Sapphire Radeon 5770 Vapor-X
Radeon 5000 Series
When AMD made the move from titanic clashes with Nvidia for framerate supremacy, and instead tower better value for consumers’ money, it was a bold but ultimately smart move. It turns out that the market does not support the foolish pursuit of minimal gains for high costs, ones that users will not support from their hard-earned cash. AMD conceded the uber framerates at the top end, instead focusing on top performance for lower prices, and it paid off handsomely with their 4800 series cards.
Continuing that trend, AMD has released their 5000 series cards on 40nm processing, bringing evolutionary development and progress to the masses. But what is most interesting, however, is that AMD has achieved the rare trifecta: top performance, latest technological features, and value for the price. That, my friends, is a very compelling situation for consumers, regardless of how you slice it, no matter if you’re an Nvidia or ATI disciple. We’re bang-for-the-buck fanboys, and getting top performance for bottom dollar makes us drool.
In terms of technological advancements, the 5000 series cards bring DirectX 11 support to the table, along with a substantial increase in raw horsepower across the board. This is, in part, accomplished by GDDR5 memory continued from the previous generation, as well as shaders now coupled in pairs of shader compartments, so to speak, with 800 shaders each (1600 resulting). The diagram below illustrates (admittedly difficult to see the detail) the RV870 Cypress chip essentially doubling the power of the previous RV770 generation chip.
The Sapphire 5770 Vapor-X operates at core and memory clock speeds of 860 MHz (a slight bump up from the stock 850MHz) and 1200 MHz respectively, delivering an impressive 76.8 GB/sec of memory bandwidth. The 5770 is currently viewed as the mid-range or "mainstream" DX11 card by AMD, with the 5750 sitting lower on the performance totem pole as the budget performer. The higher-horsepower or more "enthusiast" cards are then the 5800 series, the 5850 and 5870.
Below is a GPU-Z image of the Sapphire Radeon 5770 Vapor-X:
We can see that the 5770 Vapor-X has a very mild overclock, but nothing to get terribly excited about. The 5770’s closest competitor on the Nvidia side is the GTX 260, a very capable card, but getting a bit long in the tooth and certainly lacking any DX11 capabilities, as well as any die shrink down to 40nm.
Let’s dive in and start to examine the what the 5000 series cards bring in terms of new technology.