I bought a new 27" 2560x1440 monitor and needed something beefier than my integrated Radeon HD 4XXX.
I went with a 7770 because it appeared on Tom's Hardware's best graphics card for the money December (its still there for January too).
I was going to get the best one for under $100 but I saw this one for $125 and was supposed to be a lot better.
It may be better on paper or under Windows, but I don't use my graphics card on paper or on Windows... I run Linux.
I tried this 7770 under Ubuntu 12.10 and Linux Mint 14.
I tried both both the open source then the proprietary drivers under Unity, Cinnamon, and XFce.
I installed all the vaapi stuff to get hardware accelerated video. I used a special mplayer from some ppa and the vlc seemed to be able to work with hardware if I just checked a button.
In any case.... 1080P Bluray rips in mkv format (not transcoded, the entire 25-30Gb files) where very CPU intensive and had tearing under CPU rendering and glitches under hardware rendering.
I have the same 1080P rips transcoded down to 2-3GB files at 720P for my phone and Nexus 7 in H.264 as mp4 files... those still had tearing under CPU and showed a lot of glitches with hardware rendering.
When I get home today I will try their latest 13.1 catalyst drivers and if that doesn't solve all of my problems I think I'll go the NVidia route.
Will I have more luck under NVidia than I will under AMD as far as tear-free 1080P video playback?
Its pretty sad when my $300 phone and $200 tablet can handle HD Videos but my 6-core 3.2GHz desktop with a $125 graphics card and 8Gb RAM can't handle it.
The biggest need for IPS/high-res monitors is video ram, to hold textures, etc for 3d. I have a couple IPS 2560x1600 LCD's and they are superb
the 7770 (have one, gave it away only to buy a newer model with 2Gigs of ram) video tearing stopped being an issue for me on linux by the 12.8 or so catalyst drivers. I had zero issues playing video or games and don't have the "disable" option checked in the catalyst control panel.
Either vendor has their own set of issues. After 10 years of nvidia, I found the "blue people" in adobe flash unforgivable, since it was such an obvious blunder, and ultra simple code fix, half a year to fix wasn't excusable IMHO.
AMD also (not nvidia) published about 100x the number of docs needed for the OSS drivers. The opensource drivers for either card leave a lot to be desired. The biggest reason for not opening them all is submarine patents, as in random lawyer-owned-company XYZ (who never made a video card) has a patent and nvidia, amd, et al, are reasonably worried about getting sued for something they invented inhouse already but didn't apply for a patent.
It always depends on the apps/games/distro you run if you can live with amd gfx cards or not. I would not overrate the released specs as the major points like video accelleration and powermanagement do not work at all or only partly. If you consider this as main aspect go for Intel - they usually beat radeon oss drivers with ease. It is not that amd cards are bad by definition but if you intend to use Wine then Nvidia is the smarter choice - also when you want to use vdpau. Of course you can use xbmc / fernetmenta branch with xvba support - but it is NOT mainline.
for AMD/ATI, tearing disappeared in the 7xxx series around august 2012 in linux and windows. Not sure what is meant by CPU rendering, as that doesn't apply to HD video or any modern games on the 77xx series or comparable nvidia cards. CPU rendering = 2007 maybe GPUs in 3 years have evolved more than CPU's have in 10 years at least.
There are some great changes afoot (just past couple days) with the nvidia 650ti turbo(?) card. big price drop, but above your price range by $50 still. Might shift all prices down a bit. Still not willing to be burnt again with the "blue people in adobe flash" by nvidia given the <10 lines of code to fix it that took them over 6 months to do.... I had pure nvidia til my amd 7770 and so on and haven't regretted it at all.
They've (both nvidia and amd) have done a lot of work on power management. My 77xx and pair of 7850's in crossfire mode rarely go above 30% speed, and maybe a max of double that in games, yes, in linux.
The OLD drivers were different, as was the hardware. (comparable to CPU's before enhanced speedstep, etc)
No idea why I'd ever tolerate an Intel video except on an ultra low power laptop. Famous for ultra low performance too, and just as many oddball quirks in linux as nvidia or ati. Take a 5 year old 7xx amd motherboard with embedded video and except for the new HDvideo/x.264 decode hardware, it'll match or blow away even the latest intel onCPU video. Standard disclaimer: have both intel and amd procs, but never found the intel in processor video tolerable in windows or linux to run just the 3d effects of modern desktop environments. Might check over at tomsharware for more "windows" performance comparisons. It's not even close, and why Intel has made a few expensive acquisitions over past 5 years in the GPU space.
And yes, a LOT of the benchmarks don't work well. e.g. have one of both desktops (i3770 and amd8350) and in video encoding, the amd slaughters the intel despite being "20%" slower, it's really 20% or more faster at same clockspeed. Really does depend on your mix of apps and games. The GPU REALLY makes 3-5x the difference of the CPU in modern titles, and directX works surprisingly well in wine on linux.