For gamers on a modest budget, the Radeon HD 7790 signals a new entry in the $150 price range. The card is essentially akin to what we’d normally call a 7830, but apparently that’s not a marketing angle that AMD is fond of pursuing. So we get the 7790 instead. Call it what they will, the bottom line is this card sits directly between a 7770 and a 7850.
In terms of performance, the 7790 is rather good against the GTX 650 Ti, although it can’t compete against the newly minted GTX 650 Ti Boost. That card is about $30 more expensive though, so the argument could be made these two are not in direct competition. However, at a similar price range of $150 against the vanilla GTX 650 Ti, it’s not a clear knockout for AMD. Perhaps that help explains the “Never Settle” promotion, in an effort to tip the balance in AMD’s favor for those contemplating a purchase in the $150 range. With the addition of a $60 Bioshock Infinite, that certain adds to the value here. The only issue, however, is that a 7850 doesn’t cost much more, and you get quite a bit more horsepower, so moving up can be a better option, depending on your priorities.
When we add a second 7790 card in CrossFire to the mix, things get very interesting. Frankly, these little cards become quite an affordable powerhouse setup. With a pair of HIS cards installed, they easily beat the GTX 660 Ti (priced nearly identical) by about 15-20% on average. That means for essentially the same price, you get better performance on the AMD CrossFire side of the equation, particularly when you factor in a $60 game is included as well. In fact, this setup gives a Radeon 7950 a run for its money on a few occasions.
However, that value is tempered by the fact you will likely encounter CrossFire challenges, such as compatibility and microstuttering issues, on occasion. Generally we’ve found it’s better to have a more powerful single-card setup, which avoids CrossFire/SLI issues, provides better overall cooling, and expandability. Some of you may care about that, some may not, but that’s our recommendation based on extensive testing and anecdotal experience.
The reality is the Radeon 7790 is a good card, and HIS has made it better with the iCooler Turbo, featuring a very healthy factory overclock and an impressive little cooler. The temperatures are good, the noise levels are low at load, and the card should easily fit into any mid- or mini-tower case setup, leaving us with a good impression overall. Factor in a $60 A+ game title for free and you’ve got a solid single card package. We’re not quite as enamoured with the CrossFire setup because of inherent technical issues, but the performance is attractive. If you’re the sort that prizes value above all, then that’s worth a good look if you want to push your gaming performance further.
HIS Radeon 7790 iCooler Turbo