Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition Video Card Review

Today we are strapping the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition to our test bench and pitting it against a GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. Each card is equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 and is attractively priced for the value minded gamer. The gloves will come off and we will find out whether the Black Edition is worthy of a Black Belt or a Black Eye.

Introduction

XFX is a well-known company among PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts. It is a division of PINE Technology Holdings Limited. The XFX manufacturing branch specializes in high-performance PC hardware with a focus on gaming products including AMD and NVIDIA graphics processing units and motherboards.

On our test bench today is the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition 2GB (FX-779A-CDB4) video card.

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AMD Radeon HD 7790

The Radeon HD 7790, also known as "Bonaire," is a half-generation of the Radeon HD 7000 series video cards. It was launched on March 22nd, 2013, with a base price of $149. The launch also brings more enhancements to the AMD PowerTune technology, which means higher sustained clocks, more performance, and improved power efficiency.

The Radeon HD 7790 GPU itself is comprised of 2.08 billion transistors packed into 896 stream processors with a clock speed of 1GHz. There are 56 texture units, 64 Z/stencil units, and 16 ROPs. The Radeon HD 7790 is designed to be paired with 1GB or 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit bus, running at 1500MHz for a 6.0Gbps data rate and a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 96GB per second. The Radeon HD 7790's typical board power is just 85 Watts.


XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition 2GB

There are three different versions of the Radeon HD 7790 that XFX offers which you need to be aware of. The different versions all share the same clock speed, but differ in VRAM capacity and the type of heatsink and fan employed. At the top of the heap is the video card we are evaluating today, the FX-779A-CDB4 model, known as the Black Edition, with an MSRP of $169.99. The CDB4 model has 2GB of VRAM, and XFX's unique Double Dissipation heatsink and fan combo.

Second down is the FX-779A-ZDB4 model, also known as the Black Edition. The ZDB4 model shares the same Double Dissipation heatsink and fan combo as the CDB4 model, but has only 1GB of VRAM, making it a bit cheaper in price where less VRAM is needed.

Third on the list is the FX-779A-ZNJ4 model, known as the Core Edition. This model does not have the Double Dissipation technology, and has only 1GB of VRAM. However, all three models are factory overclocked to 1075MHz. This is 75MHz over the reference frequency of Radeon HD 7790. As you might guess, the CDB4 is the most expensive model, the ZDB4 the second expensive, and the ZNJ4 the least expensive.

One problem that we are facing right now, is a huge availability problem on the highest-end XFX 7790 Black Edition, the CDB4 model we are evaluating. While this offers the highest specifications out of the Radeon HD 7790 that XFX offers, it is also impossible to find in e-tail right now. XFX assures us, however, that this is an active SKU and availability will be filled throughout this summer. So stay tuned.

We will just have to keep an eye on availability for this 2GB model. The ZDB4 and ZNJ4 models are easier to find, and in stock at many places. Remember the only difference between the CDB4 and ZDB4 is an extra 1GB of memory on the CDB4. Therefore, our review will show you the potential of the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition at its best, with the Double Dissipation technology and how well it can overclock. The cooler setup is exactly the same, with the same clock speeds on the 1GB ZDB4 model. If you cannot find the CDB4 model, the ZDB4 model is your best bet.

The XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition CDB4 has been equipped with a factory overclock of 75MHz to 1075MHz on the GPU and a 400MHz effective overclock to 6.4GHz on the memory. Additionally, XFX has slathered on twice the memory compared to most Radeon HD 7790s that are available from other add-in-board partners, providing a total of 2GB for this model.

The XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition is equipped with a variety of XFX enhancements, including "Double Dissipation", "Ghost Thermal Technology" and "Duratec Professional Grade" components. These enhancements claim to provide quality components for better durability, more effective cooling solutions and a reliable factory overclock.

The XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition comes with a 2 year factory warranty that is extendable to a lifetime warranty with registration.

XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition

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The XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition is packaged in a black box that features XFX’s logo overlaid on top of a textured X along with the indication that it is a Radeon HD 7790 based graphics card equipped with 2GB of GDDR5. The front of the box highlights some of the features of the card including the custom cooling solution, Ghost Thermal Technology and PCI Express 3.0. Inside the box, XFX included a driver CD, a quick start guide, PSU advertisement, an adapter and connector advertisement, a door hanger and dogtags.

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The front of the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition features an aluminum cover that serves to house the fan and cover the heatsink. Two heatpipes whisk heat away from the GPU and dissipate it through the aluminum fins that are actively cooled by a pair of fans. The term "Double Dissipation" technology describes XFX's unique dual fan design which allows air to cool everything including GPU, heatsinks, and even the power components and the PCB board. What this means is that the heatsink and airflow is designed so that air can actively cool not only the GPU, but also all the components on the PCB, including most importantly all the power components. With cooler running components, and a PCB, your chances for overclocking just went up. This is not available in the Core Edition, only on the Black Edition XFX Radeon HD video cards.

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On the I/O panel there are four ports. These include two DVI-I connectors, one display port connector and one HDMI connector. The power connector is on the back side of the video card and requires a single 6-pin PCI-e connection. The video card’s measurements are 7.5 inches in Length, 1.5 inches Wide, and 4.5 inches in Height.