• What
    is this?
    You've landed on the AMD Portal on AnandTech. This section is sponsored by AMD. It features a collection of all of our independent AMD content, as well as Tweets & News from AMD directly. AMD will also be running a couple of huge giveaways here so check back for those.
    PRESENTED BY

Final Thoughts

Whether or not AMD calls the Radeon HD 6790 the successor of the Radeon HD 5830, that’s what it is. So 5830 comparisons are quite appropriate, both to look at what AMD did well at and where it doesn’t quite escapes its ancestor.

Perhaps the biggest problem with the 5830 was that it was a 3rd tier part from a high-end GPU; power, temperature, and noise could approach the levels of a high-end GPU without the matching performance. Barts is not a high-end GPU, and as such even if the 6790 were as hot/loud/power-hungry as the 6870, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Thankfully it looks like power consumption is being kept in check, so partners should be able to develop reasonably cool & quiet cards. In practice the 6790 will probably be a bit worse than the 6850 in this regard, which again is not great given that it achieves only 85% of the performance, but it’s not unreasonable. The 6790 is still a 3rd tier product, but it’s learning from the past.

The problem with the 6790, much like the 5830 before it, is pricing. When you can pick up a GeForce GTX 460 768MB for $150 or a Radeon HD 6850 for $10 more, what sense does a $150 6790 make? It doesn’t make any sense, and there’s the problem. The impression I get is that AMD wanted to make a card to thoroughly trample the GTX 550 Ti, and indeed the 6790 can do that. The problem is that they’re pricing it against the GTX 460 and 6850 right now. The GTX 550 Ti is a good $20 lower (and probably should be cheaper still).

At the end of our 5830 review last year, we said the issue came down to $20: the 5830 was $20 too expensive for what it offered. It’s fitting then that this seems to be the same problem with the 6790. If it were a $130 card it would fit in well between AMD’s other cards; it would beat the GTX 550 Ti, and it would make NVIDIA think long and hard about what to do with the GTX 460 768MB. Instead AMD is committing the same mistake as the 5830 and as the GTX 550 Ti by launching it at $150. $150 is quickly becoming a great place to mislaunch cards.

Long term I’m a bit worried that the $150 price will stick, giving AMD a price floor to bring up 6800 series prices. The 6790 is solidly ahead of the GTX 550 Ti, so if that’s the only thing AMD bases all of their pricing around they can charge more than the GTX 550 Ti, and more for the 6800 series on top of that. I hope it doesn’t come to that, but we have seen video card prices creep up before.

For the time being there’s not much going for the 6790 to recommend it. Throw some rebates on the Radeon HD 6790 to get it down to $130 and we can talk. Until then the GeForce GTX 460 768MB or the Radeon HD 6850 are both much better products.

Power, Temperature, & Noise
POST A COMMENT

69 Comments

View All Comments

  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Until we shift from 40nm, probably. Reply
  • mgl888 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Not much they can do without a process shrink. Architectural improvements can only go so far. Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    No, there is no wall to speak of. The 4870 was a "first tier" part and this 6790 is "third tier". Compare the performance of the 4870 with a 6970 instead (and indeed the launch price of the 4870 with the launch price of the 6970) and you'll see we are doing just fine thank you very much. Reply
  • tno - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    But not long after release the 4890 was retailing after discounts for $160-150. That's what I bought mine at and I have yet to find a compelling card to take its place. Part of that does have to do with a decrease in my gaming, but if I was a budget gamer, I would look long and hard at a used 4890. Reply
  • tno - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    +1 Reply
  • pandemonium - Wednesday, April 06, 2011 - link

    Only if you don't consider the broad picture and are looking at performance individually. Reply
  • marc1000 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I have a 5770. and even with the desire to upgrade to 6950/gtx570, i try to remain honest with me and tell to myself: "I don't need it"

    this level of performance if perfectly fine to play all current games, because we are all stuck with console ports...
    Reply
  • jordanclock - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I have a 5770 as well, and at 1680x1050, almost everything runs flawlessly, even with AA at 2x or 4x. The situation with multiplatform development is starting to really agitate PC gamers, I think. Crysis 2 looks infinitely better on PC (And ultra high end setups run tri-monitor quite well!), Dragon Age 2 has a texture pack that consoles wouldn't even have the memory to use, and so many games are looking identical on PC and console, meaning that while they run at high framerates on modest hardware, there is no option to increase visual fidelity to offset the increased hardware. Reply
  • tno - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I concur. I have a 4890 that I picked up for $160 not long after its release after discounts. This thing was top tier, and it was pretty unique product coming out when ATI started treating their multi-GPU single card solutions as their true halo products. And for its flaws (noisy, power hungry and no DX11) it competes for performance at its original price.

    This is mirrored, frankly, in the PC market where the effective performance increase, that is performance that the average PC user (not us) will notice, has remained fairly flat since Conroe. What has improved is features. For that same budget dual-core Conroe price you get an integrated GPU worth its salt, improved efficiency, improved encoding/decoding performance (the thing users might notice most) and, possibly, more cores.
    Reply
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I also have a HD4890, bought for $170, and attached an Accelero S1 cooler, so its virtually silent (only a very slow spinning fan that I can't hear across the heatsink). I'm still amazed after so much time that I cannot get a better card for the same price - things just haven't progressed much in the bang-for-buck department. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now