If you made it through all 18 pages of this article covering the AMD Radeon HD 7700 series you should have a pretty good feel for Cape Verde and what these cards are capable of. AMD has developed an affordable graphics card series here that won’t break the bank and still provides you the ability to play today’s newest game titles with many of the bells and whistles enabled. For a mainstream graphics cards in the $99 to $199 price point range, that is pretty much all you can ask for and the AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition and Radeon HD 7750 are both good mainstream gaming cards.
We had high hopes for both the AMD Radeon HD 7770 and the Radeon HD 7750 coming into this review. In some areas the cards meet our expectations and in others we were let down. Let’s break it down for you and explain our reasoning:
The most impressive areas of Cape Verde were without a doubt the series’ power efficiency. AMD has a very efficient design here that doesn’t require much power and therefore doesn’t produce much heat. This leads to power savings, lower temperatures and GPU cooling solutions that don’t make much noise. In fact, the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Black Super Overclocked Edition w/ Double Dissipation was so quiet we needed to go out and buy a better sound meter to properly measure the card! These cards are very quiet and after testing the Radeon HD 5000, 6000 and 7000 series in order we can clearly see that the GPU coolers are improving as time goes on.
That said, we would be lying to you if we didn’t come out and say that we are a little disappointed when it came to the card’s overall performance. The AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition video card is available from $159 and the AMD Radeon HD 7750 starts at $109. This price range is currently flooded with graphics cards and many of the previous generation AMD and NVIDIA cards that were in the $199-$299 price range back in 2009-2010 are now down under $150 and outperform the Radeon HD 7700 series. Examples of this are the AMD Radeon HD 6850 (Barts) and the GeForce GTX 460 1GB (Fermi) that we included in testing. Both cards cost less than $130 and were faster than the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition in the majority of the benchmarks.
We don’t know how long these cards will remain in the market, but for now it makes things tricky. After talking to AMD about the pricing issue we see, we were informed that the AMD Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 are no longer being produced and haven’t been for months. Once the inventory clears out of the retail channel the cards will disappear and the only thing left to buy from AMD at these price points will be the Radeon HD 7700 series. NVIDIA told us they are still producing GeForce GTX 460 cards and that they should be around for some time still. So, right now you can get an AMD Radeon HD 6850 that will outperform the Radeon HD 7770 for less money. The AMD Radeon HD 6850 uses more power, runs hotter, is louder and has less video output options. Tough choices!
Overclocking the AMD Radeon HD 7900 ‘Tahiti’ series of graphics cards was something we enjoyed as those cards have a ton of overclocking potential right out of the box. We hoped to see that with the AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz edition and the Radeon HD 7750, but it appears that AMD didn’t leave much room for fun. The AMD Radeon HD 7770 already comes clocked at 1000MHz, so that in itself is a feat. With more time and some voltage increases, we are sure that we could push the overclock father, but we got the cards Friday afternoon and the article is launching on Valentine’s Day. That gave us four days to complete this article, so overclocking time was extremely limited.
At the end of the day the AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition and the Radeon HD 7750 are both solid mainstream graphics cards. They played all the games we wanted and can easily run games at 1920×1080 resolutions with moderate image quality settings. They will be extremely popular in the months to come and we can easily recommend them to our readers as this card will be the go to series for mainstream gamers. We just wish the last generation cards were gone!
The XFX R7770 Black Edition S Double Dissipation card that we reviewed along with the reference cards today shows the full potential of the Radeon HD 7770 series. For an extra $20 it appears to be well worth it!
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Radeon HD 7770 and Radeon HD 7750 are solid cards, but pricing and a market flooded with mainstream cards makes buying a mainstream video card confusing right now.