AMD launches HD 7750 and HD 7770 graphics cards

AMD today officially released the Radeon HD 7770 "GHz Edition" and HD 7750 graphics cards. Built on the Cape Verde GPU core, and using the GCN architecture introduced with Tahiti, these are AMD's new entry level discrete graphics cards, and offer a competitive power/performance ratio within their target price range.

Following close behind Tahiti, Cape Verde represents a push toward the entry level market. Charts compiled by AnandTech show that the HD 7700 series cards have a lower power usage than most similarly positioned GPUs, a factor which is important to many mainstream computer users. HD 7750 uses no external power cables, so draws power exclusively from the PCI-E slot, giving it a maximum rated power usage of 75W. HD 7770 has a single 6-pin PCI-E power connector giving a theoretical maximum power usage of 150W, to supply the rated maximum power draw of 100W.

GPUHD7970HD7950HD7770HD7750HD6850HD6770
GPU Clock925 MHz800 MHz1000 MHz800 MHz850 MHz850 MHz
Memory3GB3GB1GB1GB1GB1GB
Memory Clock5.5 GHz5.0 GHz4.5 GHz4.5 GHz4.8 GHz4.8 GHz
Memory Bus384-bit384-bit128-bit128-bit256-bit128-bit
Bandwidth (GB/s)264240727212876.8
Compute Units3228108n/an/a
Texture Units12811240324840
Z/Stencil ROP Units128128646412864
Color ROP Units323216163216
Theoretical Single
Precision Performance
3.79 TFLOPS2.87 TFLOPS1.28 TFLOPS819 GFLOPS1.5 TFLOPS1.36 TFLOPS

As the table above shows, there is a large drop in both compute units and memory bandwidth from Tahiti to Cape Verde. This gap will be filled by the Pitcairn GPU, expected in March, which is rumored to have 22 compute units (HD 7870) and 20 (HD 7850). Also, the theoretical maximum compute power is lower on both cards than either HD6850 or HD6770. So it looks like AMD are trying to fill a wider market segment with less discrete cards from the new GCN architecture. This could be good news for anyone who wants to experience a GCN graphics card but doesn't have the finances to buy a higher performing card.

Other graphics cards at a lower performance level than Cape Verde will use the older Northern Islands GPUs, which are expected to be mostly Turks (HD 6600) and Caicos (HD 6400). These will be the same cores that will be used in Trinity APUs. It is normal practice for AMD to recycle graphics cores at the low end, and only update them every couple of generations, so this is no surprise.

Cape Verde GPUs use the same technologies as Tahiti, including the new Graphics Core Next architecture, ZeroCore Power and PowerTune, all of which make them more efficient with lower power usage. They are built using a 28nm process, which will also be used for Pitcairn GPUs (HD 7800 series).

Cards from various manufacturers, including Sapphire, Powercolor, HIS, XFX, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI, are (or will be) available worldwide, with a starting price of $159 for HD 7770 1GB cards, and $109 for HD 7750 1 GB cards.

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