Sapphire Vapor-X HD 5750 1GB GDDR5 graphics card review
The Radeon 5000 series of graphics cards was recently released by AMD / ATI and for the first time in a couple of years AMD / ATI (hereafter just AMD) is once again in the lead in performance. NVIDEA will release its next generation graphics card fairly soon, but no date has been set and very little information has been leaked to the press.
Just a couple of weeks ago, AMD released the 5850 and 5870 graphics cards, which were very well received by critics and consumers. I did a review of an Asus 5850 card myself.
Just a couple of weeks later, AMD released the HD 5970, which is a dual GPU card codenamed “Hemlock”, a very powerful and expensive card. You can check the reviews on testseek.com about it. Here’s the current AMD lineup:
I already discussed the news with the Radeon 5000 series in my Asus HD 5850 review, so I’m not going to repeat the whole thing again. Suffice it to say, the new generation has some great new features. First, the chips are made with the new 40nm technology that promises lower power consumption and less heat. Second, ATI EyeFinity technology allows you to connect up to three monitors to each card, which means a total of 6 monitors in CrossFireX. Other important features are ATI Stream (GPU acceleration), Open CL (API for GPU-CPU parallel processing) and Directx 11 support.
ENGINEERING SPECIFICATIONS: SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD5750 1GB DDR5
OK, enough is enough; Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor-X 1GB DDR5:
Sapphire 5750 HD Steam 1GB DDR5
Juniper PRO GPU (Radeon HD 5870)
720 stream processors
Texture Units 36
GPU speed 710 Mhz (700 Mhz HD 5750)
Memory 1GB GDDR5 (1GB / 512MB GDDR5 HD 5750)
Memory speed 4640 Mhz (4600 Mhz)
128-bit bus width
Memory bandwidth 108GB / s
Steam cooling system, double slot
2 DVI-I connectivity
CrossFireX Compatibility Yes
External Power Connectors 1 x 6 pin PCI-E
Maximum power consumption 108W (load) / 18W (rest)
Supported technologies DirectX 11, DirectX 10.1n, ATI Power Play, ATI Avivo, DXVA 1.0 and 2.0, Open GL 3.2 (G.), Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Audio Masters, ATI Stream, ATI Eyefinity.
FIRST PRINTS: 5750 SAPPHIRE VAPOR-X HD 1GB DDR5
In the box, Sapphire emphasizes Vapor-X technology and all of the new AMD technologies discussed above.
The card is secured in a cardboard box and enclosed by the usual antistatic plastic bag.
The accessories included are: a manual; a CD with drivers and utilities; the “ArcSoft SimHD” application; a coupon to download the Dirt2 game (DirectX 11 compatible); 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 looks really impressive with its massive cooling solution. I’ve had the opportunity to see models of the 5750 from various manufacturers and the Sapphire card stands out.
The cooling solution occupies a dual slot, which can be a disadvantage because this card should be classified as a mid-range card and many users prefer single slot cards in this segment. AMD / ATI sets the general rules from which manufacturers can build their cards and they often leave pretty small margins, which I suppose must be the reason I haven’t seen a 5750 single slot card yet.
The technology used by the Vapor-X cooling system has its origins in the aerospace industry. The cooling liquid (in this case water) turns to steam on a hot surface (the GPU) and the resulting steam condenses when it comes in contact with a cooler surface which turns the steam back into liquid and returns to the hot surface again and so the process repeats. 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 feature of the Vapor-X system.
To help the Vapor-X system cool down the circulating liquid, Sapphire has installed an 80mm fan that integrates seamlessly with the black plastic cap. One side of the plastic cover has the Sapphire logo that glows blue when the system is running. Look at the image below to see what I’m talking about.
The “Black Diamond” capacitors that caused quite a stir in the industry are included in this card. The aluminum polymer in these capacitors is superior to that used in “normal” aluminum capacitors. According to Sapphire, these capacitors are 25% more energy efficient than normal capacitors.
The card has an additional 6-pin PCIe power connector, as you can see in the image below.
The current 5750 has two CrossFireX connections although due to the inefficiency of the Catalyst controllers, installing more than two cards is not recommended.
The memory units are visible on the PCB of this card. It’s four high-quality Hynix GDDR5 chips.
There are four video outputs on this card, two standard DVI-I; an HDMI and a DisplayPort. This should meet the needs of even the most demanding users. The card is only 185mm long and therefore fits in most cases.
These are the components of my test system:
Intel Core 2 Quad Processor 9300 @ 3,245 Ghz
Zalman CNPS9900A LED CPU Cooler
Gigabyte EP45C-DS3R motherboard
Sapphire HD 5750 Vapor-X 1GB GDDR5 graphics card
Integrated sound card
OCZ Reaper HPC Ed DDR2 1150 2 × 2GB Memory (5-6-6-18)
Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB Hard Drive
Corsair HX850W Power Supply
Case Cooler Master 690 PURE
Operating system and software
Windows 7 64-bit operating system
Catalyst 9.11 System Drivers
DirectX August 2009
3D Mark 06 Benchmarking Software
3D Mark Vantage
Unigyne Heaven Benchmark
The Last Remnant Games
Tom Clancy’s Hawx
Street fighter iv
Evil V reside
Weak can cry 4
Clear Sky Stalker
Shout 2 of the Revolutionary Armed Forces Officers Club
Other software CPU-Z 1.49
Here are screenshots of my test system setup:
Unfortunately I received this card a bit late to be able to test it on my old test system where I did a lot of graphics card testing. This means that I will have to comment out the numbers without having actual references to the previous test results. I will try to be as objective as possible.
It’s no secret that AMD cards often score surprisingly high in FutureMark benchmarking programs (3D Mark 06 and 3D Mark Vantage). And this time it was no exception, as you can see in the graphs above.
The DirectX 10 and Direct 11X Unigine tests were interesting to me due to the results I got from the same tests on the Asus HD5850 card a couple of weeks ago. One of the main marketing points of 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 is true with the 5750 card. Obviously AMD is having trouble here. Hopefully we will see improvements with the release of new Catalyst drivers.
The performance of the Radeon HD 5750 is spectacular. It is capable of maintaining a high FPS rate with all the games in this first series. It had no problems when I increased the resolution and turned on the filters. The fact that it includes 1GB of GDDR5 with a bandwidth of 108GB / s should be what ultimately keeps games smooth even with filters turned on.
In the second battery of games that includes the most demanding games, the limitations of the HD 5750 come to light. Although it does not prevent us from enjoying the games fully, it is clear that it is a mid-range card. In favor of the HD 5750 it is necessary to say that even the incredibly powerful HD 5850 had some problems with these games with all the settings at maximum. Considering that the HD 5850 has twice the number of stream processors compared to the HD5750, it is fair to say that the HD 5750 is a very powerful card.
OVERCLOCKING, COOLING AND ENERGY CONSUMPTION
The launch of the HD 5750 brings power to the mid-range segment. So far, I haven’t said much about its overclocking capabilities, but reports from other reviews and forums have been positive. So I was really looking forward to testing an HD 5750 card and seeing that the overclocking potential really was as good as I had heard. I can’t deny that I was even happier when I learned that I could test an HD 5750 with Vapor-X technology.
In fact, the overclocking ability of this card is high. See the following screenshots I got without modifying the voltages, but only using the Catalyst Control Center.
After trying countless combinations, I received a stable setting at 860Mhz for the GPU and 1345MHz for the memories. This means an increase from the default numbers of 23% for the GPU and 17% for the memories (the percentages were 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 graph below you can see the temperatures when the card is in IDLE and FULL LOAD modes. Idle temperatures were measured after the system had been running for half an hour with no load. The FULL CHARGE numbers were taken after the system was fully charged (using Furmark 1.7) for half an hour. The ambient temperature was 17 ° C.
Vapor-X technology clearly does a lot to keep temperatures low. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen these low numbers under full load. I say it again; the Vapor-X does a great job.
It is always difficult to talk about the noise level, as it is something very subjective. The fan can be set manually or automatically. During my overclocking, the fan was set to regulate itself and was spinning at 50% of maximum speed. I think the noise it made at these levels is perfectly fine, but when it goes up it becomes noticeable and somewhat annoying.