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GTX470 Vs 5770 CrossFire: Get in the ring special

Fourteen floors down, in a secured elevator, Zardon’s personal lab is a monstrous affair. Closer to a medieval torture pit than anything you’d see Pepper Potts delivering coffee to Tony Stark in. When you absolutely, positively, definitely need the truth – then Zardon’s inner chamber is where the torture testing will happen. However, sometimes you just want it fast and loose. To smack 2 stones against each other and see which, if either, breaks. KitGuru picks up a GTX470 in one hand and a pair of Radeon HD 5770s in the other, before smacking them together to see what gives. GITR. Get In The Ring!

We have no evidence that Pepper Potts works with Zardon

With the price cuts for the GTX470 well and truly delivered to the channel, KitGuru decided to get a quick head-to-head going between this newly-priced Fermi force and a pair of lighter weight 5770 cards. Product like the XFX Radeon HD 5770 is now around £127 from Dabs and the same store is also carrying a ‘best value’ GTX470 around the  GTX470 at £264.

You can see where we’re going with this, right?

Economics has a well defined concept called opportunity cost. Do one thing, choose one product option – and you can look at the market to see what else was available for the same kind of spend. In the Queen’s notes, the Dabs ‘Best value’ GTX470 costs £264. Opportunity cost? A pair of XFX Radeon HD 5770 cards. Easy. Now we just need to strip em down, stick them in a ring and push em into each other. Let battle commence.

XFX Radeon HD 5770 cards in CrossFire formation

And in the other corner we have:

Fermi GTX470 card comes with a decent bundle

Just before we reveal the numbers, one quick word on why we’ve picked the XFX card. Basically, it’s one of the only companies to be loved by both nVidia and ATI. The Santa Clara outfit can’t say enough good things about XFX, for example “They implement smart technology, ingenious engineering and innovative design. Above all they have an essence that may often be imitated but never duplicated. XFX does all this. By combining 10 years of technical and market experience with NVIDIA’s unmatched advanced graphic processing technologies, XFX has created a unique synergy that has never before been seen”. Now wasn’t that a nice thing to say.

Enough of the “nVidia loves XFX” fest. Let’s see what happens when you match up a pair of XFX Radeon 5770 cards against a GTX470 at the new, lower price point.

  • Price
    Slight advantage to the Radeons – but it’s only a matter of £10/$16.
  • Energy
    With the Radeons pulling around 70w each during gaming and the GTX470 close to 200w, it’s a 60w advantage to AMD’s middleweights. In the UK, each 60w bulb running for at least 5 hours a day, will cost you around £12/$19 a year. We know most gamers won’t care, but there it is – make of it what you will.
  • Noise
    While a pair of XFX Radeon 5770 cards generate just over 35dBA together, the GTX470 touches 60 dBA under load. Here’s an extract from the KitGuru real world noise chart for comparison…
    25dBA – Whisper
    30dBA – Computer fan
    40dBA – Refridgerator
    50dBA – Background noise is a larger office
    60dBA – Laughter
    70dBA – Vacuum Cleaner or Hairdryer
    If your speakers are cranked up in a deathkill-FPS you won’t give a crap about system noise, but if you’re planning on stealth mode gaming, 60dBA will end your career.
  • Performance
    In most games it is very close.  Testing at the 1080p resolution that many gamers use these days, the GTX470 is just under 10% quicker in Crysis Warhead and slightly over 10% quicker in FarCry 2. At the same time, a synthetic benchmark like 3DMark vantage will show the 5770 CrossFire set up to be 8% quicker. We’re confident in saying that, for most games, you will definitely get a few frames more with the GTX470, some will be a draw and a small minority could give the lead to the XFX Radeon HD 5770 cards.
  • Drivers
    No matter how hard  a driver team works, it will always be more complicated to get an SLi or CrossFire driver working. There’s just more work involved. On the other hand, there are cases when having the two cards available will give you a performance boost – as we’ve seen from 3DMark Vantage.
  • Bundle
    Again, this  can vary wildly. The XFX offer at £127 on Dabs includes not only Aliens Vs Predator, but also Assassin’s Creed. The Dabs special value GTX470 includes a trial for StarCraft II and a copy of Just Cause 2. We like AvP, but that’s a personal preference – so you will need to decide for yourself if these bundles have real value for you.
  • High Definition Video Playback
    Comparing the Catalyst 10.6 Driver for AMD against the ForceWare 258.80 driver for nVidia, we get a measurable HD image quality difference of around 10% in favour of the Radeons. nVidia has made big strides in this department since Jen Hsun and his engineers read KitGuru’s revolutionary HQV2 analysis report, and that rapid improvement to HD video quality has to be applauded.

KitGuru GITR Challenge: Time for the Referee’s Score Card
It’s an interesting match up.  Both solutions will take up a pair of slots. There is a power and noise advantage for the 5770 CrossFire set up and a performance advantage for the GTX470. In the rough-n-ready performance tests we did, the cards were scoring pretty high. Over 60fps in FarCry2 and around 40fps in Crysis Warhead. Given that all of the tests had averages that were well over the ‘KitGuru danger zone’ of 30fps, you will feel a difference of around 10%, but not by much. Moving from 27 fps to 30 fps, or from 30fps to 33fps is seriously noticeable. The higher you go, the less you feel 10%, but it’s still there.

KitGuru says: The bundles are both decent. HD video playback goes to the Radeons. If you’re looking for the gaming performance winner, then it has to be the GTX470 (albeit by a nose). If you are concerned about the power draw or (more importantly for KitGuru)  noise levels, then you need to consider 5770 CrossFire. Pricing will vary with time, so the 5770’s small advantage could change overnight.

GET IN THE RING: Overall, we’re looking at creating more of these bite-sized-easy-to-digest-get-your-mind-thinking articles that don’t get bogged down in too much data. The idea is for Zardon’s Labs to keep on pushing out hardcore, multi-page, in-depth analysis of products for the hardcore among you – while at the same time creating some straightforward buying advice comparisons for the times when you just need to know what to buy. Let us know below or in the KitGuru forum what you think!

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  • Tim

    Fun little piece. complete change of pace from Zardons 40 page indepth tests. 470 is pretty much dead on its feet I think. 5770 are good in CF. always have been, very underrated little cards, although I think kitguru has went to some lengths to make sure they get good coverage 😉


    5770 is a wicked little board. tests have shown it.

  • Eric K

    Faith is a lot of fun, is she hot ?

  • Sam

    470 was a card that should have been put to death when 460 hit. the 460 has basically wiped out both 465 and 470 🙂

  • Terry

    Ah, very nice, little fun piece from our Faith. tip of the hat to ya lass.

  • Harry

    Bit surprised Zardon hasnt reviewed the XFX single slot cards yet. stop slacking man.

  • Bill

    470 isnt going to win against two 5770s really, but it can be close depending on the engine. Thats not including power consumption, heat. etc etc.

  • Garry

    Well there you go, 5770’s FTW 😉

  • Ray

    ATI 5 series has to be one of the best card ranges ever. Well if we can walk past the slightly deformed 5830, *cough*

  • Death Dealer

    Faith, we love you. Always a bit of comedy relief !

  • Lurker

    When i started reading this article I thought it might actually be quite useful for people but sadly it has really missed the point.

    The vagueness and misinformation is too much for me so I had to ask some questions rather than do my usual lurking. Hopefully it will help to get the article clarified for people who need it.

    1) It’s not that important but in what world do NVIDIA love XFX? Yeah they have that wording on their site but everyone knows that years ago when XFX went ATI NVIDIA basically cut them off. That’s why there are no Fermi XFX cards. Why justify the use of XFX cards at all?

    2) The NVIDIA card you chose is not the same as you have tested. The Dabs site says Palit is the brand they use for Dabs value. Anyone who knows anything will tell you that the Palit cards A) Run Quieter and B) Use less energy than other GTX470s. They don’t hit 60dBA or anything close.

    3) Performance means nothing to me unless you say what the CPU/Memory were that you were using. I have no idea what sort of bottleneck may have stopped the GTX470 from being more than 10% faster. I don’t need system specs in massive detail, just the main components. (This is not too much detail, its important detail!)

    4) There is no mention that the XFX performance is likely to vary from game to game and that ATIs drivers regularly have CrossFire problems with new games which then get fixed after launch (Sometimes when people are done playing). The GTX470 will always run at full speed.

    5) “Both solutions will take up a pair of slots”. Yes, but in completely different ways. This is especially important for the people on a budget who might not realise their second slot/card isn’t full 16x speed. They would get a hit on XFX but if they used the 470 it would again run at full speed.

    Concept good… execution bad. Especially for the uneducated visitors who won’t know to consider the above.

  • faith

    @Lurker: Wow, anal much? 😉

    OK – just for the laugh
    1) As an insider, you should understand the joke – although we did not write the lyrics
    2) Feel free to bench them up and post the results – we stand to be corrected – but I doubt the numbers would be much out
    3) When you do your numbers, can we suggest a Core i7 with a gentle overclock and 6GB of memory (remember to report back what you used – so we can check you did not make a mistake ;))
    4) I’m pretty sure we said that performance would vary. We even gave our KitGuru opinion that the GTX470 will win in most tests, come close in a small number and that there may even be a rare occasion when the 5770 cards come out on top.
    5) If you think the speed of the PCI Express slot has a big bearing on graphics scores, then we might have to step back and read your post again.
    Overall, we’re happy with feedback and will take your comments on board – but the person who makes the argument that Palit is a top quality supplier is drinking something a little stronger than apple juice 😉

  • Tech head

    Lurker is such a retard. Nvidia didnt cut XFX off. They just didn’t like the fact they produce ATI. The problems within nvidia right now are down to sales issues and the fact that XFX make more money from ATi therefore don’t even bother focusing on nvidia products. Their advertisements show that if you paid attention.

    Palit cards? WTF? I was going to address the other stupid points in the post but that alone just makes me see you really don’t have a baldy clue what you are talking about. Uneducated users? look in the mirror !

    Concept of post is good, execution and points bad.

  • faith

    @Techhead: You need to be a little more understanding. Remember that a lot of ‘technology experts’ are not really enthusiasts. Some might have pretty decent jobs, working in data centres and the like and have spent their lives reading sites that look good – but actually have very little experience or substance. The jump from ‘working in IT’ to ‘being an enthusiast/expert’ can be a big one. The same for moving from technically challenged sites to sites that challenge you technically.
    I think I was over harsh with Lurker. He’s got an opinion – albeit misinformed – but was trying to contrinute on some level and I slapped him hard. Probably too hard, with the detailed point-by-point dismissal.
    Apologies Lurker – had a long day!

  • Boywells

    Well it’s good to get all opinions !!! Choice is something we all have a right too.

    Personally (people can shoot me down for this) I think it’s ati all the way. Just like the cards more.

    Faith, your a star. Lurker has a right to an opinion and I’m getting off my soap box.

    Good luck everyone, happy gaming !!!