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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
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  • deputc26 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    On the last page.
    "and it would make NVIDIA think long and hard about what to do with what to do with the GTX 460 768MB"

    Oh and this comments section never remembers me despite always ticking the "remember me" box, (W7 Chrome)... annoying
    Reply
  • Belard - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Why not just reduce the price of a 6850 a bit more... And calling it the 6830 wouldn't have hurt that much - since AMD totally screwup the model names of the entire 6000 series.

    Pretty much everyone knows the 6800s are cheaper and slightly updated 5800s.

    Think I'll wait until the 7000s come out... but that maybe in 2012.
    Reply
  • enterco - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    So, 6790 looks like a 5770 with a little performance improvement. For a 5770 / 450 owner it doesn't make any sense. Maybe for a new computer build on a specific tight budget. Reply
  • Arnulf - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    And 30+% the price. Why not go for the best price-performance at low overall price (which 6790 clearly isn't) when on extremely tight budget ? Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Yet another round of "uhm", "oh", "but", "duh" about AMD product.
    In other news, we compare three 350$ AMD cards vs 3 500$ nVidia cards.

    Way to go, Anand.
    Reply
  • Mecavity - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Oh, yay. Wouldn't be a proper article without someone complaining about an nVidia bias.

    A) The most expensive card included is an AMD...?
    B) The article is about a 150$ AMD card...? The case is being argued fairly, and the actual FOCUS is on comparing cards at the same level of pricing...?
    C) Critique works better if you state what you'd like to see included...?
    D) Derp.
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    The article is about 6790 and most of the conclusion page is about how 5830 sucks? (And how much did 5830 suck? Oh', they've dared to add more features while sacrificing a bit of performance and charge a bit more for it, how shameless... And this made it into the title of the product review. Pathetic.) Reply
  • strikeback03 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I noticed they gave this the exact same title they did for the 550Ti - "Coming up short at $150". And really the criticisms are the same - it is overpriced compared to both internal and external competition.

    How would you suggest they get excited over this? And how do you claim bias when one of the products they keep pointing to is the 6850?
    Reply
  • medi01 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Jesus Christ, AMD 3x350$ cards vs 3x500$ nVidia cards, where is bashing of the latter? (expensive, under performing and power hungry)

    How about if bashing, then bash both (who was there "duking out for performance king" eh?) if using softer words, then for all?

    Don't have balls to bash both anymore (stinky nVidia stories, *cough*)? DON'T BASH ANY!!!

    Oh, and last time I've checked, 460 was 160-200$ card (with MSRP 190$). And that was today.
    Reply
  • cknobman - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I agree with ya.

    This article is focusing on the wrong things. Nvidia 460 768 MB is on the way out and has been publicly stated by Nvidia so that is going to leave a huge hole at $150 price point which is where the 6790 fits in. If you check out some of the other review sites the card performs pretty well (Anand your game library for benches sucks, HAWX - really? get with the times already!!!) plus the 6790 overclocks like a champ.

    Sure this is not the perfect $150 card but its most likely going to be the best there is in the immediate future.

    Im disappointed in this article.
    Reply

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