AMD Radeon HD 7790: Affordable DX11 Gaming
Radeon HD 7790 Cards
We got our hands on a couple of Radeon HD 7790 cards for the purposes of this article, one from Asus and another from Sapphire.
As we mentioned on the previous page, reference Radeon HD 7790 series cards have GPUs clocked at 1GHz with 1GB of frame buffer memory clocked at 1.5GHz, for an effective data rate of 6Gbps. The Asus and Sapphire cards featured here, however, are both factory overclocked and differ from the reference design in a couple of ways.
First up is the Asus Radeon HD 7790 Direct CU II. This card sports a 1075MHz GPU clock with 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1.6GHz (6.4Gbps data rate). As its name implies, the card sports a Direct CU II cooler, which is Asus’ way of saying that the heatsink’s copper heatpipes make direct contact with the GPU for better cooling performance. In fact, Asus claims 20% better cooling performance over reference models, with quieter cooling, too. Unfortunately, we don’t have a reference card on hand to verify this claim, but as you’ll see later, the Asus Radeon HD 7790 Direct CU II’s cooler clearly performs very well.
As you can see, the Asus Radeon HD 7790 Direct CU II’s cooler features two relatively large cooling fans that sit atop an array of cooling fins that extend way out past the card’s PCB. The PCB is only about 6.75” long, whereas the entire assembly—including the cooler and fan shroud—stretches to about 8.5”.
Outputs on the Asus Radeon HD 7790 Direct CU II consist of a pair of DVI outputs as well as single HDMI and DisplayPort outputs. Bundled with the card is a typical array of accessories and software, which includes a CrossFire bridge, a DVI-to-VGA adapter, and a copy of Asus’ excellent GPU Tweak performance tuning utility. We should point out that GPU Tweak supports over-clocking and over-volting on the Asus Radeon HD 7790 Direct CU II, which should please users who like to tinker. Time wasn’t on our side with this article though, so we don’t have overclocking scores to share just yet.
We also have the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 1GB Dual-X OC on hand. Like the Asus card, Sapphire’s offering has 1GB of frame buffer memory, and it’s factory overclocked as well. In fact, it has the very same 1075MHz and 1.6GHz (6.4Gbps effective) GPU and memory clocks as the Asus card.
Also like Asus’ offering, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 1GB Dual-X OC has a custom dual-fan cooler with a relatively large array of heatsink fins, which are linked to a baseplate by a couple of thick copper heat-pipes. The Sapphire card, however, uses a longer PCB than the Asus Radeon HD 7790 Direct CU II, though the last inch and half or so of the board is devoid of any components.
The output configuration on the Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 1GB Dual-X OC is also similar to the Asus card, but Sapphire threw in a couple of additional items. Along with the same CrossFire bridge connector and DVI-to-VGA adapter, the Sapphire card also ships with an HDMI cable and dual-4-pin to single 6-pin PCIe power adapter.
Sapphire and Asus are not the only ones readying custom Radeon HD 7790 cards. In addition to the reference designs slated to arrive soon, Gigabyte, MSI, HIS, PowerColor, XFX and others are working on Radeon HD 7790 cards, as well. The main features and specifications for a bunch of upcoming Radeon HD 7790 cards are listed in the image above.