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GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7790 1GB OC Overclocked Video Card Review

GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7790 1GB OC Overclocked Video Card Review

With a new GPU model from AMD we're got some different versions of the new Radeon HD 7790 and today we look at one from GIGABYTE and overclock it.

@ShawnBakerTW
Shawn Baker
Published Mon, Mar 25 2013 11:56 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:31 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 32 IMAGES

While GIGABYTE is a name we hear a lot about at TweakTown when it comes to the motherboards, it's been over a year since we've looked at a video card from the company. Today, though, we've got a chance to look at the new Radeon HD 7790 that AMD has just released from GIGABYTE to see just what they've been up to since we last crossed paths.

At launch we looked at the Sapphire HD 7790 1GB Dual-X and found ourselves impressed with what AMD was offering with the new GPU and what Sapphire had done with it. Since that was an OC model and today the GIGABYTE video card we're looking at also is an OC model, we've decided to look at the overclocking side of things.

It will be interesting to see what goes on with performance when it comes to overclocking, but as always there are a few things that we need to do before we've got a chance to do that. The first thing we'll take a look at is the box and the bundle that GIGABYTE is offering. From there we'll move onto the video card itself to see what kind of cooler setup is on offer.

From the card we'll get into the specification side of things where we'll cover the out of the box clock speeds along with the overclock speeds that we managed to achieve. Finally we'll take a look at our testbed, cover the cards that you'll see in our graphs today and finally see what's going on with performance with the overclocked GIGABYTE HD 7790.

Package

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While it's been a while since we've seen a GIGABYTE video card, not much has changed on the package side of things. You can see we've got the model on the front along with some of the main features which include the core overclock, the fan they're using and the amount of memory.

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Turning over to the back of the box you can see we've got a run down on the fan which is one of the main features. You can also see mention that we're on a 28nm core, have PCIe 3.0 support along with some of the main features in a number of languages.

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As we move inside the box we've got a fairly standard mid-range bundle from GIGABYTE here. Along with the Quick Guide and driver CD, you can also see we've got a dual Molex to 6-pin PCIe power connector.

The Card and Specifications

The Card

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We've got quite a large fan that takes up majority of the cooler with the help of the shroud. GIGABYTE have opted for a really larger cooler here with the Triangle Cool fan coming in at 100mm. This is large and due to that it should be able to spin quite low, while also offering some good cooling numbers.

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Taking a look across the top we've got the same setup as the Sapphire HD 7790 1GB Dual-X OC we looked at the other day. That means towards the back we've got a single 6-pin PCIe power connector and closer to the front we've got a single CrossFire connector allowing for up to two of these video cards to run together.

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Finishing our look you can see we've got two DVI connectors, one Dual-Link DVI-D connector along with a DVI-I connector. We've also got a HDMI port and a DisplayPort to round off the connectivity side of things.

Specifications

Out of the box a reference clocked HD 7790 comes with a 1000MHz core and the 1GB of GDDR5 at 6000MHz QDR. While GIGABYTE has decided to leave the memory clock alone, they bumped up the core to 1075MHz. This is the same core clock as the Sapphire - the difference between the two cards in clocks is that Sapphire pushed the memory speed to 6400MHz QDR.

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Because we had a look at an overclocked card already in the Sapphire HD 7790 review, we thought that we'd take the chance to overclock via MSI Afterburner. Because we don't have the ability to adjust the core voltage, we thought that we might not get much in terms of final overclocks. However, looking above, you can see the 1230MHz core and 6700MHz QDR memory clock paint a solid picture of strong overclockability.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS and Corsair.

Before we get into the benchmarking side of things, though, we'll quickly cover what's going on with the video cards in our graphs here today.

Along with the GIGABYTE HD 7790 that we've overclocked to 1230 / 6700MHz QDR, we've also got the Sapphire one we looked at the other day. We've also got the lower end HD 7750 and HD 7770 from HIS and the slightly higher-end HD 7850. We've also got the more expensive GTX 660 in the form of the HAWK model from MSI.

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Why are some graphs incomplete?

Adding new game benchmarks is a long, tedious and time consuming task as every video card has to be re-tested in those new benchmarks. Because of that reason we have always just evaluated our benchmark line up every six months. To stay up to date and current with the latest benchmarks and games available, we've changed our approach to adding new benchmarks.

Our benchmark line up will progress and be updated as newer more intensive games with benchmarks comes to light. While this will mean that initially you may only see a single video card in those particular graphs, as the weeks go on and we test more and more video cards, the results will grow quickly. This will help keep our benchmark line up as up to date as possible as we introduce and remove games on a constant basis.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Starting with 3DMark 11 you can see we've got a good boost in performance with the Performance score being boosted by over 10%. You can see we're not actually that far off from the HIS HD 7850 IceQ in this instance.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 3

Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com

Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//

New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

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Looking at Heaven performance we can again see a very nice boost in performance which sees the gap between the HD 7790 and HD 7850 close quite a bit.

Benchmarks - Phantasy Star Online 2

Phantasy Star Online 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.sega.com/?t=EnglishUSA

Product Homepage: http://www.pso2.com/us/html/index.html

Play Phantasy Star Online 2 and experience revolutionary combat in an action-driven, free-to-play multiplayer online RPG from SEGA. Take a journey into an immersive sci-fi fantasy narrative and explore mysterious worlds to unravel their secrets. Join fellow adventurers and fight against the legions of darkness to banish them from the galaxy.

Score explanation: Less than 2000: Please adjust your game settings because the processing load is quite heavy.

2000 through 5000: The game runs fine at the setting, if you have room, you can adjust some settings.

5001+: The game works wonderfully at this setting.

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PSO2 sees a really nice boost in performance and you can see we get a whole lot of extra breathing room as we climb towards 2500 points. Considering we're benching at 2560 x 1600 here, we've really got a ton of head room to move.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1

Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/

Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

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Lost Planet 2 across the board sees gains of around 10%. Unfortunately while they're not enough to bring us to 60 FPS, you can see that at 1680 x 1050 we manage to score a strong 59 FPS.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Just Cause 2 performance was already strong at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. Overclocked we see those numbers just improve more with again gains of around 10% being seen. We continue to fall shy of the 60 FPS number we need at the highest resolution for a solid gaming experience.

Benchmarks - F1 2012

F1 2012

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com

In F1 2012 players will feel the unparalleled thrill of becoming a FORMULA ONE driver with a host of new features, wide-ranging technical and gameplay advancements and extensive competitive and co-operative multiplayer components. F1 2012 will feature all of the official teams, drivers and circuits from the 2012 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, including the debut of the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin, Texas and the return of Germany's famous Hockenheim circuit to the calendar.

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F1 2012 also sees some good gains across the board with more breathing room being seen at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050. While we also see an almost 10% gain at 2560 x 1600, you can see the 54 FPS number falls shy of that 60 FPS one we're always on the hunt for.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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While you can see those strong gains again we're not quite able to break the 60 FPS mark at 1920 x 1200 and 2560 x 1600. You can see at 1680 x 1050, though, we move from 61 FPS to 67 FPS average, giving us some more breathing room, which is always appreciated.

Benchmarks - Dirt Showdown

Dirt Showdown

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/

Product Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/uk/dirtshowdown/360/

DiRT Showdown is the new arcade racing game from the team that brought you the award-winning DiRT series, uncaged in 2012. Pick up and play controls combine with electrifying events, frenzied crowds and stunning graphics to deliver high octane, dive in and drive thrills from event one.

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Under Dirt Showdown you can see the Sapphire HD 7790 video card at its stock clocks wasn't able to give us the numbers we needed. Overclocked, though, with the GIGABYTE model, you can see we move over 60 FPS at 1680 x 1050 and fall just two FPS shy at 1920 x 1200.

Benchmarks - Nexuiz

Nexuiz

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.alientrap.org/

Product Homepage: http://www.nexuiz.com/

Nexuiz is an Arena First Person shooter coming soon to consoles. Nexuiz is fast paced with extremely competitive game play. IllFonic brings Alientrap Software's Nexuiz to next-gen gaming consoles around the world while staying true to the game play refined over the years through development. IllFonic introduces a new Victorian influenced art style that is simultaneously futuristic and sophisticated. Nexuiz for consoles is powered by CryENGINE 3.

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While we see a little bit of movement under Nexuiz, performance on a whole is just way to low.

Benchmarks - Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/

Product Homepage: http://sniperelitev2.com/us/age.html

Sniper Elite V2 features detailed sniping simulation with advanced ballistics, taking into account gravity, wind, velocity, bullet penetration, aim stability and more. Guaranteed to provide players with the most realistic simulation of military sharpshooting yet available.

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Sniper Elite V2 sees some good gains, but at the lowest resolution we're only seeing an average of 55 FPS. We'd only need a small detail adjustment, though, to bring those numbers up to 60 FPS at this resolution. 1920 x 1200 is going to need slightly more, though, to get from up the 47 FPS average.

Benchmarks - Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://eu.square-enix.com/en

Product Homepage: http://www.sleepingdogs.net/

The core gameplay of Sleeping Dogs consists of giving the player an open world environment in which to move around freely. Sleeping Dogs is played as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game with role-playing elements. The player controls Wei Shen, a Chinese-American police officer, as he goes undercover to infiltrate the Sun On Yee Triad organization. On foot, the player character has the ability to walk, run, jump, climb over obstacles and swim, as well as use weapons and martial arts in combat. Players also drive a variety of vehicles including cars, boats, and motorcycles.

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Sleeping Dogs 2 performance at 1920 x 1200 and 1680 x 1050 was already strong and you can see overclocked we're able to just improve on those numbers.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01

Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long

Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/

Buy It Here

The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

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Across the board under Far Cry 2 we can see decent gains. They're not really needed, though, with the Sapphire HD 7790 already offering a 40 FPS minimum at the highest resolution.

Benchmarks - Hitman Absolution

Hitman Absolution

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.ioi.dk/

Product Homepage: http://hitman.com/

Hitman: Absolution is an action-adventure stealth game developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. It is the fifth entry in the Hitman game series, and runs on IO Interactive's proprietary Glacier 2 game engine. Before release, the developers stated that Absolution would be easier to play and more accessible, while still retaining hardcore aspects of the franchise. The game was released on 20 November 2012, which is in the 47th week of the year (in reference to the protagonist, Agent 47).

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Across the board we see a boost in performance under Hitman. The most useful gains come at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200, though, with those averages being pushed closer to the FPS 60 mark, which complement the 30 FPS minimum we're achieving rather well.

Benchmarks - Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.nixxes.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.tombraider.com/us/base/agegate?refer=184&

Tomb Raider is an action-adventure platform video game. Published by Square Enix, Tomb Raider is the fifth title developed by Crystal Dynamics in the Tomb Raider franchise. As the first entry in a new Tomb Raider continuity, the game is a reboot that emphasizes the reconstructed origins of the culturally influential lead character Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was released on 5 March 2013 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows to universal critical acclaim.

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Tomb Raider doesn't really benefit at all from the overclocking and you can see we get a slightly dip in performance at the highest resolution. Overall the game remains unplayable here at stock and overclocked.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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You can see under Far Cry 2 that our overclock helps break the 30 FPS / 60 FPS barrier at 1920 x 1200. 2560 x 1600 numbers remain too low still.

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Under our other benchmarks you can see we've got a bit of a performance bump, but on the whole, there's nothing that moves us from unplayable to playable.

Temperature Test

The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

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When overclocked you can see we've got pretty strong numbers here with the GIGABYTE 7790 with a load temperature number of just 60c. Let's see what kind of noise levels these numbers come at.

Sound Test

Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

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Noise levels are fantastic - load is actually the same as the Sapphire offering, but you can see the idle number is a few dB's lower.

Power Consumption Test

Using our PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

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Power draw numbers look good. You can see that while load is pretty much in line with what we saw from the Sapphire offering, the idle number is slightly lower on the GIGABYTE offering.

Pricing, Availability and Final Thoughts

AMD's Radeon HD 7790 continues to not be available yet with AMD expecting the model to hit retail shelves around the first week of April and while we've heard partners have already shipped the model out to retailers, we're still yet to see them listed over at Newegg.

With a $149 SRP on the standard reference design HD 7790, we expect, just like the Sapphire model, that this GIGABYTE video card is going to carry with it a slight premium due to the inclusion of an upgraded fan and an out of the box overclock. Like the Sapphire offering, we'd be tipping a price increase of around $10 - $15.

When it comes to out of the box performance we know that it would be fairly in line with what we saw from Sapphire. While we didn't test stock speeds, we just know from experience. While the memory clock may be 400MHz QDR down, we know that overall it's the core that gives the biggest boost to performance and with both video cards having the same core clock, we know that performance between both cards would be quite similar.

As for overclocking performance, you can see a strong boost in clocks mean a solid boost in overall performance. For the most part we see numbers sit at around the 10% mark. While we don't really see this change performance from unplayable to playable, most of the time we do see it overall just give us some more breathing room in situations which saw us sit just around the 60 FPS mark.

Moving away from performance and covering more the card we've got a very strong cooler that manages to perform exceptionally well. With the overclock we saw a load temperature of only 60c, more importantly, though, the noise levels sat at the very bottom of the graph with fantastic idle and load levels.

As for the bundle, there's not a whole lot that can be said about it. As you'd expect it's on the fairly light side of things, but considering where the model sits, this isn't too much of a surprise.

In the end this is another good rendition of the new Radeon HD 7790 from AMD and if you're looking for a video card at around this price point, it's no doubt going to be an attractive option. While the cooler is of course a little larger, it's not something that should cause an issue in most cases and the benefit is of course those low noise levels that come out from it.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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