Sapphire HD 5770 Flex Edition £152.74

28th Sep 2010 | 10:55

Sapphire HD 5770 Flex Edition

A 5770 with four EyeFinity connectors

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

With four-screen EyeFinity, it's the ultimate 5770 for media centres.

Like:

Good features; Good bundle; Four-screen EyeFinity

Dislike:

Price

Sapphire HD 5770 Flex Edition: Overview

Sapphire's Flex Edition entry into the 5770 fray is as solid and competent as you'd expect from one of the key historical ATI partnerships. It's as roundly well-featured as any other 5770 out there, boasting HDMI, DisplayPort and two DVI-out ports, and the chunky aftermarket cooler is reassuring in its girth.

It's USP, however, is that it supports four output monitors via EyeFinity, while most other 5770s only enable you to use three. That's a nice feature in itself, and if this interests you, you'll be pleased at the inclusion of a DVI-HDMI cable in the bundle.

If you're after a massive piece of four-monitor real-estate to run your apps, or to spread video output around multiple screens throughout the house, then it's an interesting prospect. But that versatility doesn't stretch to multiple-screen gaming, as the benchmarks on the next page highlight.

Sapphire HD 5770 Flex Edition: Benchmarks

We've tested five HD 5770s from the leading manufacturers against each other to see which hits the price/performance sweetspot when it comes to mid-range and high-end gaming. We also cranked the settings up (HDR, Anti-Aliasing, reflections etc) even at middling resolutions, to see just how capable these cards really are.

We then tested each card using the following games and settings:

Heaven 2.1
1900x1200, 8XAA, 16XAS, Extreme Tessalation

Just Cause 2
Mid-range: 1680x1050, 8xAA, 16xAF, High setting
High-end: 1920x1200, 8xAA, 16xAF, High settings

Far Cry 2
Mid-range: 1680x1050, 8xAA, 16xAF, High setting
High-end: 1920x1200, 8xAA, 16xAF, High settings

DiRT2
Mid-range: 1680x1050, 8xAA, 16xAF, High setting
High-end: 1920x1200, 8xAA, 16xAF, High settings

[insert benchmarks table – highlight Sapphire line]


Sapphire HD 5770 Flex Edition: Verdict



Sapphire's HD 5770 is a decent mid-ranger that offers all the benefits the 5000-series family has to offer. As well as exploiting the DX11 effects-suite, it also makes ATI's EyeFinity multi-screen technology a possibility, with the option to attach more screens than the average card.

And that's fine if you're after some kind Adrian Zeidt multi-screen desktop, running apps and movies. But does it have the grunt to play games smoothly at the potentially massive resolutions offered by two, three or even four screens? Not really. The card performs reasonably at mid-range resolutions with high settings, and even makes a fist of it at higher resolutions, but quadruple, triple or even double that number of pixels with extra screens, and this 5770 is going to run out of gaming grunt in pretty short order.

In terms of gaming performance, it's second only to Gigabyte's Super Overclock offering, which makes it a competent gaming card on a single screen, and that's probably due to the extra 50MHz on the GPU over stock cards. In real-world terms, that's a couple of frames per second over the standard 5770 pack.

So it all depends what you're after. This Flex Edition card carries a price premium, even over Gigabyte's Super Overclock, because it carries the physical outputs and bundle components to support four-screen EyeFinity, and this will be a tempting prospect for that minority of people who are looking for a multi-screen setup. Competent gaming performance in the 5770 stable is also nice, but don't expect more than a frame or two a second over the best on offer.




We liked

The Sapphire HD5770 offers performance comparative to the best of the 5770s. It's quiet, efficient, and is as well-featured as the category gets. We also liked the inclusion of a DVI-to-HDMI cable in the box, and the fact that this is the only 5770 to offer four-screen EyeFinity.

We disliked

It's hard to justify the price premium

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