AMD Radeon HD 7790 Strengthens AMD’s Mid-Range Offering

AMD just announced its new Radeon HD 7790 graphics processor (GPU) which will go in add-on cards immediately from close to ten partners right away. This new chip uses a new design which was created to improve the performance for the price, and for the power consumption, two key metrics when “absolute performance” (at any cost) is no longer the name of the game.

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The Radeon 7790 uses the Graphics Core Next architecture that was unveiled to developers in late 2011, and currently used in high-end AMD cards, it improves performance by increasing the transistor density when compared to previous architectures. This allows for much faster geometry and tessellation engines, which are powering critical DirectX 11 features (it’s a DX11.1 chip by the way).

It also uses fast GDDR5 memory (128 bit interface), and has been optimized for 1080p gaming, according to AMD. This makes sense, since ultra-high resolution (2560×1600) would require more bandwidth, it’s fair to argue that this setup should land into a “sweet spot” in terms of performance per dollar. AMD’s PowerTune dynamic clock and power controls also made it into the Radeon HD 7790 and aims at constantly providing the best performance-per-watt, depending on the context.

To make sure that its technology is used at its full potential, AMD has worked closely with game developers behind titles like DiRT Showdown, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3 or Hitman Absolution to make the best use of the hardware for particular effects, like depth-of-field or hair rendering. AMD Claims particularly high numbers in DirectCompute benchmarks (direct compute can be used for many things, from physics to image processing).

AMD wants to compete directly with the GeForce 650 GTX Ti by providing slightly better performance for the price (I recommend checking independent benchmarks), and a multi-GPU option which is not supported by the GeForce 650 GTX Ti boards that I looked at in online stores. Cards using the AMD Radeon HD 7790 will be available from April 2 and should start at $149. What do you think?

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