The Radeon 5000 series of graphics cards were rather recently released by AMD/ATI and for the very first time in a couple of years, AMD/ATI (hereafter referred to as only AMD) is back in the performance lead. NVIDEA will release their next generation of graphics cards rather soon but no date is set and very little information about it has leaked to the press.
Just a couple of weeks back AMD released the 5850 and the 5870 graphics cards which were very well received in reviews and by consumers. I did a review of an Asus 5850 card myself.
Just a couple of weeks later AMD release the HD 5970 which is a dual GPU card with the code name “Hemlock”, a very powerful and expensive card. You can check out reviews at testseek.com on it. Here’s the current lineup from AMD:
I already discussed the news with the Radeon 5000 series in my Asus HD 5850 review so I’m not going to repeat everything again. Suffice to say, the new generation has some new great characteristics. First, the chips are made in the new 40nm technology which promises lower power consumption and less heat. Secondly, the ATI EyeFinity technology makes it possible to connect up to three monitors to each card which means a total of 6 monitors in CrossFireX. Other important characteristics are the ATI Stream (GPU acceleration), Open CL (API for processing in parallel GPU-CPU) and Directx 11 support.
ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS: SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD5750 1GB DDR5
OK, enough is enough; let’s have a look at the specifications of the Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor-X 1GB DDR5:
Sapphire 5750 HD Steam 1GB DDR5
GPU Juniper PRO (Radeon HD 5870)
Stream processors 720
Texture units 36
GPU Speed 710 Mhz (700 Mhz HD 5750)
Memory 1GB GDDR5 (1GB/512MB GDDR5 HD 5750)
Memory speed 4640 Mhz (4600Mhz)
Bus width 128bits
Memory bandwidth 108GB/s
Cooling system Steam, double slot
Connectivity 2 DVI-I
Compatibility with CrossFireX Yes
External power connectors 1 6 x PCI-E of pin
Maximum power consumption 108W (load)/18W (rest)
Supported technologies DirectX 11, DirectX 10.1n, ATI Power Play, ATI Avivo, DXVA 1,0 & 2,0, Open GL 3,2 (G.), Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Audio Masters, ATI Stream, ATI Eyefinity.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: 5750 SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD 1GB DDR5
On the box Sapphire emphasizes the Vapor-X technology and all the new AMD technologies discussed above.
The card is secured in a card board box and enclosed by the usual anti static plastic bag.
The included accessories are: a manual; a CD with drivers and utilities; the application “ArcSoft SimHD”; a coupon to download the Dirt2 game (supports DirectX 11); 2 molex to 6 pin PCIe adapter cables; a DVI-VGA adapter and a CrossFireX bridge.
IN DETAIL: SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD 5750 VAPOR-X 1GB DDR5
The card itself really looks impressive with its massive cooling solution. I have had the chance to see models of the 5750 from quite a few manufacturers and the Sapphire card comes out on top.
The cooling solution occupies a double slot which may be a disadvantage because this card must be rated as a medium range card and many users prefer single slot cards in this segment. AMD/ATI sets the overall rules from which the manufacturers can build their cards and they often leave rather small margins which I guess must be the reason why I have yet to see a 5750 single slot card.
The technology used by the cooling system Vapor-X has its origins in the aerospace industry. The cooling liquid, (in this case water) becomes steam on a hot surface (the GPU) and the resulting steam is condensed when it comes in touch with a colder surface which turns the steam into liquid again and returns to the hot surface again and so the process repeats itself. Sapphire claims that the Vapor-X system is much more effective than the reference cooling system, up to 7 degrees.
In the right hands, less heat means less noise. And this is also another characteristic of the Vapor-X system.
In order to help the Vapor-X system to cool the liquid that circulates in its interior, Sapphire has installed an 80mm fan which is perfectly integrated with the black plastic cover. One of the sides of the plastic cover holds the Sapphire logo which glows blue when the system is running. Check out the image below to see what I’m talking about.
The “Black Diamond” condensers which caused some buzz in the industry are included on this card. The aluminum polymer in these condensers is superior to the one used one in “normal” aluminum condensers. According to Sapphire, these condensers are 25% more energy efficient than normal condensers.
The card has an extra 6 pin PCIe power connector as you can see from the image below.
The 5750 actual has two CrossFireX connections although due to the inefficiency of the Catalyst drivers, it is not recommended to install more than two cards.
The memory units are visible on the PCB of this card. They are four high quality Hynix GDDR5 chips.
There are four video exits on this card, two standard DVI-I; a HDMI and a DisplayPort. This should satisfy the needs of even the most demanding users. The card is only 185 mm long and thus fits in most cases.
These are the components in my test system:
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad 9300 @ 3.245 Ghz
CPU cooler Zalman CNPS9900A LED
Motherboard Gigabyte EP45C-DS3R
Graphics card Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5
Memory OCZ Reaper HPC Ed DDR2 1150 2×2GB (5-6-6-18)
Hard disk Seagate Barracuda 7200,12 500 GB
Power supply Corsair HX850W
Case Cooler Master 690 PURE
Operating system and software
Operating system Windows 7 64bits
System Drivers Catalyst 9.11
DirectX August 2009
Benchmarking software 3D Mark 06
3D Mark Vantage
Unigyne Heaven Benchmark
Games The Last Remnant
Tom Clancy´s Hawx
Street Fighter IV
They reside Evil V
Weak May Cry 4
Stalker Clear Sky
Officers’ Club of Revolutionary Armed Forces Cry 2
Other software CPU-Z 1.49
Here are screen shots of my test system configuration:
Sadly I received this card a little too late to be able to test it on my old test system on which I have made many graphics card tests. This means I will have to comment on the numbers without having any real references to results from old tests. I’ll try to be as objective as possible.
It’s not a secret that AMDs cards often get surprisingly high scores in the FutureMark benchmarking programs (3D Mark 06 and 3D Mark Vantage). And this time was no exception as you can see from the graphs above.
The Unigine tests of the DirectX 10 and Direct 11X was interesting to me because of the results I got with the same tests on the Asus HD5850 card a couple of weeks back. One of the main marketing points of the DirectX 11 is that it is supposed to be much faster than its predecessor. With the HD 5850 I got the opposite results and as you can see from the graphs above, the same goes for the 5750 card. Obviously AMD are having troubles here. Hopefully we will see improvements with the release of new Catalyst drivers.
The performance of the Radeon HD 5750 is spectacular. It is able to maintain a high FPS rate with all the games in this first series. It had no problems when I beefed up the resolution and turned on filters. The fact that it includes 1GB of GDDR5 with a bandwidth of 108 GB/s must be what ultimately keeps the smoothness in the games going even with filters on.
In the second battery of games which includes the most demanding games, the limitations of the HD 5750 comes to light. Although it doesn’t prevent us from enjoying the games altogether, it is clear that this is a mid range card. In favor of HD 5750 it is necessary to say that even the incredibly powerful HD 5850 had some troubles with these games with all the settings at max. Considering that the HD 5850 has double the amount of stream processors compared to the HD5750 it is fair to say that the HD 5750 is a very potent card.
OVERCLOCKING, COOLING AND POWER CONSUMPTION
The release of the HD 5750 brings power to the medium range segment. Up till now, I haven’t said much about its overclocking abilities but reports from other reviews and forums have been positive. Therefore I was very eager to test a HD 5750 card myself and see of the overclocking potential really was as good as I had heard. I cannot deny that I got even happier when I learnt that I would be able to test a HD 5750 with the Vapor-X technology.
Indeed, the overclocking capacity of this card is high. Check out the following screen shots which I obtained without modifying voltages but by only using Catalyst Control Center.
After having tested innumerable combinations, I received a stable configuration at 860 Mhz for the GPU and 1345 MHz for the memories. This means an increase of the default numbers of 23% for the GPU and 17% for the memories (percentages was calculated based on the values for the reference model with 700 MHz for the GPU and 1150 MHz for the memories).
The Vapor-X cooling system obviously does a fantastic job. In the following graph you can see the temperatures when the card is in IDLE and FULL LOAD modes. The IDLE temperatures were measured after the system had been running for half an hour without any load. The FULL LOAD numbers were taken after the system had been in full load (using Furmark 1.7) for a half an hour. The room temperature was 17ËsC.
The Vapor-X technology clearly does a lot to keep the temperatures down. It was a long time ago I saw these low numbers at full load. I say it again; the Vapor-X does a great job.
The noise level is always hard to talk about since it’s a very subjective thing. The fan can be set manually or automatic. During my overclocking the fan was set to regulating itself and it rotated at 50% of the max speed. I think that the noise it made on these levels ware perfectly OK but when it goes above it becomes noticeable and somewhat annoying.