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ASUS HD7790 Direct CU II OC Review

Rating: 8.0.


Today we are following up on our HD7790 launch article with a look at the latest overclocked model from ASUS. This card features a dual fan cooling system and out of the box clock enhancements. Is this a card you should be shortlisting for a cost effective gaming build in the coming months?

Previous reviews of ASUS products have focused on their excellent cooling systems, often reducing reference temperatures by 15c-20c. AMD’s HD7790 isn’t a particularly hot running graphics card however so we would expect the ASUS modifed solution to run cool n’ quiet.

We will be interested today to find out how it compares against the excellent Sapphire HD7790 OC, which also features a custom dual fan cooling solution.

ASUS HD7790 Direct CU II OC
The ASUS HD7790 Direct CU II OC is available from SCAN in the UK for £144.92 inc vat with a copy of the excellent Bioshock Infinite included.

We know that ASUS tend to charge a premium for their enhanced cards, but this is £15 more expensive than the excellent Sapphire HD7790 which we reviewed on the 22nd of March.

Luckily we found it for a tenner less at CCL which means it is closely priced to the Sapphire version (only £5 more). These HD7790 pricing issues are widespread online, with some models varying up to £15 in price, depending where you look. It is worth doing a thorough price search for any of these cards online to make sure you get the best deal.

We did raise the point about general pricing concerns in our launch article, so we aren’t going to regurgitate the topic again today.
graph

The graph above from an AMD presentation highlights how the HD7790 sits at the top of the AMD ‘budget’ gamers card pile. For comparison purposes today we will be testing the HD7790 OC against the Sapphire HD7790 OC, XFX HD7770, XFX HD7850 and Sparkle GTX650 Ti Dragon Series. As I said before, I don’t know any gamer who is interested in the HD7750 and I would rather focus on the HD7850, especially as the deals on this solution are extremely competitive today.
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sapphire HD7790ocsparklexfxhd7770xfxhd7850
Above, we can see an overview of the cards we are comparing against in this review today, all labelled and running the latest AMD and Nvidia beta drivers (Catalyst 13.3 and Forceware 314.21).  The HD7850 is the only card on test utilising a 256 bit memory interface. That said, thankfully AMD have equipped the new HD7790 with 896 shaders, up from a measly 640 on the HD7770.

As the GPUz screenshots show, the ASUS card is clocked at 1,075mhz core, an increase from the reference speed of 1,000mhz. The GDDR5 memory also receives a boost from 1,500mhz (6Gbps effective) to 1,600mhz (6.4Gbps effective).

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