While we’re all waiting for the next generation graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, the big red is the first one out of the gate to bring us their next generation hardware.Today we’ll be testing out the Sapphire HD 7790.
Within the packaging you have a handy 1.8m HDMI cable, enforcing the notion that the HD 7790 will be ideal for an HTPC. That said, the 500W minimum PSU requirement was a bit strange since I was expecting it to be around 400W. With that, however, let’s have a look at the specs below.
Not bad for roughly AED 600, but keep in mind that the HD 7790′s biggest competitor isn’t the HD 7770, but the HD 7850, costing just AED 100 to AED 150 more depending on the manufacturer. Other than that we have the Nvidia GTX 650Ti which costs about AED 650 to AED 700. Also, that the Sapphire HD 7790 OC comes with a factory overclock of 75MHz, giving you 1075MHz on the core clock.
Unfortunately we didn’t have an AMD HD 7850 on hand to test out with the latest drivers, so here’s the XFX HD 7770 Black Edition and a factory Nvidia GTX 650Ti for comparison. The test system specs are below:
And these were the settings used for benchmarking:
And without further ado, here is what the new AMD HD 7790 with the GCN 2.0 architecture is capable of.
The benchmarks done in 1680 x 1050 were done to make direct comparisons with the GTX 650Ti and the HD 7770, but as you can see, the HD 7790 is fairly capable of 1080p gaming as well.
Now I wasn’t expecting much in terms of overclocking, but using MSI AfterBurner, I was able to overclock the Core clock from 1075MHz all the way up to the maximum limit of 1200MHz. That’s an almost 12% jump in core clock speeds. Sadly the memory clock was locked at 1600MHz (6400MHz effective) speed. So let’s see what we get with this speed bump.
That’s a minor performance bump, unfortunately, limited by the 128-bit memory bandwidth. I guess AMD really didn’t want the HD 7790 cutting into the HD 7850 territory, which is why the arbitrary limitations. Well, one side effect of this is, apart from the low price, the low temperatures. Of course, Sapphire’s Dual-X heatsink with two 74mm fans help out a lot too.
So what the AMD HD 7790 represents is a dilemma for PC enthusiasts on a budget. On the one hand, for roughly $160 the HD 7790 gives quite the bang for buck, but on the other hand having been released at the tail-end of the existing lifecycle of the HD 7000 series means that not only are more powerful cards (namely the HD 7800 series) disturbingly closer in price, but that this card will be outdated within 6 months when the new HD 8700 series will be out. Sure, AMD can delay its release and simply launch the HD 8800 series first, bringing out the HD 8700 series later, but all of that could change depending on what models Nvidia brings out for the GTX 700 series.
And then there are the new next-gen consoles, with the promise to match the highest-end of PCs right now. So what does a budget gamer do? Well, if you can’t wait to play some of the latest PC releases, such as Crysis 3, Tomb Raider and StarCraft II, then now’s as good a time as any to buy a budget mid-range graphics card. Or you could always wait a little bit longer…