AMD Radeon HD 7790 1GB Full Review

Posted: March 26, 2013 by Rizwan Riyad in PC, Tech
Tags: , , , ,

With the Radeon HD 7790, AMD has one target in its sights: the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti. Landing smack-dab in between the AMD Radeon HD 7770 and AMD Radeon HD 7850 in terms of performance, the HD 7790 is the first video card to feature the ‘Bonaire’ GPU, the latest progeny from AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture.amd

AMD Radeon HD 7790: The Specs

The Radeon HD 7790 uses AMD’s Bonaire GPU, which, like the rest of the 7000 series, is based on Graphics Core Next. It houses 896 stream processors and 56 texture units. That puts Bonaire just about halfway between the HD 7770’s Cape Verde chip (640/40) and the HD 7850’s Pitcairn (1024/64, 860 MHz). Like the HD 7770, the HD 7790 has a 1 GHz clock speed and no Turbo mode.

HD 7790 GPU

The VRAM is 1 GB of GDDR5 clocked at 1.5 GHz on a 128-bit memory bus. That’s quite a leap forward that allows for a 96 GB/s bandwidth, which is 33% more than the HD 7770‘s 72 GB/s.

Basically, the AMD Radeon HD 7790’s GPU gives higher raw performance than the HD 7850‘s—thanks to high clock rate—but less memory bandwidth (96 GB/s compared to the 7850’s 153.6 GB/s).

Size, Noise, Heat

The card AMD sent us is a Sapphire model with an alternative PCB and cooling system, so we can’t make any conclusive statements about the noise on the AMD version.

As for the size, the reference card uses a fairly short PCB that’s almost identical in length to the Radeon HD 7750 (17 cm). The cooling system consists of a heat sink with fins arranged in an arc of a circle with a fan on top. However, AMD told us that none of its partners will be making cards that use this reference design. They’ll have alternative heat sinks instead, and most will be overclocked.

Power Use5/5

The Radeon HD 7790 uses just about the same amount of power as the HD 7770. We detected 121 W to 135 W for the whole computer while gaming, with equally low figures when the computer was at rest (48 W with the monitor turned on and 41 W with the monitor off). The 7000 series uses ZeroCore Power, which shuts the video card down almost entirely and brings the fan to a complete stop when the screen is asleep.

AMD Radeon HD 7790 PowerTune AMD Radeon HD 7790 PowerTune

On the Radeon HD 7790, AMD revised the method used to vary the card’s clock rates. Before, AMD’s systems used four voltage (DPM) states; now there are eight. Each state corresponds to a different clock/voltage pairing, allowing them to adjust more precisely to fit the workload. AMD says this improves the card’s overall power efficiency.

True or not, what is certain is that the HD 7790 is indeed slightly more power efficient than the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which consumes around 45 W at rest and varies from 135 W to 141 W while gaming.

Performance in Games3/5

AMD’s primary goal with the HD 7790 was to spar with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti, which is just about halfway between the Radeon HD 7770 and the HD 7850 in terms of performance. And it’s mission accomplished, because the 7790 averages 6% faster than the GTX 650 Ti. It’s 14% to 30% faster than the Radeon HD 7770 and 17% slower than the Radeon HD 7850.

AMD Radeon HD 7790
Overall average performance
Click to see more measurements and compare with other models

So, what’s the verdict?

First of all, AMD has indeed reached its goal of making a product that competes with the Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti. Both cards are just about equal in terms of processing performance and power consumption, although AMD does hold a slight advantage.

The pricing strategy, however, is difficult to understand. Costing £115 at launch, the Radeon HD 7790 is at the same price level as its faster, bigger brother, the 1GB Radeon HD 7850. In other words, you get less power for your money. AMD appears to be aware of this and cites, rightly so, that the Radeon HD 7850 1 GB is nearing the end of its life. But in order for the HD 7790 to be a success on the market, the price will have to drop—and quickly—because the 2GB Radeon HD 7850 costs pretty much the same amount. And for more than a simple product line “refresh”, we’ll have to wait until late 2013 at the earliest before we see a new generation of cards head our way.

Pros

  • Compact reference design
  • Power consumption
  • ZeroCore Power

Cons

  • Launch price (not included in our rating)

Conclusion

The AMD Radeon HD 7790 meets its primary goal, which is simply to rival the competition. But the price will have to drop quickly. If it doesn’t, the point of this card’s existence will be debatable.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s