Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate Edition

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Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate Edition

March 18, 2012 by Lawrence Lee

Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate
PCI-E Graphics Card

A few months ago, AMD launched the HD 7000 series of graphics cards to much fanfare. As with previous generations, the top models were released first, the US$449 HD 7950 and US$549 HD 7970, to garner positive press for mind-blowing high resolution and multi-monitor gaming performance. More mainstream cards followed in the wake of this applause — like the US$110 HD 7750, pitiful by comparison to the early high-end releases, but a piece of hardware that will ultimately find its way into many more systems. The lower-end GPU boasts very modest power draw, allowing Sapphire to produce a completely fanless version, the HD 7750 Ultimate, which is the subject of this review.

Sapphire has been making Ultimate edition fanless graphics cards for a long time, going back all the way to the Radeon 9000 series in 2003. Back then, they simply slapped on Zalman's famous VGA heatpipe cooler, but today they design their own passive cooling solutions. The HD 7750 Ultimate has the same specifications as the reference design, including the scant 55W TDP, so it shouldn't take a lot to cool without a fan. Obviously you could do this with an aftermarket cooler to replace a stock fanned one, but it is probably not worthwhile: The HD 7750 is currently selling for about US$125, only $15 more than the various actively-cooled versions of the same card.

Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate: Specifications
(from the product web page)
Radeon HD 5750/6750*
Radeon HD 5770/6770*
Radeon HD 7750
Radeon HD 7770
Fabrication Process
40 nm
40 nm
28 nm
28 nm
Transistor Count
1.04 billion
1.04 billion
1.5 billion
1.5 billion
Die Size
166 sq. mm
166 sq. mm
123 sq. mm
123 sq. mm
Shader Units
Core Frequency
700 MHz
850 MHz
800 MHz
1000 MHz
Memory Frequency
1150 MHz
1200 MHz
1125 MHz
1125 MHz
Street Price
*HD 6750/6770 are rebranded versions of the HD 5750/5770

The HD 7750 and 7770 are based around the new GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture, packing 44% more transistors into a die 74% of the size of its HD 5000/6000 predecessors thanks in part to the substantial conversion from a 40 nm to 28 nm manufacturing process. With these improvements comes a drastically lower TDP with the HD 7750 rated for only 55W. Though the name suggests it is a replacement for the HD 5750, the current street price positions it above the HD 5770 despite slightly lower clock/memory speeds and 36% fewer shader units, which are critical for performance.

The Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate box.

The blue exterior is simply a cover, hiding a second plain cardboard box holding the package contents. The video card itself is well protected in a thick foam compartment. Included with the card is a manual, a driver disc, a DVI to VGA adapter, and, surprisingly, an HDMI cable (note: the HDMI cable not listed in the specifications).

Package contents.

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