PowerColor HD 6790 ReviewRHKCommander959 - April 4, 2011
Category: Video Cards
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Now that AMD has solidified their higher ranks of graphics cards, they've finally got time to work on mid-range and lower cards. First up is the AMD Radeon HD 6790, this design packs 800 Stream Processors on the Barts core, similar to the Juniper series 5770s although the internal designs have been changed to make the card more efficient in less space. The core is clocked at 840MHz while the 1GB GDDR5 memory is set at 1050MHz on a 256-bit bus equating to approximately 134.4 Gb/s memory bandwidth, the same configuration as on a 6870. There exists a possibility that this card could unlock more Stream Processors to either the 6850 or 6870 level with BIOS flashing as has been done with the other 6-series cards. The TDP is less than 150W since it only needs two sources of power: the x16 slot provides up to 75W and each 6-pin power connector up to another 75W. The overall design is similar to the 6800-series cards, as the core is the same with some features disabled. The PCB has room for a second 6-pin power plug, and another DVI and Mini DisplayPort output.
The 6790 being reviewed today was sent by PowerColor with stock clock speeds. The heat sink used has three heat pipes and an aluminum base. The memory is passively cooled and the card is covered by a shroud with a fan impeller in the center to cool the heat sink. With four different outputs supported: DVI, HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, and VGA through an adapter, connectivity from this device covers most of the consumer market.
The front of the box features a winged knight wearing decorative armor, wielding a purplish sword of energy or something similar, in a field on a dark cloudy day. Rarely does box art have much to do with the product in the computer industry. PowerColor has used similar art on their other products. The top right has two stickers, one saying that the card has 1GB of GDDR5 memory and the other saying it has DVI, HDMI, and a Mini DisplayPort for outputs. The bottom shows that the card is a AMD Radeon HD 6790 that supports up to three displays in tandem through AMD Eyefinity. The back of the box lists some specifications and features briefly, and then to the right summarizes the features in seven more languages to 256-bit memory bus, Shader Model 5 support, and DirectX 11. The card scores 4.5 stars in gaming, and 5 for video and office capabilities. The main features that are important are: 40nm GPU core with 800 Stream Processors, 1GB GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit memory bus, DirectX11 and Shader Model 5 compatible, PCI Express 2.1 support, and built in HDMI 1.4 with 7.1 surround sound output capability.
The sides of the box match the rest with the background and art carrying over. The first side lists the power and system requirements: one open PCI Express x16 slot on the motherboard, a 500 Watt power supply with two 6-pin PCI Express power connectors (card only needs one however), 1GB of system memory, and so on. The other side has a barcode where all the information was on the first side. Both sides boldly list the card type and at the bottom the PowerColor brand.
The top is simple, showing brand and type. The whole box has a smooth satin touch to it. Opening the main box reveals a two level folded box. On the top is the graphics card and underneath the foldable cardboard platform that it sits on are the accessories. The card is protected by a standard PET antistatic bag. Through the bag you can catch a glimpse of what the card looks like, an impeller sitting in the center of the card, to the right, the knight from the box with Radeon HD 6790 over his head. This package came with three items: one VGA adapter, driver disk and multilingual manual. They also likely come with a Molex to 6-pin PCI Express cable adapter but this package was missing one.
Continue on for a closer look at the card itself!