AMD Radeon HD 6790 review
Respectable gaming performance for those on a strict budget
Review Date: 5 Apr 2011
Reviewed By: Mike Jennings
Price when reviewed: £88 (£105 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
AMD’s latest graphics card aims for the affordable end of the market. The Radeon HD 6790 is based on a cut-down version of the AMD Barts Pro GPU (as seen in the A-Listed Radeon HD 6850), but its 840MHz core clock speed is faster than most of AMD's current range - and indeed most of the firm's previous generation.
At £105 inc VAT, the HD 6790’s closest competition is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and in our tests we found the two cards performed very similarly. Both averaged 39fps in our High quality 1,920 x 1,080 Crysis test, though the HD 6790 snuck slightly ahead when we upped the quality to Very High, averaging 25fps to the Nvidia’s 23fps.
The two cards followed the same pattern in our Stalker: Call of Pripyat benchmark. In our Very High test, the HD 6790 averaged 37fps, while the GTX 550 Ti dropped a little way behind with 34fps.
Nvidia did nose ahead when we enabled 8x anti-aliasing in our Just Cause 2 benchmark. With Very High settings, the GTX 550 Ti averaged 33fps against the AMD’s 30fps. Overall, though, these are two closely matched cards.
Board partners will inevitably offer overclocked HD 6790 cards, but we saw only a minor performance improvement from tweaking the internal frequencies. Pushing the core clock up to 920MHz, and raising the memory from 1,050MHz to 1,130MHz, gained us a mere 2fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis test.
One definite strength of AMD's card is its power efficiency. In our tests we saw a maximum temperature of 75°C from the HD 6790, 7°C cooler than the GTX 550 Ti. Our test rig's idle and peak power draws of 112W and 245W with the AMD card compared well to the GTX 550 Ti, which took the system to 107W and 271W.
Despite this more frugal power draw, the Radeon requires two six-pin power plugs rather than the single plug of the Nvidia card, so you'll need to make sure your PSU is equipped with the right connections. The stock AMD cooler is louder than Nvidia’s too – not unbearable but certainly noticeable. Board manufacturers will doubtless offer designs with quieter fans.
In all the AMD Radeon HD 6790 is a worthy competitor to Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 550 Ti, and with a projected retail price of £105 inc VAT it’s at least £15 cheaper. If you can stretch your budget, the significantly faster Radeon HD 6850 can be found online for just £20 more, making the HD 6790 look like a mean compromise. Still, AMD's latest delivers decent gaming on a strict budget, and you can't complain about that.
Author: Mike Jennings
So...which is the correct price for this card? £105 inc VAT or £137 inc VAT? I am now so confused, I think I'll go out and get me a soothing Mac...NOT!
By PSilva on 5 Apr 2011
Will it work with older machines?
Anyone know if these cards will work with PCI Express 1.0
By DJ2003 on 5 Apr 2011
Ebuyer have the Powercolor 6790 for £105.14
By nutalpa on 6 Apr 2011
My mistake when putting it up - the price in the copy is correct. Now fixed.
By DavidBayon on 6 Apr 2011
- Amazon loses $170 million on Fire phone
- Photos: Information Age revealed at the Science Museum
- Surface makes $1bn for Microsoft in three months
- Facebook Rooms to give anonymity to iPhone users
- Google buys Oxford University AI startups
- Microsoft Kinect SDK 2 brings apps to Windows Store
- Raspberry Pi unveils DIY tablet kit
- Windows 10: two-factor authentication coming to every device
- What is Google Inbox?
- What's on this week's PC Pro podcast?
- Google Glass: mugger bait, pub problem and other lessons learned from two dangerous weeks
- Twitter, please don't fiddle with my feed
- How Satya Nadella can get some pay-raise karma
- Windows 10: a step back to go forward
- Michael Dell: Cloud infrastructure is the roads, bridges and highways of the 21st century
- How to check your identity hasn’t been sold to the hackers
- Tim Cook: this is how much TV has changed since the 70s
- Westminster wins the .London battle
- 20 years of PC Pro: from deep pan pizza to virtualisation
- Five reasons why the Apple Watch leaves me cold
- iPad Air 2 vs Nexus 9: Apple and Google's latest high-end tablets compared
- Five things that are actually new in the iPad Air 2
- Bendgate, Antennagate, and why Apple doesn’t care about bad news
- iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 release date, specs and UK price rumours
- Office Online vs Google Docs: which free online office suite is best?
- iPhone 6 Plus vs iPhone 6 design comparison
- How to speed up an Android smartphone
- Nexus 6 release date, specs, UK price and leaked images
- iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus screen comparison
- Mac OS X Yosemite release date, price and new features
- How to sell more ebooks on Amazon
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office