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Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate Edition Review

Rating: 8.0.

In February I reviewed several HD7750 and HD7770 graphics cards and was ultimately left with mixed feelings. I appreciated the commendable power consumption and modest heat output, but I felt that it was a sideways step for 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.

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