After reviewing AMD's $ 550 Radeon HD 7970 in December, we were thrilled to get our hands on some cheaper cards for the southern islands. That opportunity finally arose in February with the introduction of the wallet-friendly Radeon HD 7750 and HD 7770.
The new 28nm mainstream cards were especially welcomed as AMD's sub-$ 200 offering had been a bit stale over the years, and the HD 5750 and 5770 were shamelessly renamed the HD 6750 and 6770 in the previous generation. Unfortunately, our enthusiasm was short-lived. The HD 7750 was slightly slower than the last generation GeForce GTX 550 Ti, although its performance hit was slightly justified by a lower asking price and 30% less power consumption.
Overall, we've found that the HD 7750 doesn't have much going for the performance junkies (which is to be expected if it's a $ 110 graphics card), but it does serve as a valid option for HTPC-like builds. This opinion remains.
Likewise, in line with the GTX 560, the HD 7770 was priced at $ 160, but the newcomer was much slower. At best, the HD 7770 was ~ 15% cheaper while it performed ~ 18% worse. The only savings feature was the substantial 30% energy savings. Unfortunately, power consumption becomes less important as you get closer to high-end configurations. We envision that someone who buys a $ 160 to $ 200 graphics card would want a lot more performance versus lower consumption levels.
Ultimately, none of the HD 7700 series cards really added value to the envelope. Part of this is believed to be due to the fact that Nvidia hasn't launched its GTX 600 series yet, so AMD can keep up with the market.
When Nvidia's Kepler products finally arrive (rumored to be late 1st quarter / early 2nd quarter), we hope some price adjustments will follow. If (when?) This occurs, the HD 7700 series could become more attractive overnight – and not just for single card setups.
The old HD 5750 and 5770 were popular Crossfire candidates, and the same could be true of the HD 7700 series if the price is right. That day, we tested the HD 7750 and HD 7770 in Crossfire in more than a dozen games to see how well they scale and compare to cards like the HD 6870 and GTX 560 Ti.
If you want to find out more about the HD 7700 series, you should read our coverage on the launch day. Everyone else: buckle up and let's take these cards for another spin.