PowerColor TurboDuo HD7790 Review

Author: Roger Cantwell
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/s/powercolor_turboduo_hd7790/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

Now that AMD’s Radeon HD 7790 is in the hands of their partners we can expect to see a variety of card flavors which will include everything from custom cooling solutions to the typical layout changes of the board itself. This of course is all part of the excitement that comes with the release of a new GPU, not to mention all of the speculation regarding performance numbers, cooling capabilities, how much overhead is available for overclocking as well as power efficiency.

AMD’s latest addition to the 7000 series product stack may be an entry level graphics solution, but by no means should it be taken lightly. The HD7790 offers incredible performance at its price point and is easily one of the best budget-priced GPU’s on the market today. It packs some of AMD's hottest features including eight independent DPM states, PowerPlay and PowerTune technologies to name a few.

The particular HD7790 I will be examining in our labs today is manufactured by PowerColor. The company’s TurboDuo HD7790 1GB OC is just one of the many variants available on the market now, and it sports a black and red color scheme along with a military styling giving the board an extremely aggressive look and feel to it.

Specifications:

Graphics Engine
RADEON HD7790
Video Memory
1GB GDDR5
Engine Clock
Boost up to 1075MHz
Memory Clock
1500MHz x4 (6.0 Gbps)
Memory Interface
128bit
DirectX® Support
11.1
Bus Standard
PCIE 3.0
Standard Display Connectors
DL-DVI-I/DL-DVI-D/HDMI/DP
 
Feature Support
 
OpenGL
Support
CrossFireX™ Technology
Support
ATI Stream Technology
Support
ATI Eyefinity Technology
Support
 
 
Display Support
 
VGA Output
Yes, By DVI to VGA converter
DVI Output
DL-DVI-I/DL-DVI-D
DisplayPort
On Board
HDMI
On Board
HDCP Support
Support
 
Maximum Resolution
 
VGA
2048x1536
DVI
2560x1600
DisplayPort
4096x2160
HDMI
4096x2160
 
Power Specs + Board Dimensions
 
Board Dimensions
220mmx111mmx38mm
Minimum System
Power requirement (W)
850W
Extension Power Connector
One 6-Pin PCI Express Power connector

PowerColor's HD7790 measures 220mm in length, 111mm in width and 38mm in height. It comes outfitted with the TurboDuo Professional Cooling System that features a dual fan configuration. The two fans have a rotational speed of ~4000RPM for maximum cooling performance. This custom design aims to dramatically decrease excess heat, which of course will allow for higher sustained overclocks without the worry of damaging critical components.

The TurboDuo HD7790 has a typical board power of ~85 watts, so it only requires a single 6-pin power connector.

PowerColor's TurboDuo HD7790 comes well equipped with one Dual Link DVI-I and one Dual Link DVI-D that supports a maximum resolution of 2560x1600 pixels, while both HDMI and Displayport connectors support a maximum resolution up to 4096x2160. The TurboDuo HD7790 also supports OpenGL, EyeFinity (up to 6 displays depending on the model), ATI Stream Technology and 2-way CrossfireX configurations.

With the shroud, fans and heatsink removed we can take a closer look at the board itself. Located at the rear of the PCB is an aluminum fin array covering the VRMs; you will also find the majority of the power circuitry located here as well. At the heart of the PCB is the HD7790 Bonaire GPU surrounded by high speed GDDR5 Hynix memory ICs. Located toward the front of the PCB is the single 6-pin power connection in the upper right hand portion of the board. Located in the center is another interesting design feature from PowerColor, where two vents were cut into the PCB as part of a new Aerodynamics kit to increase heat dissipation.

AMD's HD7790 GPU was manufactured using the 28nm fabrication process and is loaded with 2.08 billion transistors and 14 Compute Units for a grand total of 896 Stream Processors. Tessellation should also receive a decent performance increase on PowerColor's HD7790 Turbo Duo, due to AMD's implementation of two geometry engines, and two rasterizers.

PowerColor's HD7790 Turbo Duo is outfitted with 1GB of high speed GDDR5 Hynix memory IC's (part number H5GQ2H24AFR), operating at 1500Mhz (6.0Gbps effective) with a total of 96 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Overclocking:

Overclocking the Turbo Duo HD7790 is extremely easy. Starting without any adjustments to the power target, I increased the core clock until the system became unstable and began to freeze. At this point I increased the power target by 5% and proceeded with increasing the core clock, then it was rinse and repeat. The maximum overclock achieved was 1185MHz, roughly a 10% increase over the stock setting of 1075Mhz. At this point I moved onto the memory clock, once again adjusting until I reached a maximum stable clock speed of 1685Mhz which was a 12% increase over the stock setting of 1500Mhz.

Test Settings:

All benchmarks will be performed at a resolution of 1920x1080 when using a single display, while a resolution of 5760x1080 will be used for benchmarks in Eyefinity & Surround unless otherwise noted. Vsync will be disabled in the control panel, while AA will be set to x4 and AF set to x16. All in-game settings will be set to High or Very High.

 

Testing Configuration:


Benchmarks:


Usage:

Battlefield 3:

Battlefield 3 is an intense FPS with massive battles that utilize the Frostbite 2 engine for features like Dynamic Global illumination along with deferred shading. These add unmatched realism to the game and enable it to accurately render destroyed buildings, burnt-out cars and highly populated areas.



Batman: Arkham City:

Batman: Arkham City was built using the Unreal 3 Engine and contain areas that make use of extreme tessellation with high resolution textures and dynamic lighting. Combining all of these together makes for some sharp visuals.

Borderlands 2:

Borderlands 2 was developed by Gearbox and published by 2K Games. It is an action, role playing and first person shooter game all rolled into one. The title features large open areas as well as a few tight spots to keep things interesting when it comes to the firefights. Borderlands 2 uses a modified version of the Unreal Engine 3 with support for DirectX 9.

Crysis 2:

Crysis 2 is a first-person shooter developed by Crytek and is built on the CryEngine 3 engine. While the game was lacking in graphical fidelity upon its release, Crytek has since added features such as DX11 and high quality textures. This improved the in-game visuals substantially, which in turn pushes even high-end hardware to the max.


 

DiRT 3:

DiRT 3 takes full advantage of D11's latest features, making it one of the most visually impressive additions to the series yet thanks to tessellation and SM5.



Hitman: Absolution:

Hitman: Absolution is the fifth installment of the Hitman series built with the Glacier 2 game engine and supporting DX11. Features exclusive to the DX11 experience here include Global illumination, Bokeh, Tessellation, Eyefinity and HD3D support.

Total War: Shogun II:

Total War: Shogun 2 combines turn-based and real time strategy to create a unique experience. The game is set in 16th-century feudal Japan, placing you in control of a warlord battling various rival factions. Total War: Shogun 2 is the first in the series to feature DX11 technologies to enhance the look of the game and bring even the highest-end graphics cards to their knees through massive in-game battles.

Futuremark 3DMark 11:

Switching gears to system benchmarks, Futuremark's 3DMark 11 is designed for testing DirectX 11 hardware running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The benchmark includes six new tests that make extensive use of all the new DX11 features including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading.


 

Unigine Heaven 3.0:

Unigine Heaven 3.0 is one of the most popular DirectX 11 benchmarks used today. Its extreme tessellation tests create quite the spectacle.

Power Usage:

A Kill A Watt power meter was used to measure power usage. Note that the numbers represent the power drain for the entire benchmarking system and not just the video cards themselves. For the idle readings we measured the power drain from the desktop with no applications running. For load testing, we took the sustained peak power drain readings after running the system through the same in-game benchmarks we used for the temperature testing. This way we are recording real world power usage as opposed to pushing a product to its thermal threshold.



Temperature:

To measure the GPU temperatures, we ran two game benchmarks and recorded the idle and load temperature according to the minimum and maximum temperatures posted by MSI Afterburner. The software we used for testing were Crysis 2 and Unigine Heaven 3.0, running both for 15 minutes each. This way we can give the card's thermal solution and GPU time to reach equilibrium.

PowerColor's Turbo Duo HD7790 1GB Edition is an excellent entry level graphics card with plenty of features to boot, like a Boost clock of 1075MHz, 1GB of GDDR5 with 6Gbps effective data rate, and support for DirectX 11.1 feature set. The Turbo Duo HD7790 supports 2-way CrossFireX along with EyeFinity (display on up to four monitors from a single card) and ATI stream technologies. If that is not enough, to help keep everything nice and cool PowerColor outfitted the Turbo Duo HD7790 with a custom designed cooler, the Turbo Duo Professional cooling system.

On the performance side of the coin, PowerColor's Turbo Duo HD7790 landed in the middle of the pack for the most part, outpacing the GTX 650 Ti in some of the benchmarks while easily being overtaken in others. When it comes to power consumption the Turbo Duo HD7790 performed nicely although the idle power state was a tad on the high side, but not completely unacceptable. Temperature wise, the Turbo Duo professional cooling system left a little to be desired as the HD7790 ran a little warmer than some of its competitors.

In the end, the overall value and performance of PowerColor's Turbo Duo HD7790 is right on the money for a budget solution making it ideal for those not looking to crank up the eye-candy. It does support CrossFireX, giving you an added boost in performance. With a MSRP of $149.99 and a bundle that includes several of today's hottest titles (Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bioshock and Tomb Raider) which in total easily match the price of the card, the PowerColor Turbo Duo HD7790 earns my stamp of approval.

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