Introducing AMD’s HD 6790

Test Configuration

Test Configuration – Hardware

  • Intel Core i7 920-reference 2.66 GHz and overclocked to 3.8 GHz; 21x multiplier for 3.97 GHz, Turbo is on.
  • Gigabyte EX58-UD3R (Intel X58 chipset, latest BIOS, PCIe 2.0 specification; CrossFire/SLI 16x+16x).
  • 6 GB OCZ DDR3 PC1800 Kingston RAM (3×2 GB, tri-channel at PC1600 speeds; 2×2 GB supplied by Kingston)
  • AMD Radeon HD 6790 (1GB 840/1050 and overclocked to 940/1200MHz) supplied by AMD
  • AMD Radeon HD 6950 (2GB 800/1250 MHz) supplied by AMD
  • AMD Radeon HD 6870 (1GB, reference clocks, 900/1050 MHz) supplied by AMD
  • Diamond Radeon HD 5870 (1GB reference clocks 850/1200MHz)
  • AMD Radeon HD 5770 (1GB, reference clocks 850/1200MHz), on loan by a friend
  • GeForce GTS 450 (1GB reference clocks 675/1800MHz) supplied by Galaxy
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti; 1GB at reference clocks (901/2180MHz) supplied by EVGA
  • GeForce GTX 560 Ti, 1.0 GB reference design and clocks (833/2004 MHz), supplied by Galaxy/Nvidia
  • GeForce GTX 570, 1.2 GB reference design and clocks (732/1900 MHz), supplied by Nvidia.
  • Onboard Realtek Audio
  • Two identical 500 GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 hard drives configured and set up identically from drive image; one partition for Nvidia GeForce drivers and one for ATI Catalyst drivers
  • Thermaltake ToughPower 775 W power supply unit supplied by Thermaltake
  • Thermaltake Element G Case supplied by Thermaltake
  • Noctua NH-U12P SE2 CPU cooler, supplied by Noctua
  • Philips DVD SATA writer
  • HP LP3065 2560×1600 thirty inch LCD; ASUS VG236 120Hz 1920×1080 twenty-three inch LCD with 3D Vision kit supplied by Nvidia/ASUS.

Test Configuration – Software

  • ATi Catalyst 11.2 WHQL driver for all Radeons except for HD 6790 and HD 5770 (11-4 beta); highest quality mip-mapping set in the driver; surface performance optimizations are off; “use applications settings” are checked
  • NVIDIA GeForce release candidate 267.59 for GTX 550 Ti; WHQL 266.58 used for the other GeForce cards. High Quality
  • Windows 7 64-bit; very latest updates
  • DirectX July/November 2010
  • All games are patched to their latest versions.
  • vsync is forced off in the control panel.
  • Varying AA enabled as noted in games and “forced” in Catalyst Control Center for UT3 ; all in-game settings are specified with 16xAF always applied; 16xAF forced in control panel for Crysis.
  • All results show average, minimum and maximum frame rates except as noted.
  • Highest quality sound (stereo) used in all games.
  • Windows 7 64, all DX9 titles were run under DX9 render paths, DX10 titles were run under DX10 render paths and DX11 titles under DX11 render paths.

The Benchmarks

  • Vantage
  • 3DMark11
  • F.E.A.R.
  • X3:Terran Conflict
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars
  • Call of Duty 4
  • Unreal Tournament 3
  • Batman: Arkham Asylum
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Serious Sam, Second Encounter HD (2010)
  • Wolfenstein
  • Left 4 Dead
  • Grand Theft Auto IV
  • Mafia II
  • Call of Juarez
  • Crysis
  • Warhead
  • Lost Planet
  • World in Conflict
  • Far Cry 2
  • Just Cause 2
  • H.A.W.X.
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Alien vs. Predator
  • STALKER, Call of Pripyat
  • Dirt 2
  • F1 2010
  • Metro 2033
  • Lost Planet 2
  • H.A.W.X. 2
  • Heaven 2

We have got an interesting project going. Let’s check our results to see if the HD 6790 delivers all that AMD promises.  You are going to particularly want to note the HD 6790′s performance in relation to the HD 5770 that it replaces as well as to its competition, the GTX 550 Ti and GTX 460 which sit close to its price range.


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Founder and Senior Editor of ABT.

2 Responses

  1. EP says:

    I still think that 6790 is the 5830 of its generation. Too many cuts leads to a crippled chip that exists only because AMD marketing wanted to sell you a chip that would otherwise be thrown in the trash bin because it had too many defects to pass as a 68xx/69xx. That might be good marketing but it’s not a good deal for the buyer.

    Beating the GTX 550 is an accomplishment, sure, but not much of one, since the 550 is such a garbage card to begin with.

    If you’ve got $150 to spend on a video card, just save up and buy a 6950 for $250. That extra $100 has a great deal of marginal value. As opposed to, say the $150 delta between a GTX 570 and 580, which is just like throwing money away.

    This generation of GPUs at 40 nm has been rather underwhelming on the whole. No true spiritual successor to the 8800 GT from either the red or green team. And with DX 11 adoption at a virtual trickle, thanks to the negative effects of consolization, it would appear that progress will be slow until the next-generation of consoles appears.

    Bring on 28 nm.

    On the bright side, another great review by ABT.

  2. Bo_Fox says:

    100% agreed with above comment!

    Well, I’d say that GTX 460 1GB is almost like the 8800GT of its time, but only if you could find one for $150 with rebates.

    Both companies are desperately trying to keep the prices up. Now, a $500 GTX 580 is starting to look a bit “mediocre” with some recent games like Metro 2033, Mafia 2, etc.. The price to pay for eye candy on the PC is rather high, and many games are console ports from consoles that are “several” years old, or a few PC generations behind.

    I find it to be really misleading when AMD claims that the 6790 has 256-bit memory when the sawed-off ROPs limit access to only half of the available bandwidth, as the card behaves exactly like as if it has 128-bit bus. For more on this, if you want to discuss on the forums here, I started a thread:
    I also believe that all Barts GPU’s are VLIW4-based like the rest of Northern Islands. It’s something else that appears to be in a dimly-lit area.. when one shines a candle in that area, something just doesn’t look right.

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