Value and Conclusion
|8.8||AMD's new Radeon HD 7770 delivers a substantial improvement over the previous generation HD 5770. The HD 6770 was just a HD 5770 with a "6770" sticker slapped on it, so the upgrade has been overdue. Averaged over all our testing we see more than 20% higher performance from the reference clocked HD 7770 vs. the HD 5770. This puts the HD 7770 on the same performance level as NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 460, or a bit below the HD 6850.|
We have seen great overclocking potential from the AMD HD 7900 Series, and the HD 7700 Series is just like it. Overclocking the cards well beyond 1 GHz is quite easy. We reached between 1140 and 1180 MHz on the cards tested today. Memory overclocks well, too, resulting in a total real-life performance improvement of about 15%.
AMD's new generation of graphics processors has great power consumption: below 70W during typical gaming is a first for this performance class. Idle power consumption is also down, at 7 Watts now, which is great for users who spend most of their time with productivity and rarely game. Overall performance per Watt is leading our charts, only to be bested by AMD's other card released today, the HD 7750.
XFX's HD 7770 Black Edition Super Overclock has not only the long name going for it. In our testing it could impress us on all fronts. It comes with the largest overclock out of the box, which results in a nice performance increase without any additional tweaking requirement - great for novice users. XFX's dual fan cooler keeps the card cool without problems, provides good additional overclocking potential and is whisper quiet. I also liked the thick metal plate on the front which gives the card a much more "solid" feel than the plastic used on all other cards. The only drawback is that XFX charges a serious price premium for their card - $179 makes it difficult for the card to compete with other, cheaper, products that have been on the market for a while.
AMD's officially suggested retailer pricing is "starting at $159", so we'll probably see retailers cashing in on these cards with inflated prices, like on the HD 7970 and HD 7950. Even at $159 the cards are way too expensive. They are up against the GTX 460 which is 20$ cheaper and delivers similar performance. HD 6850 ($135) and HD 6870 ($155) are faster, and give you much more bang for your buck, up to 30% more! If you are willing to shop used, you can find HD 5770 cards for well below $100, that have all the same major features and better price/performance, too. It seems that in its lower mid-range segment, the HD 7770 is the most expensive, least money-efficient card. However, I'm confident that AMD has lots of headroom on pricing for future price wars with NVIDIA. In my opinion a fair price for the HD 7770 would be below $130.