AMD says it’s finally — finally — broken the 1 GHz chip speed barrier with its new budget-priced AMD Radeon HD 7770 GHz graphics card. But wait, didn’t AMD already announce a 1 GHz GPU record, like three years ago? Note to AMD super-secret chip labs and public relations department: Talk more!
Okay, technically the former (the Radeon HD 4890) was “factory overclocked” and the new card is “reference clocked,” which just means there’s probably more headroom for overclockers in the 7770. AMD says the lower-performing, 75-watt HD 7750, is notable because it doesn’t require a separate power connector.
AMD paper-launched its much higher-end (higher performance by design, but lower-clocked) 7900 series in December 2011, but cards in that lineup typically go for over $500. The 7770, by contrast, goes for $159, while the 7750 goes for $109. So you’re getting 7000-series performance on a shoestring budget, right?
Maybe not. The first batch of reviews from deep-dive tech sites like Anandtech and Tom’s Hardware are complimentary of what AMD’s managed to do with power management (Anandtech says “both the Radeon HD 7750 and Radeon HD 7770 are well ahead of any competing 75W and 100W cards respectively”). But when it comes to price/performance, both sites says these cards leave a lot of be desired. Here’s Anandtech:
The problem for AMD today isn’t the power/performance curve, it’s the price/performance curve. 16 months ago AMD launched the Radeon HD 6850 at $179 amidst fierce competition from NVIDIA. Ignoring the current price of the 6850 for the moment, on average the 7770 delivers 90% of the 6850’s gaming performance for 90% of the 6850’s launch price. In other words in 16 months AMD has moved nowhere along the price/performance curve – if you go by launch prices you’re getting the same amount of performance per dollar today as you did in October of 2010.
Ouch. It’s the same story at DailyTech:
…the inflated pricing of the 7700 series is a major barrier to replicating that success … even versus NVIDIA’s aging 500 series, the 7000 series pricing ranges from disappointing to plain unacceptable.
Based on current pricing, the HD 7770 is at best 15% cheaper than the GTX 560, though some cards are selling for as little as $170, making the HD 7770 only 6% cheaper. Considering those figures, we can’t see how anyone could justify purchasing the HD 7770. Its only redeeming feature is that it consumes nearly 30% less power under load, but most gamers would prefer the extra performance to power savings.
Despite agreeable benchmark results and no issues in the noise or heat departments, we can’t help but feel very disappointed with the HD 7770 1GB. It performs similarly to the HD 6850 1GB (the latter actually beat it in some of our game benchmarks) yet it costs the same as an HD 6870 1GB, which is a far superior piece of kit.