HIS 6790 IceQ X Turbo
When we saw the AMD Barts cards initially released, it took awhile to get used to the fact those cards were the new "lower-end" models. AMD’s new naming scheme and classification changed things from the 5000 series definitions, and the 6850 became the new "mainstream" gaming card. But Nvidia’s GTX 550 Ti blazed a new trail in the budget segment, offering a product that didn’t have any competition from AMD in the $150 price bracket. AMD’s response was the Radeon 6790, essentially a cut-down version of Barts, which appears to have successfully answered that challenge.
In terms of performance, some game titles prefer AMD cards overall and the HIS 6790 IceQ X Turbo moves ahead, some titles prefer Nvidia and the 550 Ti gets the nod. Viewed on the whole, the 6790 beats the 550 Ti in the majority of our benchmark tests, though individual results do depend on the game, so keep that in mind. However, we’ve seen the 6790 run cooler and more power frugal than the 550 Ti as well, so those are a couple distinct advantages in AMD’s favour. Futher, the IceQ heatsink on this card does an admirable job at keeping temperatures even lower.
So are there any downsides here? Well, the two 6-pin power connectors are a bit surprising, considering this card doesn’t draw much power overall. The real issue, however, is competition from a card that’s one weight class higher: the Radeon 6850. For less than $20, the 6850 offers considerable more horsepower than this 6790.
The HIS 6790 IceQ X Turbo is a great competitor against the GTX 550 Ti, offering better overall performance, lower temperatures, and improved power consumption. But that shine is unfortunately dulled by the Radeon 6850, which doesn’t cost much more. However, if you truly need to stick to a $149 budget, then the HIS Radeon 6790 IceQ X Turbo is a great value.
The Pure Point: The HIS Radeon 6790 IceQ X Turbo s a strong value contender, but you can get considerably more horsepower if you can spend a bit more cash.