-vent on the double-PCI slot. Although similar in design to what we typically see in a reference card, this heatsink is of Sapphires design and different than the HD6770's reference cooler.

6770flex_8

6770flex_7 

Under this vent you will find a black single-link DVI port, neighboring a white dual-link DVI port, which simply provides more bandwidth if needed. Above the DVI ports are a full HDMI port, and a DisplayPort. Again, this PCI layout is identical to that of the Sapphire HD 5770 FleX.

6770flex_10

The HD 6770 is powered by a single 6-pin, position at the top right corner between the PCB and the shroud. Sapphire has ensured compatibility with PSU's by including a molex power adapter, just in case your unit is out or without the pins needed.

6770flex_9

The back of the board is a clean blue PCB which allows us a little better view at the connections to both the motherboard PCI-e and CrossFire bridge, which is placed in the typical left-hand corner of the card.

6770flex_12



5770 to 6770
Though the majority of the HD 6xxx series features the Northern Island family of graphic processing units, both the HD 6770 and 6750 continue to use the Evergreen-based Juniper cores. As hinted at previously, this makes the HD 5770 and 6770 very, very similar. In fact, it's not just Sapphire's packaging that is identical; specs for the OEM card such as Stream Processors, Core Clock, memory clock, number of transistors, and texture units are all the same between the two cards.

57705750specs

Sapphire's FleX edition of both the 5770 and 6770 tells the same story. Both features a 850MHz core clock speed, 40nm chip, and 800x Stream Processors., with a 1024MB and 48000MHz memory speed.

So, what's with the repackaging? One of the main reasons is the discontinuing of the ATI brand. The Northern Islands GPU family marked the official end of the ATI brand, with the 5770/5750 still competitive but missing the new graphic logo of AMD graphics. The HD 6770 can now be issued with the correct AMD logo, though ironically our test sample still features an ATI Premium Graphics badge.

Another reason is support for HDMI 1.4a, which was released early this year in March. While HDMI 1.4 support stereoscopic 3D, formats were intentionally excluded until the ultimate fate of 3D could be determined (this was in 2009). The 67xx is now on par with the rest of the 6xxx Northern Island cards, supporting frame packing and resolution through 1.4a. In addition, an improvement to the Unified Video Decoder (UVD) allows for a more expansive decoding of resolutions and bitrates, especially for Blu-Ray 3D technology.

hdmi1.4a

uvd3



Our Test Rig

Intel i7 930 CPU Running at 2.8 (Stock)

Gigabyte X58A-UD5 Motherboard

Patriot Sector 7 Ram Triple Channel

Seagate Constellation 2tb Hard drive

Cogage True Spirit

Cooler Master Gold Series 1200 Watt PSU

https://www.highspeedpc.com/Test Bench



Our Testing Procedure
All of our in game performance testing was run at 1920x1080, you can see the exact settings below. Here are the details for each of our tests.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 (1920x1080 – high settings, first scene starting after the cut scene, recorded using fraps)

Call Of Duty Black Ops (1920x1080 – high settings, first scene starting after the cut scene, recorded using fraps)

Dirt 2 (1920x1080 – 4x MSAA – high settings, in-game benchmark)

Dirt 3 (192x1080 - 4xMSAA - high settings, in-game benchmark)
Mafia 2 (built-in benchmark, 1920x1080, PhysX on, high settings)

Metro 2033 DX11 test (built-in benchmark, 1920 x 1080; DirectX: DirectX 11; Quality: Very High; Antialiasing: MSAA 4X; Texture filtering: AF 4X; Advanced PhysX: Enabled; Tessellation: Enabled; DOF: Disabled)

Metro 2033 DX10 test (built-in benchmark, 1920 x 1080; DirectX: DirectX 10; Quality: Very High; Antialiasing: MSAA 4X; Texture filtering: AF 4X; Advanced PhysX: Enabled; Tessellation: Enabled; DOF: Disabled)

Total War: Shogun 2

Synthetic Benchmarks For video cards our synthetic benchmarks are limited to 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark Vantage 2011. 3DMark Vantage is run with PPU turned off with results from both the performance and high settings. In 3DMark Vantage 2011 we run both performance and extreme benchmarks



Performance

Similar to the 5770 FleX edition, Sapphire has crafted their HD 6770 to support triple-monitor set-ups without using an Active Adapter. This means that using the included DVI adapter, and the two DVI ports built into the card, you can equip your rig with three monitors. This also means that if you do have an active adapter for the DisplayPort, you can use up to four monitors! What does that mean for you? 5760 x 1080 gaming! Although admittedly if you plan on running any REALLY intensive games you should look at the HD 6870 FleX or HD 6950 FleX, or if you are extremely picky, either in Crossfire.

As for our experience with the HD 6770 FleX on a more standard resolution of 1920 x 1080, here are our results.

vantgeperf

vantagehigh

3dmark11_perfgraph

 bfbc2

blackops

dirt2

dirt3

metrod10

metrod11

shogun2

Our results show the HD 6770 coming in just above the HD 5770 in all of our tests. This small difference in most cases can be attributed to improvments in AMD's drivers over the past year. Thats not to say that this isn't a great card, its performance is still more than enough to play any game on the market. If you are planning on playing a few of the more graphic intensive games you will have to turn the settings down slightly for playable framerates, but as a budget card this is to be expected.

As for our testing beyond the HD 6770 Flex's in game performance. The HD 6770 performs well under pressure, keeping stable and cool. The fan does emit a quiet hum which is easy for me to notice when equipped on an open-air test bench, but unless you have super quiet case fans, you're not likely to hear it at all. All of this performance is spot on to our experience with the HD 6770's twin long lost brother, a card that we still use to this day in our Shuttle.



Overall
The HD6770 FleX edition performed on par and above with its 5770 predecessor, and includes the support features that made the card so valuable, plus a few upgrades to the BIOS otherwise exclusive to the Northern Island GPU's. Any rational consumer will share the concern that perhaps AMD will take the opportunity to squeeze a few extra dollars because of a new package. Rest assured, the HD6770 FleX from Sapphire is right on target with the pricepoint of the 5770, and in fact is five dollars cheaper through a rebate from Newegg.com. Granted, we have seen any of the specials that made the 5770 such an amazing value yet, but given a little time to settle, you're likely to be able to pick up a second for a heck of a bargain.

hd6770fvrecomended 

Author Bio
Lersar
Author: Lersar
Contributing Editor / Event Staff
Adam is a big proponent of LAN parties, esports and speed-running, and helps organize our semi-annual LAN events. He has covered hardware and software reviews of a wide variety, but most content these days come from event coverage, such as other LAN parties.

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