Value and Conclusion
|9.4||The new Radeon HD 7790 is based on AMD's new Bonaire graphics core, which is an evolutionary step towards new GPU technology. It uses more shaders and a new dynamic clock algorithm that promises higher performance than AMD's original PowerTune Boost. In our testing, we see nice performance results that sit right in between the HD 7770 GHz Edition and HD 7850. This makes the HD 7790 capable of full-HD 1080p gaming, but in some titles, you might have to go easy on anti-aliasing levels, or reduce details slightly for the best gaming experience. PowerColor's HD 7790 Turbo Duo comes with a GPU overclock out of the box, which is good for a 3% performance improvement over the reference design. Unlike other cards tested today, the memory is not overclocked, which would have been nice.|
Overclocking our card worked well, but was not as good as with the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X. Real-life performance improvement after overclocking turned out to be 10%, which certainly is worth it, especially on this card, because it helps make up for the missing memory overclock. Unfortunately, voltage control is not possible at this time because all cards use a new voltage controller that is incompatible with current overclocking software. AMD has promised an updated SDK that adds voltage control for Bonaire in the future. It's nice to see a little heatsink on the voltage regulators, which is a nice treat, even though I don't think such cooling is absolutely necessary.
The HD 7790 delivers excellent performance-per-watt numbers. PowerColor's implementation draws a little bit more power than other cards we tested today, but it still claims a leading performance-per-watt spot. This should provide a good idea of things to come for future Radeon graphics cards. In our testing, the card never exceeded 101W, not even in Furmark, so it will run perfectly fine with weaker power supplies—something that's important in this market segment. While slightly improved, Blu-ray power consumption is still not as good as that of NVIDIA's cards, but we are getting there.
Thanks to the low power consumption, heat output of the card is quite low, which means board partners can use less complex cooling solutions. PowerColor's fan delivers great temperatures and noise levels. The card should be inaudible during desktop work and barely audible while gaming. The ASUS HD 7790 DC II that we also reviewed today is a bit quieter in gaming, but not by much.
Pricing of the reference design HD 7790 is very reasonable with $149. PowerColor is not asking a premium for their HD 7790 Turbo Duo, which definitely helps their card compete with others. The price is, everything considered, what tipped the scale for me, which is why PowerColor's card received a score that is 0.1 points higher than that of the other cards. All HD 7790 cards come with a Bioshock Infinite game coupon—one of the most anticipated titles this season. If you don't need the game, you can easily sell the coupon for $20-$30, which helps offset the cost of the card. Compared to the GTX 650 Ti, costing $140 at this time, the HD 7790 is a bit faster but also a bit more expensive, so there is no clear winner here unless you factor in the game coupon that will make the HD 7790 the better deal. If you are willing to spend a bit more money, the HD 7850 is available for $180. It provides around 20% higher performance and comes with two game coupons (another $20 worth of resale value). There are many options in the sub-$200 segment right now, but you really can't go wrong with either choice—it all comes down to your budget.