|Radeon HD 5770 CrossFireX Performance Scaling|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Tuesday, 24 November 2009|
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Closer Look: Radeon HD5770
The HD 5770 follows the general design of the HD5850 card, only on a slightly smaller scale. The card is only 220 mm long (8.63"), which means it will fit into most any case without an issue. The signature red blower wheel, sourced from Delta is there, pushing air through a finned heatsink block that sits on top of the GPU, and out the back of the card through the small set of vents on the I/O plate. The reference design cooler also provides a large expanse of real estate for ATI's retail partners to display their branding.
The collection of I/O ports on the dual-width rear panel of the card is consistent across the entire HD5xxx family at this point: two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort connector. This doesn't leave much room for the exhaust vents, but if ATI can keep the HD5800 series cool with the same design, the half-size HD5700 series GPU should be fine. The housing is a one-piece plastic affair, and removes easily. The external appearance hints at a simplistic design; it looks like a cover and nothing more. Once we look inside, that impression will be laid to rest.
The far end of the card showcases the new "hood scoop" design that is carried over from the high end ATI cards. They don't feed a lot of air into the blower, but if you look closely at the back side of the fan housing in the image after next, you should see some vents on the back side that do feed air into the center of the squirrel cage blower wheel. So, the HD5770 has an extra trick up its sleeve, compared to the HD58xx series, which use a different blower housing. This provides some ventilation for most of the power supply components located at the far end of the card. Power supply + ventilation is always a good thing. The red racing graphics on the top edge is both decorative and functional, as there are some additional vents molded in there.
Popping off the cover reveals a deceptively simple, ducted heat sink with a copper base and tightly spaced aluminum fins. The blower is thinner than the units in the HD5800 series, but follows the same format. A portion of the duct opens up to the case by way of some vents in the top rail, molded here in red. Clearly, the majority of the air is meant to exhaust through the I/O plate, but it never hurts to have a backup plan.
For most high-end video cards, the cooling system is an integral part of the performance envelope for the card. Make it run cooler, and you can make it run faster is the byword for achieving gaming-class performance from the latest and greatest GPUs. Even though the HD5770 is a mid-range card with a small GPU die size, it's still a gaming product and will be pushed to maximum performance levels by most potential customers. We'll be looking at cooling performance later on, to see how well the cooler design holds up under the strain of GPU overclocks.
The back of the Radeon HD5770 is bare, which is normal for a card in this market segment. The main features to be seen here are the metal cross-brace for the GPU heatsink screws, which are spring loaded, and the four Hynix GDDR5 memory chips on the back side. They are mounted back-to-back with four companion chips on the top side of the board. Together, they make up the full 1GB of memory contained on this card.
Now, let's peek under the covers and have a good look at what's inside the Radeon HD5770.