Radeon HD 7790: A Good Value At $150
In case you missed it, the title of this page is A Good Value At $150. That's the same overarching theme we identified when Nvidia launched its GeForce GTX 650 Ti five months ago. It was a long time coming, but AMD is finally competing at the price point previously monopolized by Nvidia's GK106-based solution.
The Radeon HD 7790 averaged about 8% faster than the GeForce GTX 650 Ti in the few benchmarks we were able to run. That number will go up or down depending on the titles you enjoy and the settings you use. In general, though, they were pretty consistent.
As always, value-adds like Eyefinity, Surround, PhysX, CUDA, performance in OpenCL-enabled apps, and game bundles may sway you further toward one product or another.
If you already own a Radeon HD 6870 or GeForce GTX 560, there's really no reason to spend money on a 7790, even though the new card offers better efficiency and less heat. On the other hand, if you're using a GeForce GTX 650 or Radeon HD 7770, the Bonaire-based board does offer a more notable speed-up. Should you find yourself interested, be aware that availability of Radeon HD 7790s isn't expected until the first week of April. The good news is that AMD is making BioShock Infinite available as a bundle with the card from participating vendors.
The thing is, we're more concerned about the loss of a $180 Radeon HD 7850 1 GB than we are excited about the arrival of a $150 7790. Even if they're lower-margin products for AMD, inexpensive 7850s are great cards for hardcore gamers on a budget. If they disappear at ~$180, we'll be worse off for it, not better.
Don't count Nvidia out, either. With AMD starting a squabble at $150, a counterstrike against the Radeon HD 7850 might help keep prices down. You never know. We recommend keeping a close eye on this space.