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AMD's Radeon HD 6790 Reference Card

AMD Radeon HD 6790 Review: More Mid-Range Might
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Hot on the heels of Nvidia's GeForce GTX 550 Ti introduction, AMD releases a card with the same MSRP and vastly superior performance. But can it also stand up to the GeForce GTX 460 768 MB? We put the new card to the test!

The reference Radeon HD 6790 is about 10 ¼ inches long and about 4 ¼ inches tall. At 1 lb. 6 oz., it is the exact size and weight of the reference Radeon HD 6870.

Actually, with two six-pin PCIe power cables on top, it might be more accurate to say that the Radeon HD 6790 reference card is identical to the Radeon HD 6870. This is surprising, since we expected that the Radeon HD 6850 would be a closer match, given a relaxed power requirement. This doesn’t seem to be the case, and AMD's specifications indicate 150 W TDP. That's essentially the same as its Radeon HD 6870 and 23 W more than the 6850.

Of course, manufacturers will go their own route, and the reference design is often ignored. We hope to see Radeon HD 6790 cards with only a single PCIe power cable show up. After all, a 16-lane PCIe slot delivers up to 75 W and a six-pin power connector serves up 75 W as well. In theory, there's no reason to ship these boards with two six-pin connectors. And indeed, just before publication, AMD sent us an email saying, "Though the reference boards we sent out to you may resemble the 6870, the AIB designs will vary greatly from what you’re seeing on our sample boards, including PCB, power connectors, cooler design etc. This means the AIBs have the choice to, for example, include one or two power connectors on the PCB." As an example, PowerColor's Radeon HD 6790 will require a single power connector.

Like the Radeon HD 6800-series cards, AMD's Radeon HD 6790 has a single CrossFire bridge, limiting this board to dual-GPU configurations.

The Radeon HD 6790 reference card plays host to two DVI, one HDMI, and two mini-DisplayPort outputs. As with all Radeon 6000-series cards, the DVI port beside the exhaust grille is a single-link output, while the other is dual-link-capable. 

The PCB is identical to the Radeon HD 6870; no surprises here.

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  • 2 Hide
    rohitbaran , April 5, 2011 3:16 AM
    Wow. Great card for the price, considering what nVidia has for the same segement.
  • 4 Hide
    tacoslave , April 5, 2011 3:18 AM
    I think the 550ti is the most useless release this year and yes even though the 6790 card draws more power than i would like its still miles ahead of the 550 ti. As for the gtx460 768 i think it would be stupid to take it off the market its nvidia's new 8800gt and only competition for amd 6790.
  • -1 Hide
    ct1615 , April 5, 2011 4:17 AM
    nice card but what's the price? most ati 5770 are $130 out the door (that's no 6-8 week rebate checks for those of you stupid enough to count them into the price) and the GTX 460 is $150 out the door. that pretty much leaves the $140 segment to it.
  • 1 Hide
    compton , April 5, 2011 4:17 AM
    The best part of 6790 appears to be the bitchin' CF scaling, if nothing else. Depending on where prices end up, it still would be hard to recommend when a few dollars more can get you the 6850.
  • 2 Hide
    plznote , April 5, 2011 4:19 AM
    Should be a bit cheaper imo.
  • 0 Hide
    compton , April 5, 2011 4:21 AM
    I would hope that prices end up around $139 or so, without rebates. Still the 5770 and 460s are the value kings, so I'm glad to see AMD not over pricing them. nVidia could take a lesson.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , April 5, 2011 4:23 AM
    error with 6970 min fps f1 game at 1920 x 1080 res
  • 0 Hide
    Trueno07 , April 5, 2011 4:33 AM
    Wow, nice card for the money, and very competitive. Good job AMD...
  • 1 Hide
    ct1615 , April 5, 2011 4:44 AM
    funny Tom's loves this card but anantech (said it came up short) and hardware secrets both said pass on it.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 5, 2011 4:46 AM
    rohitbaranWow. Great card for the price, considering what nVidia has for the same segement.

    Nvidia no longer has anything in this segment. Well, maybe the GTX460 768, but on average it's still priced above $150. The GTX550Ti underwent an expected below MSRP price drop soon after launch, and the average price is now around $130, probably where it should've been to start.
    tacoslaveI think the 550ti is the most useless release this year and yes even though the 6790 card draws more power than i would like its still miles ahead of the 550 ti. As for the gtx460 768 i think it would be stupid to take it off the market its nvidia's new 8800gt and only competition for amd 6790.

    Again the GTX550Ti doesn't directly compete with the HD6790 and has underwent a pretty significant price drop in the short time since its launch. The GTX560 is set to replace the GTX460 768 and compete directly against the HD6790 at the $150 price point.
  • 1 Hide
    bombat1994 , April 5, 2011 6:25 AM
    Nvidia fail at the mid range segment. the only good card they have released recently was the 460. the 450, 550, failed hard. this card will be good if the companies can lower the the power usage. good job ati
  • 0 Hide
    ivan_chess , April 5, 2011 6:39 AM
    On the final graph, why is the 6790 listed below the 460? According to the graph it should be above it.
  • 0 Hide
    turboflame , April 5, 2011 6:55 AM
    The HD6790 is only a good counter to the GTX 550 purely because the GTX 550 isn't worth buying either.
  • 0 Hide
    danbfree , April 5, 2011 6:57 AM
    6850's are $145-150 after rebate, $165-170 without on Tom's sponsor site, Newegg... seems like worth the extra bit more to me!
  • 0 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , April 5, 2011 7:05 AM
    The Geforce 550 Ti is an Nvidia sales gimmick too fool people into buying a next gen card that's in production.
  • 0 Hide
    memadmax , April 5, 2011 7:14 AM
    An 11 watt power difference between the Nvidia and ATI card will hardly drive me away from the ATI card given the performance difference.....
  • 0 Hide
    rolli59 , April 5, 2011 7:21 AM
    Will be a great buy after the prices settle.
  • 0 Hide
    C 64 , April 5, 2011 8:14 AM
    Nice card - I wonder will there be a passive cooled version like the 5770 has. This would definitely made me save money for an upgrade.
    Silent yet still quite powerful => BUY!
  • 0 Hide
    mattmock , April 5, 2011 8:14 AM
    "...any screen size not divisible by eight suffers a performance penalty. This is something that will likely be patched in the future."
    Considering that it has been over a month since bulletstorm was released and it is only an 8 hour game, I think it is time to change this line to
    "...any screen size not divisible by eight suffers a performance penalty. This is something that is unlikely to patched in a reasonable timeframe."
  • 0 Hide
    henydiah , April 5, 2011 8:34 AM
    i still use vga on board... i want buy it
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