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Results: OpenGL

AMD Radeon HD 7790 Review: Graphics Core Next At $150
By , Igor Wallossek

Why OpenGL?

Recently, we've had a number of readers request OpenGL benchmarks to complement our DirectX-based games. So, today we're adding them to the test suite. In order to get an idea of how these cards handle 2D and 3D in a professional environment, we're subjecting them to the Cadalyst 2012 metric using a fully-patched and current version of AutoCAD 2013. Then, we enlist the help of various Unigine benchmarks running in OpenGL mode to gauge gaming performance.

AutoCAD 2013

AMD‘s cards do surprisingly poorly in the 3D AutoCAD test, considering their strong DirectX performance in our gaming benchmarks. Up and down the line-up, they're soundly beaten by Nvidia's cards. 

The results aren't quite as polarizing in our 2D run, though Nvidia's GeForce GTX 660 still tops the Radeon HD 7850. Performance from the Radeon HD 7790 is particularly bad, though, hampered by a driver issue, perhaps.

Synthetic OpenGL Benchmarks

Unigine Heaven 4.0 requires no introduction, so we’ll skip right to the analysis. This time around, the cards finish in the order we would have expected based on the DirectX results. It also appears that the Radeons have an easier time handling the tessellation load (normal) than the GeForce boards.

The Sanctuary benchmark emphasizes other areas, and with tessellation out of the picture, the AMD boards fall behind in OpenGL performance. Here is a short rundown of this benchmark’s features:

  • Five dynamic lights
  • HDR rendering
  • Parallax occlusion mapping
  • Ambient occlusion mapping
  • Translucence
  • Volumetric light and fog
  • Particle systems
  • Postprocessing
  • Interactive experience with fly-through mode
  • Stereo 3D modes


Unigine Tropics paints a similar picture as Sanctuary, although it, too, focuses on other aspects:

  • Dynamic sky with light scattering
  • Live water with a surf zone and caustics
  • Special materials for vegetation
  • HDR rendering
  • Parallel split shadow map
  • Depth of field
  • Real-time ambient occlusion
  • Up to 2M polygons per frame
  • Simulation of changing light conditions
  • Interactive experience with fly-through mode


It looks like OpenGL performance is a sore spot for AMD‘s current Radeon cards, at least in Windows. Aside from the 2D test, where driver optimizations look like they're needed, the Radeon HD 7790 falls exactly where we'd expect it to within AMD's product stack.

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