AMD Radeon HD 6790 Graphics Card
- Intel Core i7-975 3340 MHz CPU
- ASUS P6T Deluxe motherboard on the Intel X58 chipset
- 6GB of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM from Corsair
- WD Caviar SE WD1600JD 160GB SATA HDD
- Tagan TG900-BZ 900W PSU
- Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, DirectX 11
- 30" Dell 3007WFP monitor
- VSync disabled
- NVIDIA Drivers 267.24/267.26/267.59/267.71
- ATI CATALYST 11.4 beta
- Far Cry 2 (Ubisoft) — DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0 (HDR), built-in benchmarking utility (the Middle level), maximum settings.
- Crysis Warhead (Crytek/EA) — Cargo, DirectX 10.0, Shaders 4.0, Very High settings, batch file, timedemo available by e-mail request.
- Colin McRae: DiRT 2 (Codemasters) — DirectX 10.0/11.0, Ultra High settings, run as follows: "dirt2.exe -benchmark example_benchmark.xml".
- Metro 2033 (4A Games/THQ) — DirectX 11.0, Super High settings, PhysX disabled, run from in game.
- Just Cause 2 (Avalanche Studios/Eidos Interactive) — DirectX 11.0, Super High settings, run from in game.
- Aliens vs. Predator (Rebellion/SEGA) — DirectX 11.0, Shaders 5.0, Very High settings, run from in game.
- F1 2010 (Codemasters) — DirectX 11.0, Ultra High settings, run as follows: "formulaone.exe -benchmark example_benchmark.xml". Game provided by NVIDIA.
- Tropics Benchmark 1.3 (Unigine) — DirectX 10.0, High settings.
- Heaven Benchmark 2.0 (Unigine) — DirectX 11.0, High settings.
- 3DMark 11 (FutureMark) — DirectX 11.0, Performance settings.
We'd like to thank Unigine for helping us set up their benchmarks.
Far Cry 2
Crysis Warhead, Cargo
Colin McRae: DiRT 2
Just Cause 2
Aliens vs. Predator
Tropics Benchmark 1.3
Heaven Benchmark 2.0
AMD Radeon HD 6790 leaves mixed impressions. For starters, the test results indicate that it only outperforms HD 5770 in DirectX 11 tests, and not by much at that. In DirectX 10 benchmarks it sometimes even yields to the predecessor, because its core is cut-down severely in terms of fillrate which is vital in older games. So if HD 6790 was to replace HD 5770, it would be understandable. Some lag in DX10 performance wouldn't be as critical, considering the DX11 potential. But AMD positions HD 6790 as an intermediate solution fit between HD 6850 and HD 5770 in terms of both price and performance. And that's where it gets strange, because HD 6790 is obviously not right in the middle. There are still many DX10 games around, and the cheaper the graphics card, the more chances that it will be used for older games.
The second strange thing is that HD 6790 consumes more than the higher-end HD 6850. To be able to use partially defective chips, AMD has to disable more execution units than it'd have to for HD 6850. At the same time, they also need to increase clock rates so that the novelty doesn't lose to HD 5770 in every test. And the higher the clock rate, the higher the power consumption — HD 6790 consumes a bit more than 150W.
It's also obvious that the cost price of HD 6790 is higher than that of HD 5770 (due to the memory bus, the number of memory chips, etc.). So AMD won't be willing to cut HD 6790 prices.
All right, now let's see how the novelty fares against competitors made by NVIDIA. Radeon HD 6790 outperforms GeForce GTX 550 Ti, but loses to GeForce GTX 460 1GB in almost every test (although the latter is leaving the market already). Once again, you have to watch the prices. If you see that Radeon HD 6790 and GeForce GTX 550 Ti have similar price tags, buy HD 6790.
In general, it's clear that if you need a new graphics card similar to HD 5770, you should consider HD 6790. But if you already have an HD 5770, there are no serious reasons to upgrade to HD 6790. Just remember that AMD partners will most likely roll out custom products, not copies of the reference design. So we'll hold final conclusions for now and wait until those are released.
We express gratitude to AMD for the provided graphics card. The PSU is provided by TAGAN, the monitor is provided by NVIDIA.
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