Interesting, I really did expect to see much more performance benefit from the 2GB model opposed over the 1GB models. That's not the case, only at 2560x1440 we noticed an increase here and there and realistically, that will never be the monitor resolution you'll be playing games at with a card like this. Realistically 1920x1080/1200 will always be your maximum. That said, I'd still invest the extra tenner for the extra GB as trust me, if you fool a round a little with better textures then that's where 2GB will come in real handy. But yeah, surprising none the less, what a great little card this is.
The R7770 already was a decent performer for the money really. The R7790 however offers a chunk extra in game performance. On average you'll see roughly a third more performance than seen on the R7770 and that's thanks to the slightly revised GCN architecture with Boost function, the increased memory bandwidth and obviously the 256 extra shader processors that take the R7790 to 896 shader/stream/compute processors. The outcome of that equation is simple; better performance, with the factory clocked faster SKUs closing in on the Radeon HD 7850. Now don't expect a game like Crysis 3 to run at 1920x1200 at Very High Quality, no sir, but with AA disabled and a notch lower image quality settings it is possible, especially if you drop down to say 1600x1200. But realistically, everybody has moved on to Full HD monitors at 1920x1080/1200. The sheer amount of performance at this price point remains interesting, and the game image quality you get thrown at you is very nice as well. Hitman is such a title that is demanding on the GPU yet offers such nice eye-candy, and at 1920x1200 in DX11 mode. Lovely. So overall the R7790 is in sync with today's games versus image quality versus a monitor resolution of 1600x1200. If you lower image quality and can forfeit on say AA, then full HD 1920x1080/1200 monitor resolutions become an option as well. This of course differs per game.
Today's tested sample comes from Gigabyte, as you can see it is much larger opposed to any other model we have tested thus far. This has everything to do wit the dual-fan cooler. Like the big design or not, it works out well;. Gigabyte as always uses a blue PCB, which is really something they should step away from IMHO. Overall though its a decent looking card with a cooler that rocks.
Directly related to the cooling are the noise levels. The graphics card has two fans tied to one big-ass heatpipe. It is a fairly low RPM being used though so it's not noisy. Overall you cannot hear this card which is great. Cooling performance overall is really good as well, under heavy stress we see roughly 58 Degrees C, and that's a nice level to be at cooling wise. So on both topics we really can't complain. This is not the high-end game and as such GPU heat and all related variables are just not really an issue.
The Radeon HD 7790 is rated at a 85 Watt TDP. That is fine really. With our measurements we were spot on that number. So yeah, once again these are very acceptable numbers really, so that is not an issue. Obviously you need to add to that the processor, memory, motherboard and other peripheral devices, our recommendation stands at a 450~500 Watt power supply, even with a decent overclock that should be sufficient.
Overclocking then, gosh boring ! Now we do notice decent results, but the end result is the same on all these cards. We had hoped to see a little more performance though, but we'll have to wait and see what all the board partners will do in terms of even higher (factory clocked) clock frequencies. If you need a little more bite, don't be afraid to overclock these cards. The card however is locked at a maximum of 1200 MHz, so you can't pass that easily. 1200 MHz is a viable clock frequency you can reach with probably any model though.
The Radeon HD 7790 cards will sell at roughly 149 USD & 139 EUR. That is of course the regular reference model. Expect the factory overclocked, or should I say faster clocked, products to be 10 to 20 bucks more expensive. And those I find to be mid-range prices. If you browse around a little then you'll find a Radeon HD 7850 with 1 GB of graphics memory for roughly 160 EUR already and yes, obviously the 7850 is a notch faster than the R7790. So keep a close eye on prices.
You know, I've stated this in all R7790 reviews and will continue doing so. My one gripe with R7790 overall is the memory partition. AMD probably should have enforced 2 GB framebuffers as all modern games tend to pass 1GB fairly easily these days. Now there will be 1GB and 2GB versions of this product series, but the 1GB models are the ones being promoted. With most games these days passing 1 GB we would strongly recommend a 2GB card version, but that will cost you an extra 10~15 bucks which again drives up the pricing towards the better R7850. Anyone with a monitor up-to 1600x1200 will get 'very nice' performance with the latest games available whilst applying harsh image quality settings as well. Throttle down on image quality settings a bit and then 1920x1080/1200 is viable and playable as well. The Radeon HD 7790 1GB as tested today works out well, the cooling performance is nice, the noise level's very low, we had a 3rd party cooled SKU at hand and that thus says nothing about reference measurements. Overall we can certainly recommend the Radeon HD 7790 based products if that is what your budget allows you to purchase. We are now slowly entering the phase where entry level cards reach Full HD resolutions. I need to add this little note alright; AMD's Never Settle Reloaded promotion continues. At participating retailers beginning 02 April, 2013, gamers will be able to receive a free copy of BioShock Infinite with a purchase of their new AMD Radeon HD 7790 graphics card. Gigabyte has a terrific offering with their OC card. Totally silent and it keeps the GPU very cool. These cards are great for entry level to mainstream gaming and tagged with an interesting price.
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