Meet The Radeon HD 7790 & Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X Turbo

Today we’ll be looking at two cards, AMD’s reference card and Sapphire’s customized HD 7790 Dual-X OC. As is typical for cards in this price segment, the designs are relatively simple and as such only a few partners will be using the reference design as opposed to rolling their own designs. At the same time AMD is pushing their partners’ factory overclocked cards hard – we have the Sapphire and then 3 more on their way – but it’s important to keep in mind that not every last 7790 will be factory overclocked. So AMD’s Spartan reference card is a good example of baseline 7790 performance will be like, including how well it performs with a simple, single-fan open air cooler.

As we alluded to a moment ago, AMD’s reference 7790 is a spartan card. At under 7” long it’s actually shorter than the 7770 and has more in common with the 7750 as far as board length goes. Cooling is provided by a small open air cooler, composed of a circular heatsink with copper heatpipes running up from the base of the card and into the heatsink fins. At the center is a single, small fan responsible for providing the airflow for the card. Meanwhile towards the front of the card we find a small upright heatsink, providing the minimal cooling necessary for the MOSFETs regulating power for the card.

As we’re looking at a 128bit card, memory is provided by 4 6GHz Hynix GDDR5 memory modules, placed on the front of the card underneath the heatsink. A lot of AMD’s partners will be shipping their cards with the memory overclocked to 6.4GHz, which is a fairly common overclock for Hynix’s GDDR5 modules these days.

Elsewhere on the card we can see the sole 6pin PCIe power socket, pointing towards the rear of the card. The 7790 does draw more power than the 7770, and while total power consumption is fairly low, it’s still over 75W and hence requires external power. Meanwhile at the top of the card we can see a single CrossFire connector. AMD believes offering CF here when NVIDIA’s closest product doesn’t (the GTX 650 Ti) is a marketable advantage, but CFing a 1GB card in 2013 strikes us as a poor idea.

Finally, for display connectivity AMD has deviated from the rest of the 7000 series a bit. The 7700 and 7800 series used a single row of display connectors, typically composed of an HDMI port, a DL-DVI-I port, and 2 miniDPs. With 7790 however AMD is dropping the miniDPs in favor of one full-size DisplayPort, and at the same time they’re bringing back the stacked DVI connector. 

Taking up space on the 2nd slot of the card’s bracket is a DL-DVI-D port, giving us the first AMD card with two DVI ports in this price range in some time. Note that while Bonaire can drive up to 6 displays it can only drive 2 TMDS-type displays (DVI/HDMI), so the second DVI port can only be used if the HDMI port is not in use.

Radeon HD 7790 Specification Comparison
  Radeon HD 7790 (Ref) Sapphhire HD 7790 OC
Base Clock 1000MHz 1075MHz
Memory Clock 6GHz 6.4GHz
Frame Buffer 1GB 1GB
Width Double Slot Double Slot
Length N/A N/A
Warranty N/A 2 Year
Price Point $149 $159

Meet The Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC

Moving on, we’re also taking a look at a partner card today, Sapphire’s HD 7790 Dual-X OC. Virtually every partner is releasing a factory overclocked card of some kind with their own take on the design, but Sapphire’s 7790 should be a good representation of what to expect given how similar many of the 7790 designs are.

To that end Sapphire’s Dual-X cooler is your fairly standard twin fan design, utilizing a pair of shallow fans mounted over an aluminum heatsink that runs over the length of the card. A pair of copper heatpipes run from the baseplate over the GPU to the heatsink, with the entire solution serving as an open-air cooler. Note that while Sapphire is using AMD’s reference PC design here, they have lengthened their PCB to match the length of their heatsink, and to allow them to turn the PCIe socket 90 degrees so that it now is against the top of the card rather than the rear.

As given away by the OC name, Sapphire will be shipping their card with a decent factory overclock. Shipping speeds will be 1075MHz for the core and 6.4GHz for the memory, a 7.5% core overclock and 6.5% memory overclock respectively. This will be the most common factory overclock, with several other partners shipping their top-end cards with the same overclock.

Other than the custom cooler and factory overclock, Sapphire’s card is otherwise functionally identical to AMD’s reference card. We’re looking at the same display output configuration of 1x DP, 1x HDMI, and 2x DL-DVI, with the same CrossFire capabilities. Sapphire is putting the MSRP of the card at $159, putting a $10 premium on their cooler and factory overclock.

The New PowerTune: Adding Further States The Test
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  • silverblue - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    You must've missed the part about them simply not having as much time to test the 7790 as they'd have liked because they were at GTC. Other sites apologised for their lack of time as well.

    There's a whole load of other reviews out there; only a few have overclocking results (Guru3D notably), and as far as I can see only AT, of the major sites, has both the 7790 and a factory overclocked 7790 in the same test. Guru3D is alone in providing a CrossFire test and though two 7790s perform about the same as a sole 670, there's no power readings. There's a good number of different titles being benchmarked so it's not strictly a list of AMD-says-test-these-titles, plus Tomb Raider, a Gaming Evolved title, performs better on NVIDIA hardware. There's a few bugs with the beta drivers used for the 7790 in these reviews most notably with latencies (a bug that has already been fixed with the next Catalyst release so yes, we will see new drivers soon), however the latency values are so far ahead on average of what we used to see from AMD that this can hardly be classed as an issue. Testing has generally centred on 1920x1080 because that's really the limit where cards like this are supposed to be performing - there's little point in 1024x768 and an equal measure of futility trying for 5760x1080 or whatever; the former is ridiculously low res and the latter is ridiculously ambitious even for a 7970 or 670/680.

    Sapphire's blurb about multi-monitor usage via the TweakTown website:

    "Working or gaming with multiple monitors is becoming increasingly popular, and the SAPPHIRE HD 7700 series supports this with AMD Eyefinity, now in its second generation. The SAPPHIRE HD 7790 OC Edition has two DVI ports (DVI-I and DVI-D), HDMI and a single DisplayPort output, supporting up to four monitors.

    The SAPPHIRE HD 7790 OC Edition model supports the FleX feature, pioneered by SAPPHIRE, that allows three digital displays to be connected to the DVI and HDMI outputs and used in AMD Eyefinity mode without the need for an external active adapter. All four outputs can be used in AMD Eyefinity mode, but the fourth display must be a DisplayPort monitor or connected with an active adapter."

    I've heard AMD's launch date for this is today; Guru3D has the following to say:

    "But I need to add this little note alright; AMD's Never Settle Reloaded promotion continues. At participating retailers beginning 02 April, 2013, gamers will be able to receive a free copy of BioShock Infinite with a purchase of their new AMD Radeon HD 7790 graphics card. See, now that's great value. The Radeon HD 7790 series cards will be available in stores starting April 2, 2013"

    Trusting this is of some use to you...
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    I've run 2 flex edition cards, you idiot.
    Have you ?
    Run any MDT nVidia galaxy cards dummy ?
    How about all dvi outs so you daon't have to have $100's of dollars of soon to die amd dangly cables ?
    Heck a friend just got ANOTHER 6870 he usually runs 4 monitors, but that could only run 2 OOB and he has loads of cables, so he had to buy another cable just to run a 3rd monitor - it took 2 weeks to arrive...
    ROFL
    AMD SUCKS with eyefinity / multiple monitors and nVidia DOES NOT - nVidia keeps the end user in mind and makes it INEXPENSIVE to set up 3 or 4 monitors !

    Amd makes it cost prohibitive.
    AMD SUCKS, they lost again, totally.
    Reply
  • geniusloci - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    You are a pathetically simple little mind, aren't you? Reply
  • geniusloci - Saturday, March 23, 2013 - link

    What planet do you come from?
    This card will run 4 monitors, eyefinity has done this very well, forever. With discrete audio per monitor. Nvidia is really getting handed it's ass by AMD in this category.
    This card will spank it's nvidia competition in civ5, since civ uses opencl, and nvidia sucks at opencl (and their current cards even suck at cuda).
    Crossfire: there's a crossfire port at the top, genius. It will obviously crossfire.
    Too bad Nvidia's 2D quality and video quality is such utter shit. I might have actually used that gtx660 I bought instead of sending it back for a 7870.
    Reply
  • CeriseCogburn - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    You have your display port monitor or $100 active display cable dummy ? LOL
    4 monitors MY BUTT.
    Another clueless amd fanboy.
    Reply
  • eric.zaba@gmail.com - Sunday, March 24, 2013 - link

    You obviously dont have a clear understanding of gpu tech so just stop blabbing your stupidity, even most nvidia biased people can admit Check linus tech tips , check your games they all work much better on amd with multimonitor.

    and no overclock talk maybe because AMD doesnt approve of people tampering with gpus............ and because they want it to seem so good that you dont need an overclock...... and the specific hardware partners can make different port configs so why would you say that?
    and maybe comparing ASUS 650tis to this GPU is invalid becuase you didnt specify who made it so the port config advantage is completely irrelevant.

    Amd is not bankrupt because of their GPU business. and their CPU business isnt bad i dont think that getting into the gpu and cpu of the top 3 consoles (PS4 Xbox WiiU) is so bad either. and why would game biases not be true if amds drivers and games play better on the amd based systems
    eg: Crysis 3. and saying that the civ 5 benches crashed is completely stupid because a good website like anandtech doesnt normally disregard such things. and AMD didnt pay them off if they are bankrupt right? yes it can crossfire because theres crossfire connectors on the top so maybe they assumed things would be implied for the general crowd.
    Reply
  • althaz - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    I think it's also worth mentioning that the 7850 is a quite excellent overclocker. At stock I think it's definitely not worth the extra $30, but once overclocking is taken into account, if you can afford the $30 you are crazy not to spend it (assuming you are comfortable with overclocking of course). Reply
  • Bob Todd - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Yeah, I'm curious what the pricing will look like on these a few weeks after introduction. I picked up a 7850 (2GB MSI Twin Frozr) for $170 AR a few weeks ago to put in a HTPC, and I've seen it at that price again already. It will be interesting to see if the regular sales on 7850s decrease once the 7790 is out. Kudos to AMD for offering BioShock Infinite with this. Reply
  • Aikouka - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    Given we're talking about gaming cards here, I think it's worthwhile to add that only the 7800s and 7900s come with AMD's Never Settle game promotion. So, if you're interested Tomb Raider and/or Bioshock Infinite, the 7850 may have significantly more value to you. If you're not interested in them, people have been selling the coupons on eBay for about $50-60 each. Reply
  • Bob Todd - Friday, March 22, 2013 - link

    There's a small paragraph in the article explaining that this card _is_ part of the Never Settle Reloaded program. It's only getting BioShock Infinite since it sits at a lower price point, but still a nice addition. The bundles are a big part of the reason I'm curious to see how the pricing shakes out. I sold a TR/BS bundle and kept about ~$50 in my pocket after fees, so I basically got a very nice 2GB 7850 for $120. You could obviously sell the BioShock code you'd get with a 7790, but if the prices for that card stay at MSRP for too long they'll have some stiff competition from 7850s on sale. Unless of course the 7850 sales dry up since it doesn't have to cover such a large swath of AMD's lineup now price wise. Reply

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