by Rob Williams on November 23, 2009 in Graphics & Displays
For a graphics card that retails for a suggested $130, the Radeon HD 5750 sure packs in a lot of features. In addition to its solid performance and superb power consumption, the card supports multiple monitor outputs, DirectX 11, Eyefinity and more. To top it all off, Sapphire includes a voucher for a free copy of Dirt 2 right in the box.
At this point in most of our graphics card reviews, I post information pertaining to overclocking, power consumption, and temperatures. Unfortunately, before we could wrap up our testing, the card died for some reason, so I was unable to complete what other testing I had left. I am not sure what to make of the issue, or speculate as to how it happened, but I don’t blame the card, model, or Sapphire. It seems like a freak accident.
After the performance benchmarking was done, I shut the PC down in order to come back to it later to deal with the overclocking and power consumption tests, but on the next boot, I had no video at all. Our motherboard is equipped with an Award BIOS, and the error code given was 92. I searched all over the Internet to find information on what that could mean, but all I could find was “Reserved”. That’s not too helpful.
Regardless, I’m glad I was able to finish up the performance testing before the card went kaput. I expect to be able to replace the HD 5750 in the near future, and when I do, I’ll wrap up the power and temperature tests, and also overclocking, but I’ll post information related to that in our news section, rather than update this review (I’ll update this review with a link to our news post). I need to stress that I don’t believe this issue to be a fault with the card or Sapphire, although I’m not sure where to shift the blame. We’ve not had a GPU just die on us, at least recently, so I don’t believe it’s any of our equipment.
That all said, given the performance information we have here, I have to admit that I expected a bit more from the HD 5750. It’s not at all a bad card, but some of our results left me a bit confused, like Crysis Warhead. There, the HD 5750 should have come out ahead of the GTS 250, but didn’t. Of course, the card did end up dying on me, which would usually lead me to believe that there was an underlying issue the entire time, but repeated runs of 3DMark Vantage did deliver expected results, and there, the card always came out ahead of the GTS 250.
With an SRP of $130, the HD 5750 is a solid card. The GTS 250 also hovers around the same price-point, and both cards flip-flopped their strengths and weaknesses, with the overall nod going to NVIDIA. Choosing between either of these two cards comes down to a few things, namely, whether you desire for the utmost performance, or don’t mind sacrificing some of it in lieu of some great features.
Though I was unable to test the HD 5750 for power consumption and temperatures, based on what I’ve seen from other HD 5000 series cards, its power consumption would be far below the GTS 250. In fact, as we saw in our review of the HD 5770, even that card is much more power efficient… sucking down 68W less at max load. The difference between the HD 5750 and GTS 250 would be even greater. The same goes for the temperatures.
Other bonuses of the HD 5750 include DirectX 11, which should come in handy over the next few years (Dirt 2 and STALKER: Call of Pripyat are two soon-to-be-released titles), Eyefinity (superb multi-monitor support), and of course, the multi-monitor outputs. You might not have a desktop monitor equipped with HDMI or DisplayPort, but all of ATI’s HD 5000 cards come with the support, so it’s there for when you need it.
What hurts the HD 5750, and most other HD 5000 series cards right now, is the price-gouging by popular e-tailers. It’s not just one, but multiple, so it doesn’t look like any are going to budge soon. Because of this, the GTS 250 looks like an even better buy, as it can be had for $130 or even a bit less… the same price that the HD 5750 is supposed to be sold for. Unfortunately, AMD has no control over this.
So as it is now, the smarter card would be the HD 5750, because it offers some perks that make it a vast improvement over the GTS 250, but for the best raw performance, the GTS 250 is the right card. One last thing I’ll mention, though, is that on most e-tailers, the HD 5770 isn’t too much more than the HD 5750 ($20 more, tops). If it came down to a choice between the price-gouged HD 5750 or HD 5770, I’d recommend the latter.
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