The AMD Radeon HD 6830 6790 turned out to be a very nice graphics card for the price. We saw it consistently beating the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB video card, which is the latest and greatest offering from NVIDIA at the $150 price point. It looks like we need to get over our nomenclature issues and give this card the credit that it is due! If you like to game at 1680×1050 or lower then a card like the AMD Radeon HD 6790 should be on your short lists of sub $150 graphics cards! We were able to play Starcraft II, Bad Company 2, F1 2010 and of course all the games we benchmarked in this review just fine on this card at 1280×1024 and 1680×1050 with the eye candy cranked up.
Overclocking was very easy to do on the Radeon HD 6970 thanks to the AMD OverDrive utility. We were able to reach 900MHz on the core clock and that is significant as that is the default clock speed of the AMD Radeon HD 6870 graphics card. This extra boost help us see an additional 6-7% in performance and it should be interesting to see what the third party designs for this card will be able to do when it comes to overclocking performance. With custom PCB and cooler designs it is likely that we see even better overclocks than this.
That said, the price of the AMD Radeon HD 6790 does concern us a little bit as there is some overlap right now at this price range. You can get the HIS Radeon HD 6850 from Newegg for $144.99 plus shipping after rebate and as you saw in our benchmarks that card was faster in the testing. This card also faces tough competition from the GeForce GTX 460 768MB cards as we saw the ASUS ENGTX460 at Newegg for $129.99 plus shipping after rebate and that card did lose too often. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti didn’t do too hot in many of the benchmarks, but we found the Galaxy GeForce GTX 550 Ti for $114.99 plus shipping after rebate. So, if you want to spend $150 on a video card you have a number of really good cards to pick from and it really depends on what you want to do at the end of the day. The AMD Radeon HD 6790 can run 3+ monitors thanks to AMD Eyefinity technology, but then again you can’t run PhysX, steroscopic 3D or CUDA applications like you can on the NVIDIA graphics cards. If you don’t care about any of that and run just one monitor and play games for fun then you have a much easier decision to make. With the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 series reaching the end of their life cycle, so we’d stick with the AMD Radeon HD 6790 or Radeon HD 6850 for the $145-$150 price range since they are the fastest card for the buck and we would expect longer driver support and maybe even some more performance gains in the months to come.
Legit Bottom Line: The AMD Radeon HD 6790 turned out to be a very nice card and it gives the GeForce GTX 550 Ti a good old fashioned beat down!