The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X graphics card's low power needs make it a solid HTPC (home theatre PC) choice.

The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X is a slightly slimmed down version of the ATI Radeon HD 5870 that broadly copies the 5770 blueprint, but it does so with ever so slightly less of almost everything.

It's a reasonably powerful-looking card but the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X is less hefty than some due to its significantly less meaty onboard cooling system. Being a Sapphire Vapor-X model, however, the cooling is more sophisticated and allows for marginally faster clock speeds. As with the 5770, the additional power requires a single 6-pin connector.

The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X is beautifully quiet in use and its modest power needs are shown up in the 86 Watts consumed at maximum load. When idle, just 16 Watts are generated. In short, this is ideal for anyone who needs a card for an HTPC, but who also wants a little extra grunt in their gaming compared to bargain editions of HTPC-aimed cards.

Sapphire equips the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X graphics card with the DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort combination needed to unlock Eyefinity but you’ll need to be playing games at relatively modest levels of detail in order to enjoy playing them across multiple screens.

You get 1GB of GDDR5 RAM paired with a memory clock speed of 1,160MHz (4,640MHz effective) rather than the 1,200MHz (4,800MHz) of the 5770. This isn’t a huge difference; the memory bandwidth of 74.2GBps is a mere 2.6GBps behind the 5770’s. The 720 stream processors are just 80 down on the 5770’s 800, and it also compares well on shaders (36 to the 5770’s 40). The figures for ROP and SIMD units are almost identical. However, the 710MHz core clock speed is a full 140MHz slower than the 5770's. You can see a significant difference in any figures using the core clock speed. The fill rate falls by around a quarter, while the floating point operations are down by about a third. Like the 5770, the Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X is hampered by that limited 128bit memory interface.

The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X is a fairly consistent performer, finishing most of our tests around 4 to 6fps behind the 5770. Only in Hawx (with its high range of frame rates) was the 5750 decisively beaten by the 5770. In some titles (Crysis), the lead was frequently just 2 or 3fps. But as with the 5770, DirectX 11 performance won’t be best served by this card, and it lacks the firepower necessary for bringing to life the more attractive aspects of the latest version of Microsoft’s programming interface.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

See also: Group test: what's the best graphics card?

See also: Group test: what's the best budget graphics card?

Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X: Specs

  • ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics processor
  • 1GB GDDR5 installed RAM
  • 128bit memory interface
  • memory clock 1160MHz
  • 4640MHz DDR effective
  • core clock: 710MHz
  • 720 stream processors
  • 36 texture units
  • 16 ROP units
  • memory bandwidth: 74.2 GBytes/sec
  • 86W
  • 6pin
  • PCI Express
  • DirectX11
  • DVI, HDMI, DP
  • ATI Radeon HD 5750 graphics processor
  • 1GB GDDR5 installed RAM
  • 128bit memory interface
  • memory clock 1160MHz
  • 4640MHz DDR effective
  • core clock: 710MHz
  • 720 stream processors
  • 36 texture units
  • 16 ROP units
  • memory bandwidth: 74.2 GBytes/sec
  • 86W
  • 6pin
  • PCI Express
  • DirectX11
  • DVI, HDMI, DP

OUR VERDICT

The Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5750 Vapor-X isn’t an expensive graphics card, but it does suffer from being rather too close in pricing to the already very solid 5770. The differences aren’t great, but when you aren’t really getting quite enough power from even the 5770, dropping down to the 5750 would perhaps be a mistake. But it does provide an opportunity for HTPC users to find a quiet and cool card, that gives them a little more grunt force than the typical HTPC adaptor.

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