AMD Radeon HD 7790 Review: Graphics Core Next At $150

Test Setup And Benchmarks

I don't think we've ever been given so little time to review a graphics card. So, we're focusing on testing where it matters most: the popular 1920x1080 desktop resolution. If you have three screens, expect to spend more on a graphics card better-suited to 5760x1080.

We're including Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti as the 7790's most obvious competition. We also have AMD's Radeon HD 7770 and 7850 1 GB, representing the cards surrounding 7790 in AMD's line-up. In addition, the older Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 560 should show us how the new card stands up to older technology. And as always, factory-overclocked settings are dialed back to the reference specification.

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Test System
CPUIntel Core i7-3960X (Sandy Bridge-E), 3.3 GHz/3.9 GHz Max Turbo, Six Cores, LGA 2011, 15 MB Shared L3 Cache, Hyper-Threading enabled.
MotherboardASRock X79 Extreme9 (LGA 2011) Chipset: Intel X79 Express
NetworkingOn-Board Gigabit LAN controller
MemoryCorsair Vengeance LP PC3-16000, 4 x 4 GB, 1600 MT/s, CL 8-8-8-24-2T
GraphicsGeForce GTX 650 2 GB GDDR5GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1 GB GDDR5GeForce GTX 560 1 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 7770 1 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 7850 1 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 6870 1 GB GDDR5Radeon HD 7790 1 GB GDDR5
Hard DriveSamsung 470-series 256 GB (SSD)
PowerePower EP-1200E10-T2 1200 W ATX12V, EPS12V
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 8
DirectXDirectX 11.1
Graphics DriversAMD Catalyst 13.3 Beta 2Nvidia GeForce 314.21 BetaRadeon HD 7790 Catalyst Beta Driver
Borderlands 2v., Custom Benchmark, 60-second Fraps run
Crysis 3v., Custom Benchmark, 60-second Fraps run
F1 2012v., Included Benchmark, 60-second Fraps run
Far Cry 3v., Custom Benchmark, 50-second Fraps run
Tomb Raiderv.1.0.722.3, Custom Benchmark, 45-second Fraps run
  • johnsonjohnson
    I thought the HD 7850 1GB is good value at $150 after rebate and 2GB at $180 after rebate.
  • mayankleoboy1
    Its crazy to see how much performance you can get in $150. The HD7790 performs 90% of the 6870, which menas its almost equal to a HD5870 :O , which was the top chip a few years back.
  • nukemaster
    Very good performance for the price.

    Its a good time to build mid end systems :)
  • Nintendo Maniac 64
    Too bad the OpenGL benches weren't implemented before Tom's did that "Gaming on workstation GPUs" article...
  • amdfangirl
    I guess I know what my next GPU will be.

    6870 performance in a 85W envelope is amazing.
  • rdc85
    It really strong rival for 650Ti....

    Glad to see some competition at entry/budget level card.....
  • vmem
    wow, nice job AMD...

    and perhaps they finally realized that they make crappy reference coolers at best and just let Sapphire go ahead and ship to Tom's lol. In all honesty, as an AMD exclusive partner, Sapphire should just go ahead and take over reference cooler design for AMD, they make some awesome stuff
  • blazorthon
    amdfangirlI guess I know what my next GPU will be. 85W TDP... basically = to a HD 5870... I can't believe it...I'll get the 2GB and finally be able to play Skyrim 1080p w/high res textures xD.
    IDK about it at that point. High-res stuff and all that can eat through poor memory bandwidth cards such as this quite easily.
  • vmem
    amdfangirlI guess I know what my next GPU will be. 85W TDP... basically = to a HD 5870... I can't believe it...I'll get the 2GB and finally be able to play Skyrim 1080p w/high res textures xD.
    Honestly, if you put on enough high res mods, even my 7970 barely keeps up... still a gorgeous game tho, and you'll enjoy it just fine with a little tweaking and a 7790
  • blazorthon
    Well, it seems to not hold up quite to the 90% of a 7850 rumors, but it's at a respectable ~80% of it on average. For $150, that is definitely a great competitor.