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AMD Radeon HD 6790 1GB Review
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by Rob Williams on April 4, 2011 in AMD-Based GPU

In recent months, we’ve seen AMD and NVIDIA go back and forth with releases that are designed to one-up the other at the respective price-point, and with AMD’s Radeon HD 6790, it doesn’t look like this game will end anytime soon. Set to compete against the GeForce GTX 550 Ti, the HD 6790 launches with the same MSRP of $149.

Test System & Methodology

At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous and time-consuming, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our testbed specifications, but also a detailed look at how we conduct our testing.

Test Machine

The below table lists our testing machine’s hardware, which remains unchanged throughout all GPU testing, minus the graphics card. Each card used for comparison is also listed here, along with the driver version used. Each one of the URLs in this table can be clicked to view the respective category on our site for that product.

Component
Model
Processor
Intel Core i7-975 Extreme Edition – Quad-Core @ 4.05GHz – 1.40v
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME – F13j BIOS (08/02/2010)
Memory
Corsair DOMINATOR – 12GB DDR3-1333 7-7-7-24-1T, 1.60v
AMD Graphics Radeon HD 6990 4GB (Reference) – Catalyst 11.4 Beta

Radeon HD 6970 2GB CrossFireX (Reference) – Catalyst 10,12 Beta

Radeon HD 6950 2GB CrossFireX (Reference) – Catalyst 10.12 Beta

Radeon HD 6970 2GB (Reference) – Catalyst 10.12 Beta

Radeon HD 6950 2GB (Reference) – Catalyst 11.1

Radeon HD 6950 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst 11.1

Radeon HD 6870 1GB CrossFireX (Reference) – Catalyst 10.10

Radeon HD 6850 1GB CrossFireX (Reference) – Catalyst 10.10

Radeon HD 6870 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst October 5, 2010 Beta

Radeon HD 6850 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst October 5, 2010 Beta

Radeon HD 6790 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst March 23, 2011 Beta

Radeon HD 5870 1GB (Sapphire) – Catalyst 10.8

Radeon HD 5850 1GB (ASUS) – Catalyst 10.8
Radeon HD 5830 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst 10.8

Radeon HD 5770 1GB (Reference) – Catalyst 10.8

Radeon HD 5750 1GB (Sapphire) – Catalyst 10.8
NVIDIA Graphics GeForce GTX 580 1536MB (Reference) – GeForce 262.99

GeForce GTX 570 1280MB (Reference) – GeForce 263.09

GeForce GTX 560 Ti 1024MB (Reference) – GeForce 266.56

GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1024MB (MSI) – GeForce 267.59

GeForce GTX 480 1536MB (Reference) – GeForce 260.63
GeForce GTX 470 1280MB (EVGA) – GeForce 260.63

GeForce GTX 460 1GB (EVGA) – GeForce 260.63

GeForce GTX 450 1GB (ASUS) – GeForce 260.63
Audio
Storage
Power Supply
Chassis
Display
Gateway XHD3000 30″
Cooling
Et cetera

When preparing our testbeds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:

    General Guidelines

  • No power-saving options are enabled in the motherboard’s BIOS.
  • Internet is disabled.
  • No virus scanner or firewall is installed.
  • The OS is kept clean; no scrap files are left in between runs.
  • Hard drives affected are defragged with Diskeeper 2010 prior to a fresh benchmarking run.
  • Machine has proper airflow and the room temperature is 80°F (27°C) or less.

To aide with the goal of keeping accurate and repeatable results, we alter certain services in Windows 7 from starting up at boot. This is due to the fact that these services have the tendency to start up in the background without notice, potentially causing inaccurate test results. For example, disabling “Windows Search” turns off the OS’ indexing which can at times utilize the hard drive and memory more than we’d like.

The most important services we disable are:

  • Diskeeper 2010
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Error Reporting Service
  • Windows Event Log
  • Windows Firewall
  • Windows Search
  • Windows Update

The full list of Windows services we assure are disabled is large, but for those interested in perusing it, please look here. Most of the services we disable are mild, but we go to such an extent to have the PC as highly optimized as possible.

Game Titles

At this time, we benchmark with three resolutions that represent three popular monitor sizes available today, 20″ (1680×1050), 24″ (1920×1080) and 30″ (2560×1600). Each of these resolutions offers enough of a variance in raw pixel output to warrant testing with it, and each properly represent a different market segment: mainstream, mid-range and high-end.

Because we value results generated by real-world testing, we don’t utilize timedemos. The possible exceptions might be Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage and Unigine’s Heaven 2.1. Though neither of these are games, both act as robust timedemos. We choose to use them as they’re a standard where GPU reviews are concerned.

All of our results are captured with the help of Beepa’s FRAPS 3.2.3, while stress-testing and temperature-monitoring is handled by OCCT 3.1.0 and GPU-Z, respectively.

For those interested in the exact settings we use for each game, direct screenshots can be seen below:

Colin McRae: Dirt 2

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 - Settings

Colin McRae: Dirt 2 - Settings

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 - Settings

Mafia II

Mafia II - Settings

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 - Settings

StarCraft II

StarCraft II - Settings