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Review: Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate and VTX3D HD 7750

by Parm Mann on 6 April 2012, 12:00 3.5

Tags: Sapphire, VTX3D, AMD (NYSE:AMD)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabetf

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Sapphire HD 7750 Ultimate

Sapphire's Ultimate series cards are designed with one primary objective in mind: practically silent operation. In order to achieve the desired result, the HD 7750 Ultimate eschews an onboard fan in favour of a giant aluminium heatsink that's tasked with drawing heat away from the underlying GPU.

It's an impressive-looking beast, but the design puts Sapphire's card in a slightly uncomfortable position; the HD 7750 Ultimate looks and sounds like a card that eats 8xAA for breakfast, but in reality the performance on offer from the GPU isn't anywhere near as showy-offy.

But can you blame a card for wanting to look impressive? Apparently so, as one of our esteemed readers put forward an honest question when the Ultimate card was first announced: "Why does an HD7750 need such a huge cooler?? WTF??"

A valid question, but Sapphire's answer is a simple one; it isn't just about keeping the card cool, it's about keeping it cooler than ever before.

We'll get to the temperature readings later in the review, but no matter how well the card cools, the giant heatsink does pose an immediate problem - it makes the card longer, taller and thicker than the VTX3D option.

If every millimetre counts, you'll want to know that Sapphire's design measures 190mm in length, 120mm tall and 50mm thick. The bulbous design will make two-card CrossFire configurations particularly tricky, but the Ultimate card has the advantage of being completely silent in use, and that can be the deciding factor for HTPC users.

 

Aside from the monster heatsink, though, Sapphire's card is familiar in most other areas. The GPU and 1GB of GDDR5 memory are clocked at stock speeds - 800MHz and 4,500MHz, respectively - while the I/O panel includes the standard DisplayPort, HDMI and dual-link DVI connectors.

Sapphire's card does have the advantage of being bundled with an HDMI cable as standard, but that plus point is offset by a £95 price tag - nearly 20 per cent more than the VTX3D alternative.

Two Radeon HD 7750s; one compact, one silent, but which is best?