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AMD Radeon HD 7770 - Seizing the Day with Cape Verde, the ASUS Way

By Wong Chung Wee - 15 Feb 2012

Introducing Cape Verde

Introducing Cape Verde - The 7700 Series Family

It has been just over a month since AMD launched their high performance Radeon HD 7900 series with the Tahiti GPUs taking the first salvo of the Southern Islands family. Already grabbing the most powerful single GPU graphics card title, it's probably certain that the yet-to-be launched dual-GPU based Radeon HD 7990 would snag the crown of the most powerful consumer graphics card on the planet - that is if it can see the day of light before NVIDIA makes their move first.

While the high-end battleground seems secured, AMD wastes no time to launch yet another GPU of the Southern Islands family codename Cape Verde. This new offering from AMD is targeted at the mainstream performance segment of less than US$200 and boasts the same new GCN architecture as well as their 28nm fabrication process of the high-end Tahiti-class GPU. The main difference of course is the number of GCN modules making up the graphics core, memory bandwidth being cut down and the other usual trappings of a mainstream GPU.

After Tahiti's launch, we were expecting to see the clan of Pitcairn but instead, we were greeted with Cape Verde. Nevertheless, we'll check out what it means for the mainstream audience.


The AMD Radeon HD 7700 Family

In keeping with tradition, AMD has offered two SKUs from the Cape Verde clan and they are AMD Radeon HD 7770 and AMD Radeon HD 7750. One of the key points AMD touted of this series is of the Radeon HD 7770 as the first GPU with a rated clock speed of 1000MHz and is a successor to the previously popular ATI Radeon HD 5770. As tabulated in the table below, the US$159 suggested retail price of the Radeon HD 7770 would go up against graphics cards from NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 550 Ti  and the Radeon HD 6790 - both of which currently retail around US$130 to US$150. For this article, we'll be focusing on the Radeon HD 7770 as we'll be reviewing an ASUS card based on this GPU.

Just to get an idea of how the Radeon HD 7000 series family stack up currently, we've got the 7900 and 7700 series compared in brief:-

AMD Radeon HD 7000 GPUs (Tahiti and Cape Verde SKUs compared)

AMD Radeon HD 7970

AMD Radeon HD 7950 AMD Radeon HD 7770 AMD Radeon HD 7750
Core Code  Tahiti  Tahiti Cape Verde Cape Verde
Transistor Count  4300 million  4300 million 1500 million 1500 million
Manufacturing Process 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
Core Clock 925MHz 800MHz 1000MHz 800MHz
Stream Processors  2048 Stream processing units 1792 Stream processing units 640 Stream processing units 512 Stream processing units
Stream Processor Clock  925MHz 880MHz 1125MHz 1125MHz
Texture Mapping Units (TMU) or Texture Filtering (TF) units  128 112 40 32
Raster Operator units (ROP)  32 32 16 16
Memory Clock  5500MHz GDDR5 5000MHz GDDR5 4500MHz GDDR5 4500MHz GDDR5
DDR Memory Bus  384-bit 384-bit 128-bit 128-bit
Memory Bandwidth  264GB/s 240GB/s 72GB/s 72GB/s
Street Price  Launch Price: US$549 ~US$449 ~US$159 ~US$109
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