titleYesterday we took a look at the R7790 from XFX and I was impressed by the HD 7790’s performance. We have a second HD 7790 in hand but this time from Gigabyte. With this being an overclocked card as well with its own unique cooling I am curious how they compare against each other as well as how the Gigabyte HD 7790 1Gb OC holds up against a collection of other cards in our new up to date benchmark test suite.

Product Name: Gigabyte HD 7790 1GB OC

Review Sample provided by: Gigabyte

Written by: Wes

Pictures by: Wes


Specifications

Chipset

Radeon HD 7790

Memory Clock

6000 MHz

Core Clock

1075 MHz

PCB Form

ATX

Process Technology

28 nm

Digital max resolution

2560 x 1600

Analog max resolution

2048 x 1536

Multi-view

3

Memory Size

1 GB

Memory Bus

128 bit

Card Bus

PCI-E 3.0

Memory Type

GDDR5

DirectX

11.1

OpenGL

4.2

Card size

H=42 , L=203 , W=136

I/O

HDMI * 1
DVI-I * 1
DVI-D * 1
DisplayPort

Power requirement

450W



Packaging

The Gigabyte HD 7790 comes in a black and purple packaging with a very interesting/creepy eye on the cover. The cover is simple beyond that with just the basics showing, you have the model name, the Triangle Cool with a small photo of the card, the memory size (1GB), and a note showing that this is an overclocked card. Around on the back there is a short list of features listed multiple times in multiple languages as well as a drawing of the Triangle Cool Fan showing how the cards cooling works.

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Inside your card is wrapped up in a static protective bag and then held in place with foam all around it. Our quick start guide and driver disc were sitting on top of the card when I opened everything up. There was also a Molex to 6 pin power adapter tucked away in the box as well.

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Card Layout and Pictures

For cooling on the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB they are calling this configuration their Triangle Fan Cooling. What that consists of is a thick heatsink design that mounts directly against the GPU without any heatpipe assistance. On top of that is a 9 fin 120mm fan design to push air over the heatsink to keep things cool. To make sure all of that air is focused on the heatsink we have a small fan shroud that goes around the fan and extends out slightly on the left and right sides. There isn’t much to it, but it is a unique design that we won’t see from anyone else and it is considerably different from the reference design.  It’s important to note that this design does push all of the cards heat into your case, meaning it can warm up the rest of your PC if your case doesn’t have good ventilation.

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A blue PCB is going to stand out in some builds, for some this will be a selling point if it matches their build but if you were going with a black theme or red this bright blue PCB would stick out like a sore thumb. I always prefer a black PCB because they blend into just about everything. You can also see that the Gigabyte HD 7790 1Gb has a single crossfire connection up top for expandability. I should also point out that this plug is in a different location than the XFX card that we took a look at yesterday, you will want to look closely when picking up a second HD 7790 for crossfire for this reason. The reference design and XFX cards both have less room between the crossfire plug and the PCI slot cover than on this card, as you can see Gigabyte spaced it out and mounted the PCI slot cover in that area.

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In the top right corner the Gigabyte HD 7790 1Gb OC is pulling its power from a 6 pin power connection that is facing up. The power plug facing up means that you won’t have to worry about the power cable taking up more space at the end of your video card in a tight build.

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For connections on the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC we have two DVI connections as well as one full sized HDMI and a full sized DisplayPort. There is also a partial air vent as well but even in this picture we can see that the cooling for the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC isn’t pushing out of the back of the card.

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Our Test Rig

Intel i7-3960X

Asus Rampage IV X79 Motherboard 

Seagate Constellation 2tb Hard drive 

Noctua NH-D14 SE2011

Cooler Master Gold Series 1200 Watt PSU

https://www.highspeedpc.com/ Test Bench

Kingston 1600Mhz DDR3 Quad Channel Ram

Kingston Hyper X 120 SSD

 


Our Testing Procedures

Bioshock Infinite Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Bioshock Infinite on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, FXAA turned on, Ultra Texture detail, 16x Aniso Texture Filtering, Ultra Dynamic Shadows, Normal Postprocessing, Light Shafts on, Ambient Occlusion set to ultra, and the Level of Detail set to Ultra as well.

Tomb Raider Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Tomb Raider on the “Xtreme” quality setting. This has a resolution of 1920x1080, Exclusive Fullscreen turned on, Anti-Aliasing set to 2xSSAA, Texture Quality set to Ultra, Texture Aniso set to 16x Aniso, Hair Quality set to TressFX, Shadow set to Normal, Shadow Resolution on High, Ultra SSAO, Ultra Depth of Field, High Reflection quality, Ultra LOD scale, Post Processing On, High Precision RT turned on, and Tessellation is also turned on. 

Hitman: Absolution Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Hitman: Absolution on the “Xtreme” quality setting other than the MSAA setting is turned down from 8x to 2x. That setting puts the resolution at 1920x1080, MSAA is set to 2x, Texture Quality is set to High, Texture Aniso is set to 16x, Shadows are on Ultra, SSA is set to high, Global Illumination is turned on, Reflections are set to High, FXAA is on, Level of Detail is set to Ultra, Depth of Field is high, Tessellation is turned on, and Bloom is set to normal.

Sleeping Dogs Using the Adrenaline Action Benchmark Tool we run Sleeping Dogs on the “Xtreme” quality setting. That means our resolution is set to 1920x1080, Anti-Aliasing is set to Extreme, Texture Quality is set to High-Res, Shadow Quality is High, Shadow Filter is set to high, SSAO is set to High, Motion Blur Level is set to High, and World Density is set to Extreme.

F1 2012 We use the built in benchmark for F1 2012. We set our resolution to 1920x1080 and then use the “Ultra” setting.

Batman Arkham Asylum We used the built-in benchmark set to 1920 x 1080, Multi Sample AA 16XQ, Detail Level, Very High, Bloom: Yes, Dynamic Shadows: Yes, Motion Blur: Yes, Distortion: Yes, Fog Volumes: Yes, Spherical Harmonic Lighting: Yes, Ambient Occlusion: Yes, PhysX: Off

Total War: Shogun 2 Direct X11 Benchmark High setting

Crysis 2 Using Adrenaline Crysis 2 benchmark.  1080p, 4x Anti-Aliasing, DX11, Laplace Edge Detection Edge AA, on the Times Square map, with hi res textures turned on.

Battlefield 3 Using Fraps with the game set to Ultra settings with 4x MSAA Antialiasing Deferred, 16X Anisotropic Filter, at 1920x1080.

Sniper V2 Elite 1920 x 1080 resolution, graphics detail set to ultra

Dirt Showdown 1920 x 1080 resolution, 4x MSAA multisampling, Vsync off, Shadows: ultra; Post Process: High; Night Lighting: High; Vehicle Reflections: Ultra; Ambient Occlusion: Ultra; Water: high; Objects: Ultra; Trees: Ultra; Crowd: Ultra; Ground Cover: High.

Synthetic Benchmarks For video cards our synthetic benchmarks are limited to 3DMark Vantage 2011, and 3DMark 2013 (AKA 3DMark). In 3DMark Vantage 2011 we run both performance and extreme benchmarks. The same goes for the most current version of 3DMark, we run through Fire Strike on standard and extreme settings.

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0 Using the “Extreme” preset

Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0 heat testing We run through Unreal Heaven at 1080p for 30 minutes to test in game heat performance and noise output of the card while under load.

Power Usage Using Unreal Heaven Benchmark 4.0, we get our “load” power usage number from the peak power usage during our test. We get our numbers from a Kill-A-Watt connected to the test benches power cord.

Noise Testing Our Noise testing is done using a decibel meter 3 inches away from the video card on the bottom/fan side of the card. We test an idle noise level and then to get an idea of how loud the card will get if it warms all the way up we also turn the fan speed up to 100% and test again. The 100% test isn’t a representation of typical in game noise levels, but it will show you how loud a card can be if you run it at its highest setting or if it gets very hot.

 


Cooling, Noise, and Power

Along with new game benchmarks we also changed how we handle cooling and noise testing and added power usage testing as well. For cooling testing we switched to the Heaven 4.0 benchmark and we let it run for a half hour under the same “extreme” preset that we do on the Heaven 4.0 benchmark. This will warm the card up in a similar way to what you should expect to see in the average game. The single fan design of the Gigabyte HD 7790 1Gb OC didn’t outperform the dual fan XFX card that we tested yesterday but the difference between the two was only two degrees, that isn’t too bad and is still less than the GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card.

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For noise testing we changed things up as well to a less subjective test using a decibel meter. We hold the meter three inches away from the fan side of the card on an open test bench. Your experience in a closed case should be lower. We do the test at an idle state as well as with the fan turned up to 100%. This is basically a minimum and maximum situation, your in-game noise levels will fall in between depending on how much load the game puts on the card itself. Idle loads are done the same way but out of game in windows at idle. At idle the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC is the second quietest card tested at 61.7 decibels, you would think with a single large fan that it would outperform the dual fan XFX design. Where it did excel at was the total noise output at 100% with an impressive 66.3 decibels. This isn’t the best we have seen but is considerably better than what we saw from the GTX 650 Ti Boost’s and the XFX R7790 as well.

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Our new power consumption testing uses the same Heaven 4.0 benchmark to put a load on the card while watching for peak power draw using a Kill-a-watt hooked to our test bench. The total power usage is going to include the power needed to run our motherboard, 3960X CPU, hard drive, SSD, and water cooling on top of the video card itself. Our results for the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC were interesting. We came in 8 watts higher at idle and 11 watts higher under load when compared to the HD 7790 based XFX card. Considering this card has the same core clock and even a single fan cooling design you would think it would come in below. This just goes to show you that there still is a little bit of variance in all of the cards that we see. We still are seeing less power consumption than both of the GTX 650 Ti Boost’s that we tested.

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Synthetic Benchmarks

Much like the XFX R7790, the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC came in above the GTX 650 Ti Boost reference card and below the overclocked MSI card in our 3DMark Fire Strike testing. You will notice that we don’t have Fire Strike Extreme results in a graph. Just like with the XFX card we had what seemed like a drive issue that gave results slower than the HD 7750 that we tested. It’s important for you guys to know that there are still driver issues here and there, especially because as of this writing the general AMD driver didn’t have support for the 7790 yet, running a driver that is different from the standard build is bound to have issues.

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In Unreal’s Heaven 4.0 benchmark the Gigabyte HD 7790 1Gb OC’s results are almost spot on with the XFX R7790 and well above what we saw from the GTX 650 Ti Boost’s reference design, the overclocked MSI version did perform much better though with 4 more FPS.

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In 3DMark 11 we saw results just below the XFX card once again. In the performance benchmark it’s great to see the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC coming in just below the HD 7850 and just above the reference GTX 650 Ti Boost. Even more interesting is to see the Gigabyte HD 7790 1GB OC’s results besting the numbers we saw from the HD6970 back at its launch! In the Extreme benchmark the results are similar but cards with more than the 1GB in memory did perform better.

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In Game Benchmarks

Our new benchmark suite has a range of benchmarks from the last few years all the way up to games like Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite that were recently launched. This range will give us a great idea on how the Gigabyte HD 7790 1GB OC will perform in game, and frankly isn’t that what it’s all about? In game performance is always king.

Across the board the XFX R7790 is just slightly above the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC, this is due to it having an overclock on the memory where Gigabyte just went with a core clock speed overclock only. That means that much like the XFX card we saw 60+ FPS in games like Dirt Showdown, F1 2012, and Batman. When we look at games that get 30+ FPS we can also add Shogun 2, Battlefield 3, Crysis 2, Sniper V2 Elite, Bioshock Infinite, and Hitman: Absolution. Considering every single one of those games is running on their highest settings that is an impressive list. Toying with settings and turning off AA in a few of the games would push most of these up over 60 FPS if you are looking for the smoothest playback and it will also make the other games more than playable as well.

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Overall and Final Verdict

When it comes to performance the Gigabyte HD 7790 1 GB OC falls exactly where you would expect it, just in between the reference GTX 650 Ti Boost and the MSI overclocked card. The XFX R7790 that we tested does inch out a little more performance over this card, only because of its slight memory overclock. What sets the cards apart really are their different cooling configurations, the XFX with its dual fan design and the Gigabyte card with its single fan design. In the end the XFX card did slightly edge out better cooling and a little less noise at full load but the Gigabyte card is still a fine option, especially if you prefer to stick with the same manufacture who made your motherboard as well. Additionally the XFX card is a more expensive card, the Gigabyte card comes in at the lowest price for an HD7790 right now $149.99. For that price you are still getting an overclocked card as well.

When we compare this to the GTX 650 Ti Boost’s that we took a look at recently. There are a few up’s and downs with it all. As far as performance goes, you are getting similar performance with this card in most cases to what the Boost can do. The smaller 1GB frame buffer does hold the card back but also helps justify the $20 lower price. Additionally AMD is bundling games with the HD 7790’s currently making it an even better value. Right now you will also get a copy of Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon as well as Bioshock Infinite, which are a $14.99 game and a $59.99 game. Not bad a bad bundle for a $149 video card. When you put it that way, the HD 7790 is a steal. 

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Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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garfi3ld replied the topic: #30424 19 Apr 2013 17:13
We take a look at a second HD 7790, this time from Gigabyte!

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