The most interesting feature of sub-$200 graphics cards is their ability to transform from mid-range single-card solutions into high-end dual-card ones through the use of multi-GPU technologies like AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI. With dual-GPU capable motherboards not being particularly expensive and with guaranteed support for AMD CrossFire on both Intel and AMD platform motherboards, the prospect of buying a $150 Radeon HD 7790 graphics card now to keep up with the latest games before dropping in another $150 later (subject to future price-cuts) for a solution that performs on-par with some of today's high-end solutions, instead of spending $300 in the future, seems like a sensible thing to do if you can live with the pitfalls inherent to multi-GPU solutions. The bigger question, though, is exactly how well the Radeon HD 7790 scales in CrossFire with today's available titles, to give you an idea of what to expect.
Before you proceed, make sure you've read our single-card reviews:
Benchmark scores in other reviews are only comparable when this exact same configuration is used.
|Test System - VGA Rev. 25|
|Processor:||Intel Core i7-3770K @ 4.6 GHz|
(Ivy Bridge, 8192 KB Cache)
|Motherboard:||ASUS Maximus V Gene|
|Memory:||2x 4096 MB Corsair Vengeance PC3-12800 DDR3 |
@ 1600 MHz 9-9-9-24
|Harddisk:||WD Caviar Blue WD5000AAKS 500 GB|
|Power Supply:||Antec HCP-1200 1200W|
|Software:||Windows 7 64-bit Service Pack 1|
|Drivers:||NVIDIA: 310.70 WHQL|
ATI: Catalyst 13.1 WHQL
HD 7790: 188.8.131.52-130313a
|Display:|| LG Flatron W3000H 30" 2560x1600|
3x Hanns.G HL225DBB 21.5" 1920x1080
- All video card results were obtained on this exact system with exactly the same configuration.
- All games were set to their highest quality setting unless indicated otherwise.
- AA and AF are applied via in-game settings, not via the driver's control panel.
- 1280 x 800, 2x Anti-aliasing. Common resolution for most smaller flatscreens today (17" - 19"). A bit of eye candy turned on in the drivers.
- 1680 x 1050, 4x Anti-aliasing. Most common widescreen resolution on larger displays (19" - 22"). Very good looking driver graphics settings.
- 1920 x 1200, 4x Anti-aliasing. Typical widescreen resolution for large displays (22" - 26"). Very good looking driver graphics settings.
- 2560 x 1600, 4x Anti-aliasing. Highest possible resolution for commonly available displays (30"). Very good looking driver graphics settings.
Alan Wake, released in 2012 for the PC, is a highly successful third-person horror shooter that revolves around the adventures of novelist Alan Wake who has to battle the "darkness" that takes over living and dead things. Alan's signature flashlight is used to strip the forces of darkness of their protection, which makes them vulnerable to conventional weapons.
The engine of Alan Wake uses DirectX 9, but features complex lighting effects that make it quite a demanding title. We benchmarked with the highest settings possible.
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