Having launched its Barts-based Radeon HD 68xx series and Cayman-based Radeon HD 69xx series together with the dual-processor Radeon HD 6990, AMD now enjoys a strong position in the graphics card market. In the lower market segment the company has rolled out its Radeon HD 6790 that has a recommended price of $149 and is supposed to replace the Radeon HD 5770.
You will learn how fast, quiet and energy-efficient the new graphics card is from this review.
AMD Radeon HD 6790 Graphics Card
I’ve received a reference sample of AMD Radeon HD 6790 in OEM packaging. Let's take a look at it.
The Radeon HD 6790 is very much alike to Radeon HD 68xx series products and measures the same 249 x 99 x 36 millimeters. The card’s face side is covered by the cooler’s plastic casing that has a blower in its back part.
The dual-slot design seems to have already been adopted by affordable graphics cards as well. Some manufacturers offer single-slot Radeon HD 6850s, however, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see “slim” Radeon HD 6790s. There’s no aluminum plate on the reverse side of the PCB, which is good for cooling but makes you be more careful when installing or uninstalling the card.
The reference Radeon HD 6790 features a generous selection of outputs including two mini-DisplayPorts, two DVIs, and one HDMI (1.4a).
With so many connectors, the vent grid had to be made smaller. It is now but half the width of the second slot. Besides, some of the hot air remains inside the system case, passing through the three slits in the top part of the cooler's casing.
The AMD Radeon HD 6790 is equipped with two 6-pin power connectors. This is a downside compared to the Radeon HD 5770 which has only one such connector.
As you may guess, the new card has a healthy appetite for power. It is specified to consume up to 150 watts in 3D mode. This is more than required by the Radeon HD 5770 (108 watts) or by the Radeon HD 6850 (127 watts). The 2D consumption of all these cards is the same at 19 watts. The Radeon HD 6790 is also equipped with a connector for building dual-GPU CrossFireX configurations. You cannot unite three or four HD 6790s this way.
Here’s a photo of the card with its cooler removed:
You can see the elements of its four-phase power circuit in the front part of the PCB. The GPU is placed at an angle of 45 degrees.