AMD is adding another card to round-out their 6700 series selection: the Radeon HD 6790. It is aimed performance/upper mid-range market and will be retailing for $149. It’s supposed to lie between the 6850 and 5770/6770 in terms of performance and compete with the NVIDIA Geforce GTX 550Ti. Including all of the features common to other 6700 series cards, like 16 render back-end units, this should offer a great 1080p gaming experience for consumers.
Features and Specifications
|Engine Clock||Up to 840 Mhz|
|Compute Performance||Up to 1.34 TFLOPs|
|Texture Fillrate||33.6 GTexel/s|
|Pixel Fillrate||13.4 GPixel/s|
|Memory Clock||Up to 1050 MHz|
|Memory Bus Width||256 bit|
|Memory Data Rate||Up to 4.2 Gbps|
|Memory Bandwidth||Up to 134.4 GB/s|
|Load Board Power||150W|
|Idle Board Power||19W|
It is note worthy that just about all of these specifications are below the 6870. Granted, it isn’t aimed to compete with the 6870, but that is all that I had here to compare with. This comparison will certainly give some perspective on performance/price scaling in the AMD ranks, though. Also by that comparison, it is easy to see that these specs are a little more for the mainstream to mid-level gaming arena.
I’m not going to post the normal plethora of different angled pictures showing off every nook and cranny of this card because AMD has assured me the sample they sent will never see the light of day. All of their partners are releasing their own designs and some even come with only one extra power plug. AMD was gracious enough to include some shots of these products that should be available now or in the near future. I’m extremely grateful to see none of these cards are using the mouse wheel style fan because those create way too much noise.
The card I received wasn’t too bad at overclocking even though I couldn’t unlock any of the voltages. I ended up settling with 985 MHz on the core and 1215 MHz on the RAM. That equates to a 17% gain on the core and 15% gain on the RAM, which isn’t anything to sneeze at. I didn’t have enough time to play with flashing the BIOS to see if I could unlock any hidden specs like extra stream processors. If it is possible to do so, then that would definitely add extra value to the card. As it stands, the core and RAM speeds alone are very close to what I could achieve with the PowerColor PCS+ 6870, so all hope is not lost.
There isn’t really anything outrageous in these benchmark graphs. The 6870 I had on hand won every test with ease, as it should. Even with a comparable core and RAM clock speeds, the added specs of the 6870 steal the show. In the 1080p tests, it is notable that every test stayed above 30 FPS which really is the lower limit of perceivable choppiness in games, as I’m sure you are aware. This was the first time I’ve run the HAWX2 benchmark and it was very frustrating that there was no way to enable the Terrain Tessellation under the DX11 section in the setting. I’m sure that would add another level of complexity to the test to help bring these cards to their knees.
- Intel i7 2600k @ stock
- Patriot Sector 5 Viper II 2×2 GB @ DDR3-2133 cas9
- Zalman CNPS9900-LED
- NZXT HALE-90 850W
- Asus P8P67 Pro
Taking a quick look through HWBot for some data on the GTX 550Ti, you can see the 6790 competes almost neck and neck depending on the test. AMD is claiming that the 6790 beats the 550 Ti by up to 30% in gaming benchmarks so it will be interesting to see what the HWBot rankings show in the next few weeks as overclockers get their hands on these.
In terms of benchmarking, the only record you are going to be breaking with this card will be the ones specific to the 6790. This isn’t a high-end screamer but it still holds its own in its proper segment. When you look around for cards that are about $150 you’ll see the 6850 just above, the 5770 just below, and the GTX 550 Ti right there. So, for the price this is a decent card. It overclocks so you can stretch your dollar a little farther and if it is possible to unlock some features with a BIOS flash then I could see this card being a hot commodity in the future. Overall, I’m marking the 6790 Overclockers Approved because it holds true to its mantra of being an affordable 1080p gaming solution.