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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  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    What I'd like to know is why the 7950 is shown in the Idle temp charts and then vanishes from the Load temp charts. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Sorry.. Power consumption charts.

    I'd like to see the 7950/7970 load power consumption. The idle consumption is less interesting and that's where they're shown.
    Reply
  • dananski - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Me too, the 6850 was worse than the 5850, so I'd expected it to be easily beaten by this generation's 770. Then again, the 6770 was just a 5770, so I suppose I should've learned that the mid-range is barely moving. Reply
  • designerfx - Thursday, February 16, 2012 - link

    if you think about the fact of it's price today then it will probably be down substantially in a month - at which point it'd be quite competitive. Reply
  • ce12373 - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Hmmm. This AMD story sounds like a lot of other AMD stories (cough*cough "BULLDOZER"). Maybe no one has piledriven the point home to AMD yet. Oh well. Reply
  • medi01 - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    Right, and it's a long time that nVidiai stopped producing overpriced "you can fry pancackes with these" GPUs and even hold performance crown? Oh, it's still producing them and AMD still hold performance crown? What a pity.

    Oh, but AMD went nVidia route with "confuse consumer more" naming scheme? How shameless, do they pay royalties for this to nVidia, the inventor of this rubbish?
    Reply
  • aguilpa1 - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - link

    AMD has been doing the name bait and switch just as long as Nvidia but since your such a fan boy apparently you haven't noticed. It is obvious from your overheated GPU remarks that you are stuck on some ancient review of a past Nvidia product. And again, AMD has done the same, also in the past, 2900XT anyone? Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    The GTX 590 still holds the single card crown.
    The very strange situation that has occurred is amd holding the single core card crown with 7970, finally passing the 580 after a year or closer to two and I don't remember how long.
    This single core crown is gone already gone with the GTX680 benches leaked a few days early.
    So amd finally did hold a crown for once in a very long time, for a very short time, 2.5 months or so....with most of that time in very weak or absent stock on retail shelves.

    Reply
  • Spunjji - Thursday, June 21, 2012 - link

    BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH Reply
  • Reticence - Monday, June 24, 2013 - link

    You realize you're kinda the laughing stock of anandtech right? You wait with baited breath for every post remotely including AMD somewhere in the article to give you the opportunity to suck off nvidia and intel. I literally think you might need psychiatric help with that raging superiority complex, then again I've always thought there should be specially designed concentration camps for people like you who never grew out of acting like a blow-hard highschool kid.

    Oh well, down to business.

    Two 7970's (And I mean two 7970's, NOT a 7990) perform better than one Titan, EVERY benchmark has shown it, you can not deny this. And I already know what you're doing to say "BUT THAT'S 2 CARDS VS. 1, NOT FAIR ;[" But see, this is the main point that proves you're a major fucking moron. That.does.not.matter.at.all.

    The the Titan is 1000$.
    Two 7970's are 800$.

    And while yes, it's impressive that a single card can hold it's own against two, it doesn't matter, who is going to spend 200$ more for LESS performance? I'm sure you'll also say "you're just an AMD fanboy." Wrong, I just don't like to waste my money. And I really, really, don't like you.

    Nuff said.

    Oh and by the way, read it and weep, pussy.

    http://www.semiaccurate.com/forums/showpost.php?p=...
    Reply

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