Both AMD and Nvidia have traditionally introduced a new line of video cards, along with new branding, every year. For 2013, however, AMD has to take a breather. Instead of launching new 8000 series parts for the desktop, the company is extending its current 7000 series line with the new HD 7790.
This new card, which slots above the HD 7770 but below AMD’s high-end 7800 and 7900 products, is designed to offer an affordable mid-range solution for gamers who might be considering Nvidia’s GTX 650 Ti and GTX 660.
While the name is familiar, AMD says the card uses new silicon that serves up 896 stream processors and up to 2GB of GDDR5 RAM (the reference card will ship with 1GB). These specifications give the card enough grunt to play games at 1080p and high or maximum detail, but are also tight enough to keep the price low.
The Radeon HD 7790 is the first card from AMD to offer a new version of the PowerTune technology found in earlier Radeon cards. The feature, which can change clock speed and voltage on-the-fly to reduce power consumption, has been changed to expand the number of “DPM states” from four to eight. More states will help the card deliver only as much performance as needed. Besides saving power, this feature could also reduce temperatures and fan noise.
We were surprised to learn how closely this card matched the specifications announced for the PlayStation 4. At its press conference, Sony announced that the PS4 packs 1.84 TFLOPs of compute power. According to AMD, the Radeon HD 7790 offers 1.79 TFLOPs.
The company’s representatives even referenced the PS4 while highlighting the new card’s compute power, which AMD claims is up to 56 percent faster than Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 650 Ti. While the hardware in the PS4 is custom, this card’s capabilities and features are likely close to what Sony’s new console will offer.
Gamers can expect to see the Radeon HD 7790 start at $149 and begin selling in volume on April 2. Buyers of the card will also receive a free copy of BioShock Infinite when purchased through a participating retailer.