I am also warming up to upgrading my system and the HD 7750/7770 look very interesting from a performance/power/price perspective. From the Phoronix tests it seems the cards are reasonably well supported in the binary Catalyst driver. However for me to choose the AMD card I would really like some more solid indication from AMD for when video playback is properly supported and when/if Open Source support becomes available?
Otherwise I might as well choose a NVidia card - 550 or 640 with GDDR5 (when that becomes available). Even though NVidia do not support Open Source, they at least provides solid video support.
Please AMD - help us to want to buy your products! :)
If AMD went belly up tomorrow I wouldn't shed any tears. ATI sucked too.
- Which distribution are you using?
- How much memory is installed?
- did you Build the Computer Yourself, or do a full system upgrade? ( Yes or No)
If the answer is yes, answer the Following:
- What is the Processor?
- What is the Motherboard?
- What type of Memory is in the pc? (DDR3, DDR2, ETC )
If the answer is No, answer the Following:
- What is the Vendor? ( Toshiba, Dell, HP, ETC )
- What is the Model?
- What is the Model Number?
All of these questions will provide a much better overall suggestion than a blind suggestion.
Anyways, I am certain that most of the performance problems is the graphics card, and an easy solution is to try the Radeon HD6670. I know of several gamers who have had excellent experiences on this card where they can play almost all games at maximum settings. I normally suggest video cards that are full size pci cards, however, I do know that there is some low profile cards available, and either of the following cards should handle the job well:
Sapphire Radeon HD6670 (Low Profile)
HIS Radeon HD6670 (Low Profile Ready)
OP, I'm in the same boat as you. I have a GT430 in my HTPC at the moment and it works perfectly, but I need a little more power.
Around the £80 price range ($90 I guess) you have the GeForce GT640 2GB DDR3 and the RadeonHD 7750 1GB GDDR5. Now what sucks here is that the ATi card (using Windows benchmarks as an reference) performs better than the GT640 normally, has a lower TDP (important for quiet / HTPCs) and costs less!
But then the problem becomes that ATi card support under Linux isn't always great. For example native apps are generally ok, but quite a few games under Wine will simply not work (apparently this is due to the drivers still missing a lot of features that Wine needs to work properly). Also I'm not sure how under-par the raw performance of the Catalyst drivers is, compared to Windows giving their previous track record (where as nVidia's is generally fine).
So in summary: the 7750 is an all-round better card than the GT640, but may end up being worse / useless due to the drivers (depending on the usage). Pretty rubbish situation really.
EDIT: To add to this, which I forgot earlier, is that the Catalyst drivers are also normally lagging behind XOrg and Kernel updates, sometimes by several months, so if you're running an up-to-date distro, you may find that either you can't update your Kernel or XOrg for some time due a Catalyst incompatibility, or that you'll update them and suddenly find the driver doesn't work anymore. This has been my biggest annoyance on my ATi/AMD graphics hardware.
This is my GT520 running a Quake time demo with the Darkplaces engine
Video Mode: fullscreen 2720x1024x32x0.00hz
969 frames 12.9987194 seconds 74.5458046 fps, one-second fps min/avg/max: 50 74 81 (74 seconds)
Numbers don't lie.
It seems they do, as nobody sells 2720x1024 screens. Your numbers claim that to be the fullscreen res.