I am seeing everyone with 10k budget for GPU going after HD5770. But is it really worth it? Let’s investigate.
First let’s look at the specification of the HD5770 reference card:
1.04 billion 40nm transistors
- 800 Stream Processing Units
- 40 Texture Units
- 64 Z/Stencil ROP Units
- 16 Color ROP Units
- 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
- Engine clock speed: 850 MHz
- Processing power (single precision): 1.36 TeraFLOPS
- Polygon throughput: 850M polygons/sec
- Data fetch rate (32-bit): 136 billion fetches/sec
- Texel fill rate (bilinear filtered): 34 Gigatexels/sec
- Pixel fill rate: 13.6 Gigapixels/sec
- Anti-aliased pixel fill rate: 54.4 Gigasamples/sec
- Memory clock speed: 1.2 GHz
- Memory data rate: 4.8 Gbps
- Memory bandwidth: 76.8 GB/sec
- Maximum board power: 108 Watts
- Idle board power: 18 Watts
The specs are a bit similar to Palit HD4850 Sonic Edition that was released with GDDR5 but then was quickly discontinued due to AMD saying no for these non-reference cards as Palit was not premium partner for ATI graphics.
Though the specs look good, when it comes to real world performance they fall short to give FullHD all eye candy on experience.
Price of HD5770:
When the specs of HD5770 is released, all thought that it is a very good mid-range card that can replace HD4850 and is thought that 8k would be a nice price for the same. But I was shocked to see the price set at 11.5k. The main reason for this are many:
- nVidia is yet to release a directX 11 card
- TSMC facing problem with 40nm fab yield
- DirectX 11 is currently talk of the town and AMD is making good use of it.
DirectX 9 and DirectX 10:
What people are looking at as reasons for buying this card is:
- DX11 Support
- Faster than HD4850
- WIill be better than GTX260/HD4890/HD4870/GTX275 in DX11 games
- 40nm and run cool.
- It is good to have DX11 support but majority of the buyers are going for a FullHD display to use with HD5770. This could be a problem once dx11 games come out.
- Yes. This card is definitely faster than HD4850 and so it’s price should be at 8k.-8.5k which 1k pricier. Putting this at a price higher than that of HD4870 and GTX260 is not fair.
- No. It won’t be a better card to have for playing dx11 games. Though HD5770 supports DX11, DX11 is going to hit hard on performance of the cards. I will talk about this later.
- yes. 40nm means that it runs cooler. But cards like GTX275 and GTX260 aren’t power hungry cards. They just tend to get a bit more hotter but there never was an issue with these cards.
DirectX 9 and 10:
If we take a look at the currently avialable games in DX10, HD5770 is barely hanging there in good zone of 40fps. I am talking about the games that are visually appealing. And from what I see, if you take average of all games, this cards should get to something like 47-48fps.
Now, how can we expect a card that is giving decent fps in dx9/dx10 to give stunning quality in dx11 that everyone is expecting? Dx11 tessalation and PhysX style effect can literally tear this card apart.
Bit-Tech and Tweaktown recently released Dirt 2 benchmark in DX11 card and believe it or not, HD5870 took a 20fps performance drop when run in DX11 and compared to the same in DX9 and around 10 fps drop when moved from DX10 to DX11. We all know how much performance difference that HD5770 has when compared to HD5870. And Dirt2 is just a start to DX11 era. The upcoming games can literally rip these GPUs apart.
When HD5870 is getting such a big performance hit of 10-15fps imagine how much drop in fps HD5770 will see.
In the end, you will end up playing with lower level settings when dx11 games come out. Isn’t it better to play the game with full eye candy on and Physx in DX10 than to compromise on eye candy and play on dx11?
Games with support for DirectX 11:
If we take a look at the number of DirectX 11 games available right now, it’s just 2. And the number of directX 10 games available right now is around 50 and the games that support PhysX is huge. By the end of Q1 2010, we might see a dozen DX11 games but more than 60 DX10 games. We need atleast another 8-9 months to see a handful of DirectX 11 games available in market.
This could be worthy alternative to those who can’t experience DX11 early. Those who were able to play Batman: Arkhan Asylum were stunned by the quality that PhysX brought to the game.
A better way:
Instead of paying 11k premium for this overrated card, why not stick to a decent card like HD4850 or GTX260. This way, by the time DX11 becomes mainstream in gaming market, you will be enjoying games at full resolution and if you go nvidia way, you can take full advantage of PhysX.
Once the DX11 games releases increase, a HD5850 should be avialble for some 11k easily and that would make it a terrific buy and HD5770 itself will go to 7k price point which is the ideal price point. Or you might even get nVidia card that can do DX11 and PhysX, which will be even better deal.
Please do not make a hasty decision by looking at the hype around the card and the price. A 11k card doesn’t always mean that it’s performance will be similar to other cards in that price range. Either up the budget and get HD5850 or stick to GTS250 and hold your horses till DX11 becomes more mainstream. A GTX275 with solid PhysX capabilities is much better than HD5770 with mediocre dx11 capability. Think twice before making a decision.