Having already checked out the AMD R9 280X and AMD R9 270X for today’s launch it is now time to take a look at something from the mainstream R7 series and in particular we have the R7 260X with us in this review. The AMD R7 260X is another of AMD’s “new” graphics cards that is actually based on a rehashed card from the HD 7000 series. In particular the R7 260X we have here today is AMD’s $139.99 offering based on the HD 7790. In fact it is more or less identical to the HD 7790 which came to market at about $150 when it was released but can now be had for as low as $115. That said the R7 260X does bring some improvements such as 2GB of GDDR5 as standard (instead of that being a more expensive luxury like it was on the HD 7790) and higher clock speeds.
Those higher clock speeds are quite substantial with a boost from 1000MHz to 1100MHz on the core and 6000MHz to 6500MHz on the memory – that’s roughly 10% on both. That sees an increase in TFLOPS from 1.79 to 1.97. API support is also updated – going from DX 11.1 and OpenGL 4.2 to DX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3 and Mantle API support is also introduced. As mentioned previously the memory is now a standard 2GB configuration as opposed to the either 1GB or 2GB on the HD 7790. This has come at a power cost according to what AMD say, the TDP has been uprated from 85W to 115W but will that show up in testing?
The R7 260X uses the same Bonaire GPU as the HD 7790 did with 896 GCN cores. Despite the seemingly “mediocre” specifications it’s worth noting that the R7 260X is still a great card. The R7 260X is more powerful than an AMD Radeon HD 5870 – the flagship of three generations ago (and a graphics card that I still run inside my own personal rig). However, let’s not dwell on the past and let’s see how well the R7 260X stacks up against the current market offerings.
German site Planet3DNow reports that an upcoming Kaveri Spectre desktop APU could have as many as 832 shaders and 13 compute units. If this were to be the case it would mean the best Kaveri APU has much better GPU performance than expected – indeed the flagship was expected to have only 6 Compute units and 384 shaders like a HD 7730 has. With 13 compute units and 832 shaders the next AMD APU is more akin to somewhere in between a HD 7770 and HD 7790.
The benchmarks reveal that the new Kaveri Spectre APU has dramatically improved performance when compared to Richland – notably in the way of both GPU performance and memory bandwidth – seen below (courtesy of WCCFTech).
AMD Richland APU HD 8670D @844 MHz (DDR3-2133) – 3.8 GB/s
These improvements in performance are largely attributable to the new AMD HUMA (heterogeneous unified memory architecture) implementation on Kaveri though Planet3DNow points out that is important to consider these unexpectedly high results could be from Hybrid CrossFire. The reason why the additional shaders appear as part of the APU, despite being on a separate card in Hybrid CrossFire, could be because the AMD HUMA implementation causes this. Indeed jumping from 384 to 832 shaders does seem like an unrealistic jump for the Kaveri APUs to take as that’s nearly doubling the GPU power of what was expected. Though if these shaders are indeed part of the APU then Kaveri could be a real game changer.
WCCFTech reports that AMD’s mid-range R7-260 graphics card has been spotted. The card looks pretty unique by AMD standards and isn’t really like anything we’ve seen before in terms of a reference design cooler.
The internal cooling solution of a coiled copper heatpipe interlaced with aluminium fins with a central fan blowing air through is very similar to what we’ve seen on a lot of HD 7790s including one we reviewed from Club3D. The outer shroud is pretty unique and is a design AMD hasn’t really used before, it boasts a load of ventilation inlets for improved airflow. Considering this card will probably be based on a rehashed HD 7850 or HD 7790 GPU it seems likely the new outer shroud design has been prepared to make the card seem new and different from existing HD 7000 series cards.
AMD’s HD 7790 graphics emerged on the scene roughly at the same time as Nvidia’s GTX 650 Ti Boost graphics card. The AMD HD 7790 was released to fill that rather large performance void left between the HD 7850 and HD 7770 using a specially designed GPU called Bonaire. The Gigabyte graphics card that we have here today represents the HD 7790 pushed to the best it can offer. We have Gigabyte’s 2GB variant of the HD 7790 with the WindForce cooling solution and a factory overclock, more specifically we have the GV-R7790OC-2GB Revision 1.1 graphics card.
We say its the “best that the HD 7790 can offer” because Gigabyte have maxed out supported GDDR5 memory by adding 2GB and they have put a rather beefy dual 100mm fan WindForce cooling solution on it. Furthermore, Gigabyte have taken the stock clock of 1GHz and raised that by 7.5% to 1075MHz. The 2GB of GDDR5 over the 128bit interface runs at the default 6GHz effective memory speed, so no overclocking there. Despite the overclock Gigabyte have recommended just a 450W power supply as a minimum for this unit while AMD recommends 500W.
In terms of features this card packs most of AMD’s high end features such as Direct X 11.1 support, GCN architecture, AMD Eyefinity support (up to six displays supported), AMD App Acceleration, AMD HD3D technology, AMD CrossFire (max 2 way), AMD PowerPlay, AMD PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore. The main stand-out features are Eyefinity and HD3D support on such a budget GPU.
The box points out the main features which are the overclock, WindForce cooler, Eyefinity support and GCN implementation.
The back has the usual marketing information which you can read if it takes your fancy.
Included is a quick install guide, driver/software utility CD and a dual molex to single 6 pin power supply adapter cable.
Not that long ago Club3D made a very bold and striking decision to exclusively work with AMD graphics processing units only, leaving Nvidia on the sidelines. Since then we have seen a flurry of activity from Club3D to produce a vast range of SKUs of HD 7000 series card to cater for every price point for every AMD GPU, notably with the release of their brand new ’13 series.
Today we are looking at one of their upper-range HD 7790 graphics cards, or more specifically the HD 7790 royalKing from their Poker Series. Like the majority of Club3D graphics cards the HD 7790 royalKing we have here today uses their CoolStream cooling solution to keep things running cool and quiet without breaking the bank. The Club 3D HD 7790 royalKing comes with factory overclocks out of the box, on the GPU only, which is overclocked 7.5% to 1075MHz while the memory runs at a stock speed of 6GHz. Other than that the unit is kind-of normal although the design in my opinion is one of the nicest as the unit uses a black PCB, black cooling shroud and is very compact which is ideal for such a mid-range GPU.
On the box the key features are displayed such as 4K support, PCIe Gen 3 support and other AMD exclusive features like GCN, HD3D and App acceleration.
The back is rammed full of the usual “marketing stuff” which seems a bit strange as most people have already bought their card by the time they see this.
Included items are very basic and there is no messing around with molex adapters or VGA adapters. There is a driver CD and quick install guide. That said maybe for a card of this calibre a few “budget” accessories might of actually been well placed, like a DVI to VGA adapter and even a molex adapter for people with more basic PSUs.
VTX3D have just announced a new series of graphics cards based on AMD GPUs. The V Champ series of graphics cards will initially launch to encompass the AMD HD 7850 and AMD HD 7790 graphics cards. The main feature of these new graphics cards from VTX3D is the use of the V Champ cooler which uses Vapor Chamber technology and offers 20% better performance than the regular cooling solutions.
First up is the VTX3D V Champ HD 7850 which features a factory overclock to 1000MHz as well as a dual 80mm fan cooler. The card also uses a black PCB design.
Next is the VTX3D V Champ HD 7790 which is factory overclocked to 1075MHz with its own dual 80mm fan cooler, something that is rare for such a budget card.
More details can seen at the respective product pages:
Pricing and availability is TBA but these should be available at most large retailers in the very near future as VTX3D will want to capitalise on the HD 7850 and HD 7790 GPUs before they are replaced by AMD’s next generation. No doubt the V Champ series of coolers will carry over into whatever AMD produces next.
Club 3D have just revealed a new series of graphics cards. The ’13Series of graphics from Club3D is a new product line designed to target a much cheaper and more mainstream price point. These cards all use the premium CoolStream VGA cooler design, except the HD 7790 which uses a rather more modest VGA cooler.
The new ’13Series is part of Club3D’s “black label/”white label” product segmentation strategy. These new ’13 series cards are part of the white label segment while Club3D’s PokerSeries cards are part of the black label segment. The white label segment is going to be aggressively priced and aimed at value for money, while the black label segment is going to be more feature packed and designed for the more premium market.
Availability should start immediately and UK customers should be able to find these popping up soon across a wide variety of retailers such as Amazon, Ballicom International, Kikatek, LambdaTek and so on.
Now it appears Sapphire is joining in, arranging deals with EA independently of AMD. Sapphire technology is going to be providing a copy of SimCity with its 1GB HD 7790 that it is dubbing the HD 7790 SimCity Edition graphics card. This deal is currently a Japan only exclusive, but it may be expanded to other regions depending on its success. We are not 100% certain if the inclusion of SimCity eliminates eligibility of the Never Settle Reloaded bundle but we certainly hope it doesn’t. It is expected that the SimCity edition of the Sapphire 1GB HD 7790 will be only slightly higher priced than the “normal” variant that doesn’t include the SimCity game, although if the Never Settle Reloaded bundle eligibility is removed in place of SimCity then we would surely expect the pricing to be identical.
As far as the graphics card goes, it is based off the Sapphire HD 7790 2GB OC graphics card design except it is missing the backplate, features only 1GB of GDDR5 VRAM and uses stock AMD clock speeds of 1000MHz core and 6GHz effective memory.
According to BSN, Nvidia knows it needs to respond to the fact AMD’s $149-169 HD 7790 will outperform its current GTX 650Ti which costs around $169. Consequently, Nvidia is not going to just sit around and watch itself being made uncompetitive at certain price points in the market. In our previous article we speculated on the possibility of clock speeds being raised to support this increased performance that is needed and it seems that assumption was correct. Although there is indeed a lot more to it than previously thought.
Nvidia will be taking the GTX 650Ti and creating a second more powerful skew called the GTX 650Ti Boost, which ironically has a codename of the GTX 655 but won’t actually be called that in the retail channel. As expected the GPU die remains physically the same, it is still based of GK106 and it still features 768 CUDA cores. However, the fundamental difference is Nvidia has shifted the base clock to 980MHz, up from 928MHz on the current model, and Nvidia has added GPU boost technology supporting further dynamic overclocking up to 1030MHz. That is not all, it is also believed Nvidia will raise the memory from a 128bit interface to a 192bit interface and will increase the memory frequency from 5.4GHz effective to 6GHz effective. Those two memory changes combined shift memory bandwidth up from 86.4 GB/s to 140.63GB/s.
Examining where this GTX 650Ti boost will fit in was shown nicely by BSN who used 3DMark’s to demonstrate that the GTX 650Ti currently scores 2200 marks and the GTX 660 scores 4100 marks which is the large gap that the HD 7790 will exploit. If Nvidia can raise performance by about 30% they can then put a product in the middle of this gap.
It is also reported that Nvidia partners aren’t happy because they now have a stack-load of GTX 660 and GTX 650Ti GPUs that are put under threat by this new middle GPU. It is reported Nvidia is recommending the use of a reference GTX 660 PCB with this new GTX 650Ti boost graphics card.
Nvidia is responding to AMD’s upcoming addition to the mid range market, the HD 7790, by making a newer version of its GTX 650 Ti graphics card. Nvidia’s response will be to make a faster version of the GTX 650 Ti although it is rumoured that physical specifications will be identical meaning that only clocks can change.
The company is expected then to increase clock speeds from the reference design specifications of 925MHz and 1350MHz (5.4GHz GDDR5 Effective). In theory Nvidia would need to add about 10% to the performance to keep up with the HD 7790 so a new clock speed of 1020MHz core and 1450MHz memory seems necessary but what actually happens will most likely be different – in a lower direction.
Currently overclocked GTX 650 Ti versions vary in range from 950MHz to 1071MHz so if Nvidia raises the reference base clocks too high, then it will price many GTX 650Ti OC graphics cards out of the market. This will be a particularly large consideration because Nvidia doesn’t want to aggravate its Add-In Board partners.
With that said then Nvidia has a few options:
to release two skews of the GTX 650Ti GPU
Release a GTX 660SE (being the GTX 650Ti v2) and the current GTX 650Ti remaining in the market as-is
Offering a price reduction on older skews and gradually phasing them out in favour of the newer GTX 650 Ti models
adding a newer and faster version into the market straight away with existing stock and selling both side by side
All options considered Nvidia do need a faster version to fully compete with the HD 7790 so any of the above options seem plausible choices. Do you think Nvidia needs a new card to compete with the HD 7790? Do you think current GTX 650 Ti owners might get short changed by this deal? What do you think Nvidia should/will do? Let us know what you think!
AMD is planning a brand new launch for its HD 7000 series to fill that gap between the $110 HD 7770 and $170 HD 7850. Unsurprisingly, this card is called the HD 7790 as we revealed last month, much like the HD 6790 we saw in the last generation series of graphics card from AMD. The HD 7790 will be designed to compete with Nvidia’s $150 GTX 650Ti and we are hearing that the performance will actually be better for the price – as you would expect for AMD.
Now, none of the above is actually new information but what is new information is the details on specifications and performance that have been acquired. According to a report by Hardware.Info the HD 7790 will have 896 stream processors based on the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. The all important performance is expected to be just 10% less than the HD 7850 which makes performance with the GTX 650Ti highly competitive.
Bonaire is expected to have a low production cost and higher yields thanks to the much leaner transistor count. The narrower memory bus compared to the Pitcairn based (HD 7850 and HD 7870) cards means that the HD 7790 can also use a more cost-effective VRM. AMD’s HD 7790 will be ready next month so expect to see some reviews pop up then, maybe even one from us here at eTeknix!
As mentioned pricing will fill the $110 to $170 gap and be competitive with the $150 GTX 650Ti so we would make an educated guess and say the reference model of the HD 7790 will come to market at $150 on the money.
Do you think this is a good product release from AMD? Is the price justified? Will you be buying one? Let us know what you think!