Computex: Sapphire Shows Off Passively Cooled Radeon 7770 GPU

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 7, 2012 - 02:40 AM |
Tagged: video, sapphire, radeon 7770, passive cooling, graphics card, gpu, computex

Not to be left out of the Computex news, graphics card manufacturer Sapphire Technology unveiled a passively cooled AMD Radeon 7770 graphics card running at reference clock speeds. Following the release of the company’s factory overclocked Vapor-X 7770, the new Sapphire HD 7770 Ultimate 1GB card is the first to sport a passive cooler – other vendors are going in the opposite direction by using custom (active) coolers to push up reference clockspeeds for factory overclocked cards.

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Source: AnandTech

What makes the sapphire card neat is that the company did not have to underclock the GPU or memory in order to make a passive cooler feasible. With this card, you will get a silent GPU with the same specs and speeds as the reference 7770 we recently reviewed. The card looks to take up about two PCI expansion slots and utilizes a horizontal stack of vertically aligned (if that makes sense?) aluminum fins connected to the GPU via four heatpipes. Because of the cooler, the card is about 25% longer than a reference card, so keep that in mind if you are considering this for a HTPC build using a tiny case.

Beyond the cooler, which is arguably the most important aspect of the card, the Saphhire 7770 Ultimate 1GB is nearly identical to AMD’s reference design. The only major change is that Sapphire had to move the GDDR5 memory chips to the opposite (top, when installed in the case) side of the PCB in order to accommodate the cooler. With that said, the video outputs on the graphics card are a small improvement over the reference design with an additional DVI port (thanks to not needing a full fan grill in the second PCI slot) bringing the total to two DVI ports, one full size HDMI, and one full size DisplayPort. Otherwise, the GPU is stock, running at 1GHz while the 1GB of GDDR5 memory is likely running at 1125 MHz (stock speeds). The Cape Verde-based graphics card contains 640 stream processors, 1.5 billion transistors, 1.28 Teraflops of compute performance, and a Texture fill rate of 40 giga-transfers per second (GT/s). The full specifications of the 7770 GPU core can be found in our review.

The MSRP of reference AMD HD 7770 cards is $159 but expect the Sapphire card to come in a bit above that number thanks to the custom cooler. You can find more photos of the passively cooled Sapphire GPU over at AnandTech who managed to snag some good shots of the card at the company’s Computex booth.

In case you missed it, our video review of the HD 7770 card is embedded below in which we show off the (7770 and 7750) card also show off several custom 7770 designs from MSI, XFX, and others. It should bring you up to speed on what the 7770 is and where it stands in terms of performance with other cards from AMD and NVIDIA.

Assuming your case can hold it and you have at least one fan giving you some airflow, this could be a good little HTPC card! What do you think?

Source: AnandTech

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June 7, 2012 | 10:12 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I love quiet computers and passive cooling. I haven't paid much attention to GPUs the last 5 years. is the 7770 any good. (currently have nvidia 8600m gt in a laptop.)

Would love to build a gaming system, just really hate fan noise

June 7, 2012 | 10:53 AM - Posted by Tim Verry

hmm well it would definitely be faster than your current GPU. From our review of the 7770, it looks like its getting okay frame rates at even 1080p on Battlefield 3 (better than I expected it to do!) So long as you don't expect too much resolution or post processing effects wise out of it, it could certainly be used in a budget gaming build :).

June 15, 2012 | 05:30 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

While the concept of fanless GPUs are enticing you still have to have fairly robust case fans in order to make sure you don't have issues. I have found that recent GPUs active cooling system are ridiculously quiet. I'm of the school of thought that if i'm going to need a fan either way I'd rather get it on the GPU and keep the card much cooler with less risk of the card overheating. The only exception I can think of would be if you had a case with a 240mm fan on the side or something crazy like that.

July 11, 2012 | 05:23 PM - Posted by ignigena (not verified)

No need for any fan whatsoever.

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