Sapphire Radeon 6770 Vapor-X
We were a bit surprised to hear about the launch of the Radeon 6770, since it came without the usual fanfare we typically see for a new model; this one almost passed us by. The primary reason for this is the card is essentially a rebadged 5770, and AMD’s product map confirms this. So while the 6770 is a new card, it’s not really a "new" card.
In terms of performance, some game titles prefer AMD cards overall and the 6770 Vapor-X moves ahead, some titles prefer Nvidia and the 550 Ti gets the nod. Viewed on the whole, the 6770 Vapor-X lags behind the 550 Ti just a bit, struggling in a few games with the image quality at maximum settings. However, we’ve seen the 6770 Vapor-X run cooler and more power frugal than the 550 Ti as well, so those are a couple distinct advantages in AMD’s favour. On the flipside though, Nvidia has AMD beat when it comes to CUDA, PhysX, and Folding @ Home.
So are there any downsides here? Well, the real issue is the price vs performance results, and what’s available at the different price levels. Retailing for $135, the 6770 Vapor-X is a good deal. But for only $15 more, you can move up to a Radeon 6790 that will soundly beat this model. We have a hard time figuring that for the extra price of a large pizza and a drink, someone can’t afford to jump up to the beefier card. The 6770 is good, but the 6790 is better, offering more bang for your buck at a very modest price increase.
The Sapphire 6770 Vapor-X is a good competitor against the GTX 550 Ti, offering lower temperatures and power consumption, but cannot complete the trifecta with better performance. If you absolutely need to stick to a $135 budget, then the Sapphire Radeon 6770 Vapor-X is a good choice, but spending just a wee bit more cash will get you something noticably better.