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

Results: OpenGL

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.

  • 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.