Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition Review

AMD. They seemed more focused on announcing that they had released the first graphics card at a ’1 GHZ clock speed’ while failing to highlight that they had stripped out a substantial amount of stream processors.
The reduction from 800 shaders on the HD6770 to 640 on the HD7770 and 512 on the HD7750 caused a substantial performance hit for the new hardware, and the higher clock speeds only helped to counter the reduced processing performance. Today however we have finally an interesting product for review, the passively cooled HD7750 Ultimate Edition from Sapphire.
The Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition doesn’t magically fix our AMD Cape Verde hardware concerns. It still has a measly 512 unified shaders and the clock speeds are no better than the reference card, running at 800mhz core and 1125mhz memory. The Ultimate Edition is still connected to a narrow 128 bit bus and it only has 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
It does however hold a key selling point which goes some way to redress the hardware limitations. It has no fan …. and is therefore completely silent.
I have always loved the Sapphire Ultimate Edition hardware. I still use the Sapphire HD5670 Ultimate Edition in a media center I have positioned in my living room. It has worked flawlessly for almost two years now, 24/7 and helps ensure that my media center doesn’t even generate a whisper of a noise.
How far has the technology advanced in two years since we reviewed the passively cooled HD5670 Ultimate Edition from Sapphire?
Above left, an overview of Sapphire’s passively cooled Ultimate Edition HD5670 from 2010. This card only had 400 unified shaders, compared to 512 on the Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition, above right. Both cards have 16 ROPs and 1GB of GDDR5 memory connected via 128 bit memory interface. The HD7750 is clocked faster and is built around the latest 28nm manufacturing process with PCI E 3.0 compatibility. The transistor count in two years has jumped from 627 million to 1.5 billion.
Is this a good time to update your media card?
What better an image to use for a silent, passively cooled card? Sapphire have held with their tradition of rendering women for the front of the box. This time they have opted for a stealthy ninja woman. You can bet that under that face mask she is quite the stunner.
The bundle is good. Sapphire include a software/driver disc, video output converter cables and literature on the product.
Mean and lean. The passive cooler has been overhauled since the HD5670 days, featured rear mounted heatsinks and two thick heatpipes running from the core into racks of aluminum fins.
A warning sticker highlights the stupidity of touching the card when it is in use. The heatsink is sure to get hot as it transfers heat from the core across the surface area. This cooler won’t expel heat outside the case either, so good chassis air flow is a must.
If you have a habit of opening your PC case when it is on and grabbing the graphics card when it is plugged into the slot then you might end up burning your fingers. Some might also say you would be an idiot.
The Ultimate Edition doesn’t require a PCI E power connector, taking enough power directly from the PCI E slot. This card has a full sized HDMI and Displayport connector, next to a single DVI port. The XFX HD7750 DD we reviewed in February had two DVI ports.
Sapphire have removed the Crossfire connector on this card. It would be useless anyway as the heatsink is designed to overflow behind the card, along the top of the PCB, covering this area.
On this page we present some super high resolution images of the product taken with the 24.5MP Nikon D3X camera and 24-70mm ED lens. These will take much longer to open due to the dimensions, especially on slower connections. If you use these pictures on another site or publication, please credit as the owner/source. You can right click and ‘save as’ to your computer to view later.
To test today we are using our long standing Core i7 970 system, which is overclocked. We have a variety of hardware benchmarked on this system within the last couple of months which will make for an interesting market comparison.
Main Test System:
: Core i7 970 @ 4.6ghz
Graphics: Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition
Cooling: Coolit Vantage
Motherboard: MSI X58A-GD65
Chassis: Thermaltake Level 10 GT
Power Supply: Corsair AX1200
Memory: 6GB ADATA @ 2133mhz 9-10-9-32
Storage: Kingston SSDNow V+ 512GB Gen 2 SSD (Storage) / Crucial RealSSD C300 256GB (OS boot)
Comparison Cards:
HD6990 (880 core)
Sapphire HD7770 1GHZ OC Edition
XFX HD7770 Black Edition S CFx
HD7770 CFx
GTX590 SLi
GTX580 SLi
Monitors: Dell U3011
Windows 7 Enterprise 64 bit
Unigine Heaven Benchmark
3DMark Vantage
3DMark 11
Fraps Professional
Steam Client
Alien V Predator
Dead Island
Tom Clancy HAWX 2
Resident Evil 5
Far Cry 2
F1 2011
All the latest BIOS updates and drivers are used during testing. We perform generally under real world conditions, meaning KitGuru tests games across five closely matched runs and then average out the results to get an accurate median figure. If we use scripted benchmarks, they are mentioned on the relevant page.
Some game descriptions are edited from Wikipedia.
Unigine provides an interesting way to test hardware. It can be easily adapted to various projects due to its elaborated software design and flexible toolset. A lot of their customers claim that they have never seen such extremely-effective code, which is so easy to understand.
Heaven Benchmark is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on advanced Unigine engine from Unigine Corp. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. Interactive mode provides emerging experience of exploring the intricate world of steampunk.
Efficient and well-architected framework makes Unigine highly scalable:
  • Multiple API (DirectX 9 / DirectX 10 / DirectX 11 / OpenGL) render
  • Cross-platform: MS Windows (XP, Vista, Windows 7) / Linux
  • Full support of 32bit and 64bit systems
  • Multicore CPU support
  • Little / big endian support (ready for game consoles)
  • Powerful C++ API
  • Comprehensive performance profiling system
  • Flexible XML-based data structures
We use the following settings: 1920×1080 resolution. Anti Aliasing off. Anisotrophy 4, Tessellation normal. Shaders High. Stereo 3D disabled. API: Direct X 11.
Even though the AMD 7 series hardware has improved tessellation performance the HD7750 struggles with 512 shaders and a 128 bit bus. The performance isn’t wonderful at these settings, averaging 26.5 frames per second, and dropping to just under 16 frames per second.
Futuremark released 3DMark Vantage, on April 28, 2008. It is a benchmark based upon DirectX 10, and therefore will only run under Windows Vista (Service Pack 1 is stated as a requirement) and Windows 7. This is the first edition where the feature-restricted, free of charge version could not be used any number of times. 1280×1024 resolution was used with performance settings.
The Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition scores under 10,000 in this test, just above the HD6770. The HD6790 by comparison scores almost 12,000 points.
3DMark 11 is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista the benchmark includes six all new benchmark tests that make extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.
After running the tests 3DMark gives your system a score with larger numbers indicating better performance. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.
If you want to learn more about this benchmark, or to buy it yourself, head over to this page.
The HD7750 struggles to beat the last generation HD6770 in this Direct X 11 benchmark, losing out by around 100 points. This highlights the problem when lowering the stream processors from 800 to 640, regardless of the clock speed.
HQV Benchmark 2.0 is an updated version of the original tool and it consists of various video clips and test patterns which are designed to evalute motion correction, de-interlacing, decoding, noise reduction, detail enhancement and film cadence detection.
There are two versions of the program, standard definition on DVD and high definition on Bluray. As our audience will be concentrating on HD content so will we.
This has a total of 39 video tests which is increased from 23 in the original and the scoring is also up from a total of 130 to 210. As hardware and software gets more complicated, the software has been tuned to make sure we can thoroughly maximise our analysis.
Read our initial analysis over here
Sapphire HD7750 UE
Dial with static pattern5
Gray Bars5
Stadium 2:25
Stadium 3:25
Horizontal Text Scroll5
Vertical Text Scroll5
Transition to 3:2 Lock5
Transition to 2:2 Lock0
2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCAM Video
2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video
3:2:3:2:2 24 FOS Vari-Speed
5:5 FPS Animation
6:4 12 FPS Animation
8:7 8 FPS Animation
Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)
Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)
Random Noise: Sailboat
Random Noise: Flower
Random Noise: Sunrise
Random Noise: Harbour Night
Scrolling Text
Roller Coaster
Ferris Wheel
Bridge Traffic
Text Pattern/ Scrolling Text
Roller Coaster
Ferris Wheel
Bridge Traffic
Luminance Frequency Bands
Chrominance Frequency Bands
Vanishing Text5
Resolution Enhancement
Theme Park
Ferris Wheel
Skin Tones
A score of 196 points is class leading right now, the ideal solution for high definition media playback on a big screen.
F1 2011 is the newest Direct X 11 racing game from industry pioneers CodeMasters. The 2011 Formula One season is the 62nd FIA Formula One season. The original calendar consisted of twenty rounds, including the inaugural running of the Indian Grand Prix before the cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Pirelli returns to the sport as tyre supplier for all teams, taking over from Bridgestone. Red Bull Racing are the reigning Constructor’s Champions. Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel is the defending Drivers’ Champion, one of five World Champions appearing on the grid.
Even though the HD7750 Ultimate Edition is close to the bottom of this performance chart we can see that the card actually manages to maintain playable frame rates at 1080p, with demanding settings. The HD6770 suffers from a lower minimum frame rate which causes in game stuttering.
Homefront’s PC version was developed by Digital Extremes, a Canadian developer responsible for numerous Unreal Tournament games and Bioshock ports. It received mixed reports, although Kitguru really likes the single player aspect of this title. The engine isn’t the most demanding on the market, but it requires decent partnering hardware for solid frame rates at 1080p.
The Sapphire HD7750 struggles to maintain playable frame rates at 1080p, meaning the image quality or resolution would need to be reduced.
Aliens V Predator has proved to be a big seller since the release and Sega have taken the franchise into new territory after taking it from Sierra. AVP is a Direct X 11 supported title and delivers not only advanced shadow rendering but high quality tessellation for the cards on test today.
To test the cards we used a 1080p resolution with DX11, Texture Quality Very High, MSAA Samples 1, 16 af, ambient occulsion on, shadow complexity high, motion blur on. We use this with most of our graphics card testing so cards are comparable throughout reviews.
A very demanding Direct X 11 based game which requires powerful partnering hardware. The HD7750 isn’t an ideal pairing for this game, although the frame rate would be improved by lowering the resolution.
Dead Island is a first person horror action-adventure video game developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver for Microsoft Windows. It is centered on the challenge of survival on a zombie-infested open world island with a major emphasis on melee combat. It is rather good fun, for a short while, but it becomes repetitive.
Dead Island is a fun game, in short bursts. It isn’t the most demanding engine on the market and the Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition has no problems maintaining smooth frame rates, even at 1080p with high image quality settings.
Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. After the events of the first game, the H.A.W.X squadron is sent to Middle East, where a high level of violence is being registered, and the appearance of various insurgents leaders in various hotspots. The team also has to investigate the mysterious disappearance of Russian nuclear weapons. The player will be controlling three groups: one American (Hunter), one British (Munro) and one Russian (Sokov), each with its own pilots and supporting characters. There will also be references to other characters in the Tom Clancy universe.
We are testing in full DX11 mode with all settings to maximum.
HAWX 2 has seen improvements in recent months on AMD hardware thanks to improved driver code. The HD7750 Ultimate Edition may be down the bottom of this performance chart, but again it manages to deliver playable frame rates at 1080p.
Resident Evil 5, known in Japan as Biohazard 5, is a survival horror third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on March 5, 2009 in Japan and on March 13, 2009 in North America and Europe for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. A Windows version of the game was released on September 15, 2009 in North America, September 17 in Japan and September 18 in Europe. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.
Within its first three weeks of release, the game sold over 2 million units worldwide and became the best-selling game of the franchise in the United Kingdom. As of December, 2009, Resident Evil 5 has sold 5.3 million copies worldwide since launch, becoming the best selling Resident Evil game ever made.
The HD7750 Ultimate Edition manages playable frame rates at 1080p with high image quality settings. It manages to outperform the HD6770 by a small margin.
Far Cry 2 (commonly abbreviated as “FC2 or “fc2″) is an open-ended first-person shooter developed by Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft. It was released on October 21, 2008 in North America and on October 23, 2008 in Europe and Australia. It was made available on Steam on October 22, 2008. Crytek, the developers of the original game, were not involved in the development of Far Cry 2.
Ubisoft has marketed Far Cry 2 as the true sequel to Far Cry, though the sequel has very few noticeable similarities to the original game. Instead, it features completely new characters and setting, as well as a new style of gameplay that allows the player greater freedom to explore different African landscapes such as deserts, jungles, and savannas. The game takes place in a modern-day East African nation in a state of anarchy and civil war. The player takes control of a mercenary on a lengthy journey to locate and assassinate “The Jackal,” a notorious arms dealer.
Far Cry 2 is still a popular game and the open world environment can be taxing on even the latest hardware available today.
Settings: 1920×1200, D3D10, Disable Artificial Intelligence(No), Full Screen, Anti-Aliasing(8x), VSync(No), Overall Quality(Ultra High), Vegetation(Very High), Shading(Ultra High), Terrain(Ultra High), Geometry(Ultra High), Post FX(High), Texture(Ultra High), Shadow(Ultra High), Ambient(High), Hdr(Yes), Bloom(Yes), Fire(Very High), Physics(Very High), RealTrees(Very High).
Far Cry 2 is just playable at these settings with the HD7750, dropping to 25 frames per second a few times during the test environment.
The tests were performed in a controlled air conditioned room with temperatures maintained at a constant 24c – a comfortable environment for the majority of people reading this.
Idle temperatures were measured after sitting at the desktop for 30 minutes. Load measurements were acquired by playing Crysis Warhead for 30 minutes and measuring the peak temperature. We also have included Furmark results, recording maximum temperatures throughout a 30 minute stress test. All fan settings were left on automatic.
Well you can’t get much better than this. Sapphire have completely removed all fan noise and have maintained the temperatures of the reference card, peaking at 65c under FurMark load. The card actually runs 1c cooler than the AMD reference board when gaming (58c v 59c).
To test power consumption today we are using a Keithley Integra unit and we measure power consumption from the VGA card inputs, not the system wide drain. We measure results while gaming in Crysis Warhead and record the results.
In such an energy aware climate, AMD are making a big deal out of their new ‘ZeroCore Power’ technology. Many solutions today use power gating, clock gating and memory compression to reduce idle power requirements, but ZeroCore power technology can completely power down the core GPU while the rest of the system remains active.
Sapphire’s HD7750 Ultimate Edition requires less power than the reference design card we have in our labs. 2 watts less when gaming and around 4 watts less when under Furmark load.
We used AMD’s Catalyst Control Center for overclocking today.
We achieved an overclock of almost 9 percent from the GPU core, hitting 870mhz, from reference clocks of 800mhz. The GDDR5 memory peaked at 1,240mhz (4,960mhz), from 1,125mhz (4,500mhz).
When AMD launched the HD7750 and HD7770 I have to admit I felt slightly disappointed. When compared to the last generation HD6770 and HD6790 the new hardware seemed more of a sideways step, than a forward leap. Notably, AMD improved power consumption and subsequent heat radiation, but as a viable upgrade scenario for a current HD67xx owner they made little sense.
The problems are primarily based around AMD’s decision to reduce the shader processor count from 800 on the HD67xx to 640 on the HD7770 and 512 on the HD7750. It doesn’t matter how high you clock the hardware on a new manufacturing process, with less processing potential the hardware will never reach the full potential. The HD7750 is generally faster than the HD6770 but it could have been even better if AMD hadn’t amputated the limbs.
Sapphire face an onerous inception with this latest HD7750 Ultimate Edition solution, however for the most part they have succeeded in regards to the overall design. They can’t magically fix all of AMD’s problems, however the removal of the reference cooler and fan is an accomplished move. Not only is the Sapphire Ultimate Edition completely silent, but it runs slightly cooler than the reference card and consumes less power.
The combination of silence, lower power draw and reduced temperatures are three integral buying considerations for a potential high definition media center customer. In this regard the HD7750 Ultimate Edition is a complete success.
Sapphire have tweaked the board design, replaced the cooler and removed the fan while ensuring that the core is copiously cooled. We would expect a noticeable rise in temperature with a passive design, but the heatsink has been carefully designed by the engineers to move as much heat to the peripheries of the aluminum fins, as quickly as possible.
As a gaming card, the HD7750 has limitations. It won’t handle a taxing Direct X 11 gaming engine at 1080p without noticeable reductions in image quality. That said, Tom Clancy HAWX 2, Far Cry 2 and Resident Evil 5 were all perfectly playable at 1080p with high image quality settings. We would assume that most media center owners would be happy with this, especially in a potentially silent environment.
We haven’t received confirmed pricing as we go to press, but the previous HD6570 Ultimate Edition is on sale for £65 inc vat, The HD6670 Ultimate Edition costs £72 inc vat. A standard Sapphire HD7750 is £86 inc vat.
Analysing the pricing information we would make a best guess that the Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition will demand a small price premium over the actively cooled HD7750 and cost around £95.
If you are building a new, minimal noise, low cost media center and want to play games at modest settings this should be right at the top of your list.
  • Silent.
  • Great design.
  • Maintains very impressive thermal performance.
  • Good bundle.
  • Case airflow is a must.
  • HD7750 isn’t a huge leap forward for AMD.
බලු කුක්කා නම් කියන්නෙ: Sapphire have turned a rather dull card into something worthwhile. It is silent and consumes less power than the reference solution. Not an easy achievement.
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