Power, Temperature, & Noise

As always, we wrap up our look at a new video card with a look at the physical performance attributes: power consumption, temperatures, and noise.

While it’s the second sub-series of the 7000 series, the 7700 series is actually first in a number of ways for AMD. It’s the first midrange series to feature PowerTune since its introduction in 2010, and it’s the first time the 28nm process has been used on such low power cards. As such the power, temperature, and noise characteristics of the 7700 series are virtually a blank slate waiting to be filled.

Radeon HD 7700 Series Voltages
Ref 7750 Load Ref 7770 Load XFX R7770 BESDD
1.1v 1.2v 1.2v

The idle voltage for all 3 of our 7700 series cards was 0.825v. Meanwhile the load voltage for our 7750 was 1.1v, while it was 1.2v for both the reference 7770 and the XFX BESDD.

AMD’s official idle power consumption figure is <10W for both the 7750 and 7750. In practice we find that there’s a 2W difference between the two cards, with the 7750 coming in at 104W at the wall and the 7770 at 106W. AMD’s continuing efforts to reduce idle power consumption are clearly paying off, making this the lowest idle power usage figures we’ve recorded yet.

Meanwhile under the so-called “long idle” scenario with a blank monitor, the 7000 series continues to cement its lead. Officially all Southern Islands cards have a long idle power consumption level of <3W since they should all be using the same PCIe controller to keep a heartbeat going, however we’re finding there is a difference, even between the 7750 and 7770. The 7770 consumes 3W less than the 7900 series, meanwhile the 7750W consumes another 3W less, bringing it down to 97W. Since our readings are from the wall it’s tough to gage just how much these cards are still using, but at this point there doesn’t seem to be much farther to drop.

When we talk about the 7700 series bluring the line between what we’d expect out of an AMD 700 series card and an AMD 600 series card, results like this are part of the reason why. With a 75W PowerTune limit the 7750 has the lowest power consumption of any of the cards in our lineup, beating even the 5750. The 7750 is clearly in a league of its own, with only the 7770 drawing similar amounts of power as the 5700 series.

To that extent, it’s interesting to note that the XFX BESDD consumes less power than the reference 7770, in spite of its factory overclock. XFX did not increase the voltage of the card, but we’d still expect power consumption to go up at least a bit, not come down. In any case even with its 10% better performance, it’s consuming 7W less than the reference 7770 here. Otherwise at 250W the 7770 is pulling 8W less than the 5770 and 25W less than the 6850 from the wall, succinctly showcasing the power benefits of TSMC’s 28nm process.

Our results with OCCT largely mirror Metro, with the 7750 in a class of its own while the 7770 consumes less power than anything other than the 5750. Since this is our pathological test, the lack of PowerTune plays a big part here, as PowerTune keeps the 7770 capped at 100W while the 5770 and 6850 are free to go well over their TDPs.

There’s little to say about idle temperatures that hasn’t been said before. With a half-decent cooler, almost any card can reach the mid-to-low 30s. The 7700 series is no exception.

Moving on to Metro, our results are largely consistent with what we’d expect given our earlier power data. Even with the lower power consumption of the 7700 series AMD can’t quite beat the GTX 460 1GB, otherwise with temperatures in the mid to upper 60s the 7700 series looks quite good. XFX’s BESDD looks especially good thanks to the fact that it’s an open air cooler, as it only reaches 64C.

As with OCCT power consumption, OCCT temperatures are largely a story of PowerTune or the lack thereof. With PowerTune clamping down on power consumption, temperatures never rise by too much. At 71C the reference 7770 is still doing well, while XFX’s card does even better.

Based on our power and temperature data, our noise data came at somewhat of a disappointment. The 7750 has a small fan with an idle fanspeed of 39%, leading to it being quite loud relative to its competitors. Thankfully none of AMD’s partners will be using that specific cooler, so we wouldn’t expect any retail cards to be this bad. Though if silence is key, Sapphire’s passively cooled 7750 is always an option.

As for our 7770 cards there aren’t any surprises. The open air cooled XFX BESDD does the best, though at only 40.5dB the reference 7770 is doing almost as well on its own.

I had to rerun Metro a few times just to make sure our XFX BESDD numbers are right; and they were. XFX’s open air cooler combined with the 100W board limit of the 7770 means that there’s relatively little heat to dissipate, which the open air cooler does extremely well. While this isn’t technically silent it’s damn close.

Elsewhere the reference 7770 does decently, but its half blower nature hurts it when it comes to noise. The noisy 7750 only gets louder, unfortunately.

Finally, noise under OCCT is nearly the same story. The XFX BESDD finally goes above 40dB, a testament to the capabilities of XFX’s open air cooler. As for the AMD cards, there’s really not a great deal positive to say as even a traditional blower shouldn’t be quite as bad as what we’re seeing with the reference 7770. Perhaps it’s for the best that none of AMD’s partners are using their reference designs.

Theoretical Performance Final Words
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  • chizow - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    There's a reason we look at the past, because chances are, what's already in your rig performs the same or better than what AMD is trying to sell you at the same or higher price than what you paid "in the past".

    Everyone needs to set the bar for themselves in terms of what they are willing to pay for an "upgrade", and given there is negative scaling with these parts, its pretty obvious they fail on all fronts. But hey, even you acknowledge this.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    Those with a choosen side should not try to explain whatever the history tells us because they have a biased opinion. They can't see both side of the medal as objectively possible as someone with an impartial view and form the beginning you've proven to be on nvidia's side.

    End of the discussion, you can try to explain history but it's YOUR perception. I never said history wasn't worthy of anything the thing is you always are on the same side which means it's worthless from the very beginning.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - link

    I do not think it's a TOTAL fail, the 7970 and 7950 isn'T very well priced, but it's not a fail like those. From your point of view a fail is from historical pricing. From my point of view and ALWAYS was like that, it's from a performance/price standpoint and I won't change because you tell me we should look at everything things from the past. Sure we can learn from it.

    There was once a man that beleived the earth was round. But the historians and everyone else beleive it was flat so they killed him. No need to put names in there... History used as an argument makes that sometimes.... You've got to renew your point of view else, you can't see further from what you know.

    AMD is trying to sell you at the same or higher price than what you paid "in the past".

    Like we said before, nothing new here, it's always the same with x2 parts from last gen for years now... And it's only an example from many others of rebranding older designs selling at higher price point which AMD and Nvidia are both strong at.
    Reply
  • Galidou - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    The price is a failure from my perception, 7770 and 7750 is a big fail..... Unlike 7950 and 7970 non-attractive price/performance but still a little justified by it's performance compared to parts that are out NOW and not compared to freaking history of pricing or future video cards...

    People out there will buy the 7770 and they'll be totally satisfied for as long as they'll own the thing. If you spent 4 hours on the internet looking at video card prices and benchmarks and realize you're way better off with a 6850 you might find it a bargain. But for others, if you tell them what you did to get to that conclusion, they'll maybe end up being happy with their choice without searching because they had 4 hours of playtime outside on a sunny day and that's worth it, while you're on the computer looking to spend your money on the best you can find.

    So in the end, whatever we might say, perception is the key in life, we can take a whole day speaking about that and in the end, everyone will be right, because each of us create it's reality by thinking and seeing it the way THEY want... You want to live in the past and the future analyzing everything, you'll end up loosing the present which is the only thing that exists...
    Reply
  • chizow - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - link

    Yes Rarson, its proof stupid people have low standards and will buy anything. How's your 7700 treating you?

    Plenty in stock actually: http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Sub...
    Reply

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