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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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  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    As a matter of editorial policy I don't like to base my conclusions around future card availability; the only thing for sure about the future is that it's not what I expect it to be.

    "Discontinued" cards are normally available for quite a long time after they're launched, and for the time being the GTX 460 768MB is readily available online and at retail for very good prices.
    Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    You only have to think of other "discontinued" products to remember how popular they were for a good time after they were no longer produced - the Radeon HD 4850, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 250 and the AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE spring to mind. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    ...simply install another 5770.

    Well its what I did.

    Wonder how the 5770 stacks up to the 6790 with 900/5000+ OC.
    Reply
  • marc1000 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I would love to see some RECENT tests with the 5770 CF... all reviews available are from the time of launch, comparing it with the 5870 only and in old games.

    it would be nice to have a recent comparison of CF/SLI from previously mainstream cards (5770/460)

    :-(
    Reply
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    ...this card plays most games with all the effects on full. I want to change it but can't see the point.

    I think the HD7xxx are gonna be game changers though with the bump in performance quite huge compared to HD4xxx and HD5xxx levels.

    As to wether any games are about to test the "*nm cards is another question.
    Reply
  • fingerbob69 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    "*nm should read 28nm. Reply
  • jabber - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Yeah I feel the 5XXX series were a major improvement that probably did far better than AMD expected, especially as they are still largely an attractive buy, two years later.

    So I saw the 6XXX series as merely a refresh of the 5XXX series. I was in no hurry to buy.

    Hopefully the 7XXX series will be the one to watch out for.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    Prices have already "crept up". The GTX460 768MB was available for 130 after rebate for quite a while. Or at least 150 on more expensive brands. Now 150 is the cheapest I can find it. Also, every time you say the GTX460 768MB or the HD6850, if you're getting a 6850 you can get a 1GB GTX 460 for the same price. Just sayin', seems like you're unfairly giving more attention to the AMD product.

    In general though it seems like the GPU manufacturers had a secret meeting where they all got together and decided to start raising prices (profit margins) on all their GPU's. Cause based on performance and past prices the 550ti should be real real close to 100. The 560ti should be basically 200 bucks; 200 is where I'd start recomending that card to people. The GTX460 768MB should be 130 and it should stay there; 1GB should be about 150. And the same can be said for the AMD variants; 6850 would be about 150 and so on.
    Reply
  • Hrel - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    hmm, just checked prices. Cheapest 1GB 460 I'd buy is 170, gigabyte, cheapest 6850 I'd buy is 155, XFX. So I kinda sorta rescind my statement; but not really. You guys still seem like you root for AMD regardless of who they're compared to. I'm not saying you skew your results and test unfairly; that's why I come here, it just seems like you're all kinda rooting for AMD to get on top in every market. Ofcourse if they did maybe you'd start rooting for Intel and Nvidia... we'll probably never know. Reply
  • H8ff0000 - Tuesday, April 05, 2011 - link

    I know this is unrelated to the article, but does anyone know when AnandTech is going to do some P67 reviews? I'd like to see the Sabertooth P67 Rev 3 reviewed, possibly with some other boards for comparison. Reply

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