Can any card as cheap as the Sapphire HD 7770 GHz really be a good idea? False economies are certainly a major fear when it comes to PC components. It's no good if this card offers great on-paper bang for buck if it doesn't deliver a good enough gaming experience.

First, the on-paper bit. We're talking AMD's latest GCN shader cores to the tune of 640. For context, you get only 768 of the things in the Xbox One. What's more, this card's core is clocked at 1GHz to Xbox's 853MHz. Not much in it for raw pixel pumping, then.

But there's more to it than that. Part of the problem is the meagre 1GB of graphics memory and 128-bit memory bus. Then there's the fact that the detail levels in PC games almost certainly already outstrip anything that's likely to hit the Xbox One. Which is why the Radeon 7770 GHz chipset puts out such poor frame rates in most of our benchmarks. In fact, Grid 2 is the only game for which it manages playable frame rates at 1080p.

Benchmarks

1,920 x 1,080

DirectX 11 gaming performance
Sleeping Dogs: Frames per second: Higher is better (Min/Avg)

Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/19
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 16/24
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 19/28
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 18/28
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 24/41
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 25/36
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 27/39
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 30/52
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 36/52
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 36/60
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 59/97
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 31/65

Grid 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 34/43
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 40/50
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 42/52
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 39/52
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 56/73
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 57/73
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 56/71
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 67/90
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 73/87
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 71/85
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 50/60
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 75/93

Company of Heroes 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 11/19
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 13/21
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 15/28
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 11/22
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 15/31
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 22/39
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 21/35
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 20/40
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 28/46
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 27/49
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 26/44
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 31/55

Metro: Last Light: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/22
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 19/28
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 20/30
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 14/33
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 8/45
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 19/39
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 21/40
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 24/56
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 25/51
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 21/65
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 23/75
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 27/70

BioShock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/28
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 14/34
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 21/41
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 17/47
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 15/65
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 19/51
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 16/57
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 21/78
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 19/74
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 23/91
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 14/123
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 21/98

Heaven: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/19
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 13/23
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 16/28
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 17/31
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 21/43
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 18/36
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 20/40
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 24/52
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 23/51
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 780 29/69
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 30/100
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 30/77

Verdict

Grid 2 aside, we're looking at sub-30 frames per second. You'll have to crush the detail settings to get things running smoothly, which makes this board a non-starter. The same applies to even the cheapest Radeon HD 7770 boards. Performance isn't nearly good enough, so however low the price is, you aren't getting value.