AMD Radeon HD 6790 1GB Review

Author: SKYMTL
Date: April 4, 2011
Product Name: AMD Radeon HD 6790 1GB
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The HD 6790 1GB within AMD’s Current Lineup

The HD 6790 1GB seems to fit well into AMD’s current lineup while competing with NVIDIA’s GTX 550 Ti. At this point the Barts LE fits right between the HD 6850 and the HD 5770. Also remember that the Juniper XT core is also being used in the OEM-only HD 6770.

Other than the rebranding of the Juniper cores, there really hasn’t been much movement below the $150 price point in either AMD’s or NVIDIA’s lineup over the last few months. Many expected the Turks and Caicos architectures sometime between Q4 2010 and Q1 2011 but other than their use in a few OEM specific scenarios as the HD 6670 and 6450 respectively, we haven’t seen a widespread release. Indeed, it seems like for the time being both every graphics card manufacturer is concentrating upon the $125 and high markets for retail while keeping entry level GPUs for system builders.

One of the more interesting aspects of the HD 6790 is the similarity of its specifications to the old HD 5770. The only real difference between them other than the slightly more advanced architecture present in the Barts core is the memory bus. Thus, we expect performance to be very close between these two GPUs.

When looking at the chart above, a few questions will likely come running into most people’s brains. Even though AMD has drastically cut down on the number of Stream Processors and ROPs, the maximum board power of this card is right up there with the HD 6870. However, it is important to remember that this is how much the card CAN draw rather than how much it WILL draw.

AMD and many of their board partners will be using HD 6870 board designs for the HD 6790 cards. This bodes quite well for overclocking potential even though we will likely see slightly elevated consumption numbers due to the HD 6850’s use of a slightly more efficient on-board PWM. In addition, the HD 6790’s 65Mhz core speed bump and 200Mhz (QDR) GDDR5 increase will also contribute to some differences between its efficiency numbers and those of the HD 6850 1GB.

As we already mentioned, the HD 6790 will fit into the lineup just below AMD’s HD 6850. Surprisingly, the HD 5770 and HD 5750 will continue on well into Q2 2011 and possibly beyond. Many were hoping these cards would eventually be replaced but it looks like that won’t happen for some time as AMD feels they give an excellent option to more budget-minded consumers.

We’re sure that incorrect parallels will likely be drawn between this card and the HD 5830. The HD 5830 ended up being universally lambasted on release due to its price not meshing well with lackluster performance numbers for a 5800-series product. With the HD 6790 on the other hand, there are no illusions of grandeur since it is quite obviously targeted towards a market below the mid-range HD 6800-series and far under the flagship HD 6900-series.

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