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Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC review

A big step up from a 7770, but is it big enough?

Our Verdict

For

  • Better framerates than HD 7770
  • Not very expensive

Against

  • Needs better memory sub-system
  • Not able to handle high-detail settings

There's significantly more to the Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC board than meets the eye. You might be expecting something similar to the 7770, with the clocks cranked up a bit. And you'd be only partially right.

A standard AMD Radeon HD 7790 has the same 1GHz clock as the 7770. This bad boy ramps things up to 1,075MHz. That's the kind of frequency bump that allows card makers to plaster "overclocked" all over the packaging. But can you feel 7.5% more frequency in the real world? In a word, no.

But hang on, because the 7790 chipset gets 896 of AMD's GCN-spec stream processors. That's more than the fancy new Xbox One. It's also 40% more shaders than the 7770. Add in that 7.5% clock advantage and the overall result is getting on for 50% more graphics grunt.

Game on? Kind of. This 7790 board is certainly a major step up from the 7770. Several of our benchmarks show results that come close to tallying with that 50% metric.

Benchmarks

1,920 x 1,080

DirectX 11 gaming performance
Sleeping Dogs: Frames per second: Higher is better (Min/Avg)

Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/19
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 16/24
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 19/28
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 18/28
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 24/41
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 25/36
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 27/39
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 30/52
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 36/52
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 36/60
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 59/97
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 31/65

GRID 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 34/43
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 40/50
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 42/52
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 39/52
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 56/73
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 57/73
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 56/71
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 67/90
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 73/87
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 71/85
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 50/60
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 75/93

Company of Heroes 2: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 11/19
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 13/21
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 15/28
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 11/22
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 15/31
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 22/39
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 21/35
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 20/40
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 28/46
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 27/49
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 26/44
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 31/55

Metro: Last Light: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/22
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 19/28
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 20/30
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 14/33
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 8/45
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 19/39
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 21/40
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 24/56
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 25/51
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 21/65
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 23/75
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 27/70

BioShock Infinite: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/28
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 14/34
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 21/41
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 17/47
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 15/65
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 19/51
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 16/57
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 21/78
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 19/74
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 23/91
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 14/123
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 21/98

Heaven: Frames per second: Higher is better
Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition: 13/19
Sapphire HD 7790 Dual-X OC: 13/23
AMD Radeon HD 7850: 16/28
Asus GTX 650Ti Boost Direct CU II OC: 17/31
Nvidia Geforce GTX 760: 21/43
Asus HD 7870 Direct CU II TOP: 18/36
Asus HD 7950 Direct CU II: 20/40
Nvidia Geforce GTX 770: 24/52
Sapphire HD 7970 GHz Edition Vapor-X: 23/51
Nvidia Geforce GTX 780: 780 29/69
AMD Radeon HD 7990: 30/100
Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan: 30/77

Verdict

The problem is, the 7770 is so slow. For some titles, even 50% more performance doesn't put you anywhere near smooth frame rate territory when it comes to 1080p high-detail gaming.

Worse, in some cases the performance boost doesn't get near 50%, which hints at what this card's greatest weakness is likely to be: the memory subsystem. Neither 1GB of memory nor a 128-bit bus is good enough. It really is that simple.

Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset ModelHD 7790
HDMIYes
Chipset LineRadeon
Chipset SeriesHD 7000
DisplayPortYes
Maximum Resolution4096 x 2160
Brand NameSapphire
Standard Memory1 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 3.0 x16
Bus Width128 bit
Multi-GPU TechnologyCrossFireX
RAMDAC Speed400 MHz
Analog SignalYes
Digital SignalYes
DVIYes
Number of DisplayPort Outputs1
Number of DVI Outputs2
Number of HDMI Outputs1
Height106 mm
Cooler TypeFan Cooler
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
Form FactorPlug-in Card
Length215 mm
ManufacturerSapphire, Inc
Memory Speed6400 MHz
Product NameRadeon HD 7790 Dual-X OC Graphic Card
Package TypeLite Retail
Processor Speed1075 MHz
Manufacturer Part Number11210-01-20G
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sapphiretech.com/en/
Marketing Information

SAPPHIRE Technology has just introduced the first in a new family of products in its highly successful HD 7000 series of graphics cards. The SAPPHIRE HD 7790 OC is based on the latest chipset featuring the highly acclaimed graphics GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture from AMD and sets a new standard for performance in mainstream graphics.

The SAPPHIRE HD 7790 OC Edition is the first product in a new family featuring the latest GPU architecture from AMD. It has 1GB of the latest DDR5 memory, and is factory overclocked with core clocks of 1075MHz and memory clocks of 1600MHz (6.4GB/s effective) to deliver new levels of performance in its price segment. Performance is optimised with the latest version of AMD's PowerTune technology. Quiet and cool operation is assured with SAPPHIRE's Dual-X cooler design, which combines a multiple heatpipe array with two aerofoil section fans and dust repelling bearings resulting in a highly efficient and reliable cooler.

Package Contents
  • Radeon HD 7790 Dual-X OC Graphic Card
  • Driver CD
  • Power Cable
  • DVI to VGA Adapter
Limited Warranty2 Year
Thickness35 mm
API SupportedDirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2, DirectCompute, OpenCL 1.2