In Arma II, the HD 7770 1GB performed similarly to the HD 6850 1GB, with both cards managing playable frame rates at 1,920 x 1,080 at very high settings. The 7770 1GB had the edge and this was also enough to see off the HD 5770 1GB and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB, which has never been an amazing example of a budget graphics card and is now totally obsolete given it retails for a similar price to the HD 7770 1GB.
Pushing up the resolution to 2,560 x 1,600 saw it hold on to its place in the graphs, again with a slight but noticeable lead over the Radeon HD 6850 1GB. At both resolutions, the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1GB is the first option that offers any kind of real benefit, with the Radeon HD 6870 1GB not offering much of an upgrade.
It was a similar story in Battlefield 3, however even at 1,920 x 1,080, the HD 7770 1GB struggled and only mustered a minimum frame rate of 23fps. The Radeon HD 6870 1GB fared much better here, with a minimum frame rate of 27fps. Dirt 3 proved to be a much easier task, with playable frame rates being obtained at both our test resolutions, however the HD 7770 1GB failed to better the the HD 6850 1GB in both tests - a disappointing result.
Skyrim rounded off the game tests with a familiar result of the HD 7770 1GB throwing its weight around below the HD 6850 1GB, but failing to better it at either resolution. The power consumption and thermal tests were by far the most interesting, though, with the HD 7770 1GB recording some of the best results on test.
We managed to overclock the HD 7770 1GB to a GPU frequency of 1,250MHz with the memory running at 5GHz effective - a decent overclock, which needed 250Mv added to the core voltage in MSI Afterburner. This saw the minimum frame rate in Battlefield 3 rise to 26fps - a 3fps increase. Our test system drew only 142W from the wall under load - a saving of nearly 20 per cent over the HD 6850 1GB. It's load delta T of 44°C was nearly 10°C cooler than our HD 6850 1GB too, and we're happy to report than it was extremely quiet under load.
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Despite agreeable benchmark results and no issues in the noise or heat departments, we can't help but feel very disappointed with the HD 7770 1GB. It performs similarly to the HD 6850 1GB (the latter actually beat it in some of our game benchmarks) yet it costs the same as an HD 6870 1GB, which is a far superior piece of kit.
What makes matters even worse is that HD 6850 1GB and HD 6870 1GB prices will undoubtedly fall further in the coming weeks, especially with new mid-range cards due from AMD in the very near future, making the HD 7770 1GB even worse value. Unless prices fall sharply, and soon, we suggest avoiding the HD 7700 series altogether.