[nextpage title=”Introduction”]

The new Radeon HD 7770 (a.k.a. “Cape Verde XT”) is a mainstream graphics chip based on the latest graphics architecture from AMD, dubbed “Graphics Core Next” or simply “GCN,” which supports the new PCI Express 3.0 connection and the latest DirectX version (11.1). Let’s see how the Super Overclocked Edition from XFX fared in our tests.

For a detailed explanation of the new features present on this latest architecture, please read our Radeon HD 7970 review.

XFX released four different video cards based on the Radeon HD 7770. In the table below, we compare the differences between them. All of them have 1 GB of GDDR5 memory with a 128-bit interface. The “Core Edition” and the “Double Dissipation Edition” use the stock clocks, while the other two models come overclocked.

Model Part Number Core Clock Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Transfer Rate Cooler Price
Core Edition FX-777A-ZNF4 1 GHz 4.5 GHz 72 GB/s One Fan USD 160
Double Dissipation FX-777A-ZDF4 1 GHz 4.5 GHz 72 GB/s Two Fans USD 170
Black Edition FX-777A-ZDB4 1,095 MHz 4.98 GHz 79.68 GB/s Two Fans USD 180
Super Overclocked FX-777A-ZDSC 1.12 GHz 5.2 GHz 83.2 GB/s Two Fans USD 185

In the table below, we compare the main specifications of the video cards included in our review. The prices listed below do not include rebates and are for the models with the clock and memory configurations listed below. Prices were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review, except for the Radeon HD 7770 and the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked, which are the prices advertised by AMD and XFX, respectively.

Video Card Core Clock Shader Clock Memory Clock (Effective) Memory Interface Memory Transfer Rate Memory Shaders DirectX Price
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked 1.12 GHz 1.12 GHz 5.2 GHz 128-bit 83.2 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 640 11.1 USD 185
Radeon HD 7770 1 GHz 1 GHz 4.5 GHz 128-bit 72 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 640 11.1 USD 150
Radeon HD 6850 775 MHz 775 MHz 4 GHz 256-bit 128 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 960 11 USD 140 – 170
GeForce GTX 460 675 MHz 1,350 MHz 3.6 GHz 256-bit 115.2 GB/s 1 GB GDDR5 336 11 USD 140 – 150

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our “AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table” and “NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table” tutorials.

Today, only the LGA2011 Core i7 processors (“Sandy Bridge-E”) have a PCI Express 3.0 controller. In our Radeon HD 7970 review, we discovered that, at this time, there is no difference between using a PCI Express 2.0 or a PCI Express 3.0 connection. Since the reviewed video card is a mainstream product, we decided to use a different testing platform, based on a Core i5-2500K processor.

Now let’s take a complete look at the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition.

[nextpage title=”The XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition”]

Below we have an overall look at the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition. It requires one six-pin auxiliary power connector.

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 1: XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 2: XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition

One of the highlights of this video card is the possibility of connecting up to six video monitors at the same time, which is achieved by using a DisplayPort hub or a DisplayPort monitor that provides daisy-chaining capability. The card provides one DVI-D, one HDMI, and two mini DisplayPort connectors.

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 3: Video connectors

The XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition uses a high-end cooler, with aluminum fins, copper base, and two 75 mm fans. According to the manufacturer, these fans have an anti-dust technology to prevent dust build-up on the fan motor.

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 4: Video card cooler

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 5: Video card cooler

[nextpage title=”The XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition (Cont’d)”]

In Figure 6, you can see the video card with its cooler removed. It uses the AMD reference design. There is a voltage regulator with three phases for the GPU and one phase for the memory chips. The phases for the GPU use ferrite-core coils, but the phase for the memory uses an iron-core coil. All capacitors used on this video card are solid.

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 6: XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 7: The GPU voltage regulator

The reviewed video card uses four Hynix H5GQ2H24MFR-T2C GDDR5 chips, each one storing 2 Gbit of data, making the 1 GB of m
emory available on this video card. Each chip is connected to the GPU through a 32-bit lane, creating the 128-bit datapath that is available. These chips can run up to 5 GHz. On this video card, they are accessed at 5.2 GHz, so they are operating 4% above their official clock rate.

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 8: Memory chips

In Figure 9, you can see all accessories that come with the video card.

XFX R7770 Black EditionFigure 9: Accessories

Before seeing the performance results, let’s recap the main features of this video card.

[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]

The main specifications for the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition include:

  • Graphics chip: Radeon HD 7770 running at 1.12 GHz 
  • Memory: 1 GB GDDR5 memory (128-bit interface) running at 5.2 GHz QDR (Hynix H5GQ2H24MFR-T2C chips)
  • Bus type: PCI Express 3.0 x16
  • Video Connectors: One DVI-D, one HDMI, and two mini DisplayPort
  • Video Capture (VIVO): No
  • Cables and adapters that come with this board: One HDMI-to-DVI, one DVI-to-VGA, and one CrossFireX bridge
  • Number of CDs/DVDs that come with this board: One
  • Games included: None
  • Programs included: None
  • More information: https://xfxforce.com
  • MSRP in the U.S.: USD 185.00

[nextpage title=”How We Tested”]

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

  • Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • Video resolution: 2560×1600 @ 60 Hz

Driver Versions

  • AMD video driver version (Radeon HD 6850): Catalyst 12.1
  • AMD video driver version (Radeon HD 7770): 8.923.2
  • AMD video driver version (XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked): 12.2 Pre Certified
  • NVIDIA video driver version: 285.62
  • Intel Inf driver version: 9.2.0.1030

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

[nextpage title=”StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty “]

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a very popular DirectX 9 game that was released in 2010. Though this game uses an old version of DirectX, the number of textures that can be represented on one screen can push most of the top-end graphics cards to their limits. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty uses its own physics engine that is bound to the CPU and thus does not benefit from PhysX.

We tested this game at 1920×1200. The quality of the game was set to the “extreme” preset. We then used FRAPS to collect the frame rate of a replay on the “Unit Testing” custom map. We used a battle between very large armies to stress the video cards.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty 1920×1200 Difference
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked

79.8

 
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 79.0 1.0%
Radeon HD 6850

76.8

3.9%
Radeon HD 7770

74.3

7.4%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti

63.8

25.1%

[nextpage title=”Far Cry 2″]

Released in 2008, Far Cry 2 is based on a game engine called Dunia, which is DirectX 10. We used the benchmarking utility that comes with this game at 1920×1200, setting overall quality to “high,” adjusting anti-aliasing to “4x,” and running the “Ranch Long” demo three times. The results below are expressed in frames per second and are an arithmetic average of the three results collected.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

FarCry 2 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce GTX 460 1GB

57.8

1.8%
Radeon HD 6850

57.5

1.2%
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked

56.8

 
Radeon HD 7770

53.3

6.6%
GeForce GTX 550
Ti

45.3

25.4%

[nextpage title=”Aliens vs. Predator”]

Aliens vs. Predator is a DirectX 11 game that makes full use of tessellation and advanced shadow rendering. We used the Aliens vs. Predator Benchmark Tool developed by Rebellion. This program reads its configuration from a text file. (Our configuration file can be found here.) We ran this program at 1920×1200, with texture set at “high,” shadows set at “low,” with anisotropic filtering and anti-aliasing disabled.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

Aliens vs. Predator 1920×1200 Difference
Radeon HD 6850

40.3

6.6%
GeForce GTX 460 1GB

38.6

2.1%
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked

37.8

 
Radeon HD 7770

33.8

11.8%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti

27.3

38.5%

[nextpage title=”DiRT3″]

DiRT3 is a DirectX 11 game in which we measured the video cards’ performance by running a race and then playing it back using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920×1200 with image quality set to “high” and with anti-aliasing disabled.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

DiRT3 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 86.4 4.6%
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked 82.6  
Radeon HD 7770 77.4 6.7%
Radeon HD 6850 75.2 9.9%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 67.5 22.4%

[nextpage title=”Deus Ex: Human Revolution”]

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is another DirectX 11 game. We used the in-game introduction to measure the number of frames per second, using FRAPS. We ran the introduction at 1920×1200, configuring image quality settings at “very high” and with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering disabled.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

Deus Ex: Human Revolution 1920×1200 Difference
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked 53.9  
Radeon HD 7770 49.8 8.3%
Radeon HD 6850 48.0 12.4%
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 46.3 16.5%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 43.8 23.2%

[nextpage title=”Battlefield 3″]

Battlefield 3 is the latest installment in the Battlefield franchise released in 2011. It is based on the Frostbite 2 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we walked our way through the first half of the “Operation Swordbreaker” mission, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920×1200, configuring image quality settings at “high” and disabling anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering.

XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked Edition Video Card Review

Battlefield 3 1920×1200 Difference
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked 54.9  
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 53.0 3.6%
Radeon HD 7770 51.8 6.0%
Radeon HD 6850 50.8 8.1%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti 43.6 26.0%

[nextpage title=”3DMark 11 Professional”]

3DMark 11 Professional measures Shader 5.0 (i.e., DirectX 11) performance. We ran this program at 1920×1200, selecting the four graphics tests available and deselecting the other tests available. We used two image quality settings, “entry” and “performance,” both at their default settings. The results being compared are the “GPU Score” achieved by each video card.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

3DMark 11 – Entry 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce GTX 460 1GB

2214

9.6%
Radeon HD 6850

2098

3.9%
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked

2020

 
Radeon HD 7770

1869

8.1%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti

1516

33.2%

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

3DMark 11 – Performance 1920×1200 Difference
GeForce GTX 460 1GB

1845

5.4%
Radeon HD 6850

1792

2.3%
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked

1751

 
Radeon HD 7770

1623

7.9%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti

1255

39.5%

[nextpage title=”Media Espresso 6.5″]

Media Espresso is a video conversion program that uses the graphics processing unit of the video card to speed up the conversion process. We converted a 449 MB, 1920x1080i, 18,884 kbps, MPEG2 video file to a smaller 640×360, H.264, .MPG4 file for viewing on a portable device such as an iPhone or iPod Touch. We also ran this test on our CPU (Core i5-2500K) in order to compare the difference in performance between a mainstream CPU and a mains
tream GPU to transcode video.

XFX R7770 Black Edtion

Media Espresso 6.5 Seconds Difference
XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked

39

 
Radeon HD 7770

41

4.9%
GeForce GTX 460 1GB

46

15.2%
GeForce GTX 550 Ti

50

22.0%
Radeon HD 6850

52

25.0%
Core i5-2500K

67

41.8%

[nextpage title=”Conclusions”]

With its overclocking, the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked was able to be between 6% and 12% faster than the regular Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition, allowing it to get closer to the performance level of its main competitors.

The GeForce GTX 460 with 1 GB was faster than the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked on 3DMark 11 and DiRT3, with this model from XFX being faster than its competitor from NVIDIA on Battlefield 3 and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. On FarCry 2, StarCraft II, and Aliens vs. Predator, both achieved the same performance level.

The Radeon HD 6850 was faster than the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked on 3DMark 11 (Entry profile) and Aliens vs. Predator, with this model from XFX being faster than the Radeon HD 6850 on StarCraft II, DiRT3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Battlefield 3. On 3DMark 11 (Performance profile) and FarCry 2, both achieved the same performance level.

On Media Espresso, the XFX Radeon HD 7770 Super Overclocked was substantially faster than its competitors, with an advantage of 18% over the GeForce GTX 460 with 1 GB and 33% over the Radeon HD 6850. It was also 63% faster than our Core i5-2500K for video transcoding. This shows that the new “GCN” architecture is really optimized for the processing of “regular” programs, as promised by AMD.

The main problem with the reviewed video card from XFX is its price, as it is substantially more expensive than its competitors. It is not a bad video card, but we think that the Radeon HD 6850 and the GeForce GTX 460 with 1 GB provide a far better cost/performance ratio for the average user.