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Sapphire HD6790 CrossfireX Review

KitGuru was a vocal advocate of the HD5770. It combined a low cost entry into the enthusiast sector and offered a cheap upgrade path for performance gaming in CrossfireX at a later date. The HD6790 is certainly an upgrade to the HD5770, offering enhanced frame rates and support for more screens.

The Sapphire HD6790 is a marked improvement over the AMD reference design, combining significantly lower noise emissions with reduced temperatures of up to 7 degrees Celsius.

On a performance level the £120 Nvidia GTX550 ti has a hard time competing against the similarly priced HD6790. We deliberately used four high profile TWIMTBP games to give it a fair chance, and it won those we expected it to win, including HAWX 2 and Far Cry 2. Other titles such as Resident Evil 5, Home Front and Alien V Predator weighed in favour of the AMD solution.

As always, there is no single title which can give a final verdict, but it is worth pointing out that both 3DMark Vantage and 3DMark 11 showed the HD6790 outperforming the GTX550 ti. Direct X 11 performance is certainly a strong point for AMD in recent months, and 3Dmark 11 is a prime indicator that this budget AMD offering has some potential.

The CrossfireX results really are a talking point, because for £240 we noted similar performance levels to a £400 GTX580 in many of the titles on test. The 3DMark11 score was only 100 points less and some of the games showed that the 6790 in CFx managed to outperform the Nvidia high end card. Certainly, this won’t always be the case, but the early indicators highlight some excellent driver work from the red team.

Sapphires cooler implementation is exceptionally strong, and it appears to be very similar to the model they adopted for the HD5870, offering a large angular fan and chunky heatpipe design to dissipate the heat quickly. It is quiet enough to incorporate into a high performance media center and capable enough to be used in a CrossfireX pairing without generating too much heat.

Sapphires HD6790 will be sold in the UK for £120 inc vat, which is an exceptionally competitive price. The GTX550 ti costs the same and is usually slower and a little noiser. With CrossfireX results such as those we have highlighted today, those on a budget will find a single card can tide them over for months until they can add another. This low cost entry into upgradable performance gaming is what we liked so much about the HD5770, and this new card is a welcome addition into the HD6xxx lineup.


  • Cooler is quiet
  • temperatures are noticeably lower than reference design
  • power drain isn’t high
  • better than GTX550 ti
  • CrossfireX performance is very strong
  • At £120 there is no better solution on the market


  • reference design isn’t as impressive as this Sapphire model

KitGuru says: AMD have released a very competitively priced graphics card for the budget market which offers stunning performance in CrossfireX.

Rating: 9.0.

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  • Will I am

    Really good price for what you get, nice cooler too.

  • Vic

    Well let’s be honest, it wouldn’t take much to outperform the 550 ti

  • Fisshy

    Very nice card. Some very good work on AMD’s driver side.
    Image quality looks amazing for a card at this price and performance is on par with the price sector.
    It’s a shame that even with the much improved [email protected] Core 16 this card wont fold nearly as many PPD as a GTX550Ti. That kind of sours the whole deal to me.

    Stellar Review Zardon. Nice addition of the overall scoring on the conclusions page.

    Proud KitGuru Folder (Team 196420) and Gamer.

  • Kenji

    I really hate the way they change the naming conventions on these. why not call it the 6770 and be done with it?

    Otherwise its impressive for the price and fascinating to see the CFX results showing it often close between GTX570 and GTX580, for a fraction of the price.

  • Raymond

    These are extremely impressive little boards, for the price I cant see it getting much better than this.

  • Francis

    I am very impressed with the performance results, I hear some of them will be 110 quid too, bargain really.

  • Joseph

    That cooler is identical to the 5870 version, thats a nice way to do it. saves them development money on a new cooler too.

  • Ben

    The biggest problem is that 5830 has dropped in price, XFX are selling their 5830 XXX for 85 inc vat.

  • Guilherme

    How GTX550 Ti loss on Resident Evil 5?

    HD 6790 – Max FPS 72
    – Min FPS 57
    Average – 64,5

    GTX550 Ti – Max FPS 72
    – Min FPS 60
    Average – 66

    To me this is a victory by a green team… Well, the result yet remains in favor to red team, with 7 victory vs 5 victory.

    On games the battle is very difficult, 4 wins for each team. I was thinking, if is possible make this test in 1650×1050.

    After all, 1650×1050 is the better choice for both cards. 2560×1600 and 1920×1200/1080 is more High-end resolution.

    Maybe put more games DX11 e more titles. Just a idea. Anyway, good reviews! Thx for that.

  • We don’t post maximum frame rate figures Guiherme. The 72 fps is the average figure, not the maximum.

    Thanks for the comments, glad you like the reviews.

  • SilentWolf

    Hey guys, why would anyone buy a GTX 580 (AU~$500) when you can get two 6790’s and crossfire them for less than AU$300? Is there something I’m missing?

  • quasimodo

    because most users doesn’t have an XFire capable board to do this and some doesn’t want to Xfire at all.