Tuesday , 29 July 2014
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Diamond HD7790 Graphics Card

Testing & Methodology

We’ve expanded our testing suite considerably since the X79 chipset release, and will continue to use the same methods for most of the motherboards and CPU’s we test. In the interests of thoroughness and accurate results, we run each test at least three times, and some tests more than that. We average the total of all the tests from each benchmark then report the average here.

The OS we use is Windows 7 Pro 64bit with all patches and updates applied. We also use the latest drivers available for the motherboard and any devices attached to the computer. We do not disable background tasks or tweak the OS or system in any way. We turn off drive indexing and daily defragging. We also turn off Prefetch and Superfetch. This is not an attempt to produce bigger benchmark numbers. Drive indexing and defragging can interfere with testing and produce confusing numbers. If a test were to be run while a drive was being indexed or defragged, and then the same test was later run when these processes were off, the two results would be contradictory and erroneous. As we cannot control when defragging and indexing occur precisely enough to guarantee that they won’t interfere with testing, we opt to disable the features entirely.

Prefetch tries to predict what users will load the next time they boot the machine by caching the relevant files and storing them for later use. We want to learn how the program runs without any of the files being cached, and we disable it so that each test run we do not have to clear Prefetch to get accurate numbers. Lastly we disable Superfetch. Superfetch loads often-used programs into the memory. It is one of the reasons that Windows occupies so much memory. Vista fills the memory in an attempt to predict what users will load. Having one test run with files cached, and another test run with the files un-cached would result in inaccurate numbers. Again, since we can’t control its timings so precisely, it we turn it off. Because these four features can potentially interfere with benchmarking, and and are out of our control, we disable them. We do not disable anything else.

We are revamping our testing method in order to better represent motherboard performance and offering to the consumer. Also we want to make it an easier read for you without miles of endless charts. We ask that you provide feedback in an effort to help us deliver better reviews for you.

Test Rig

Test Rig
Case Open Air Test Bench
CPU Intel Core i7-3770K
Motherboard ASUS Maximus V Formula
Ram 16GB Patriot Viper Xtreme 2400MHz +
CPU Cooler Swiftech H20-320 Edge
Hard Drive Western Digital Velociraptor 300GB
SSD Intel 510 series SATA III 120GB
Optical ASUS BD-ROM
GPU Diamond HD7790
Additional Cards
N/A
PSU Thermaltake Toughpower XT 1475W
Mouse Tt eSPORTS Theron gaming mouse
Keyboard Tt eSPORTS Meka G1 mechanical gaming keyboard

 

Test Suite

We will use the following applications to test the performance of the graphics card.

Synthetic Benchmarks & Games

Benchmarks
3DMark11
Batman Arkham City
Just Cause 2
Lost Planet 2
Metro 2033
Heaven Benchmark
Battlefield 3

 

Overclocking

This card finds the same fate as the rest we have tested as Catalyst Control Center puts a immediate wall into place at 1200MHz on the GPU and well thats as far as we could go..  Figure approximately 6-7% performance increase and you have an idea of what to expect from pushing the card but it is worth noting that all of the OC models of the 7790 all seem to choose 1075 as their out of the box overclock which is a bit of a surprise. Normally you have one company fighting for a higher clock than the rest, but in the case of the 7790 all manufacturers seemed to play it very safe as 1200MHz was reached with literally the move of a slider.

In order to ensure no system bottleneck we clocked the CPU to 4.6GHz to ensure there is no reason the system will slow down the card’s performance at all.

Some may ask why we chose the mainstream Z77 system, and we can explain. Up until recent the X79 enthusiasts platform did not really support PCI-E Gen 3 on the Nvidia 600 series GPU’s. Because of the inherent instability many have seen with the X79 platform with Gen 3 products, Nvidia has been hesitant to enable it, and now there is a workaround via registry to get it working. However, in order to ensure the most consistent testing possible, we have stuck to the natively supported Z77 platform.

Important note: Overclocking can cause component failure. Please exercise caution when attempting any level of overclock on system components.

Temperatures

The temperatures were recorded with full loaded Heaven benchmark looping for over 30 minutes or longer depending how long it took for the card to level out in temps and sat at a plateau for more than 10 minutes.

 

GPU Temperatures Temperature (Idle/Load)
HD7790 OC 31C/75C
HD7790 30C/72C

The cooler was not as good as some we have seen on other 7790 models but still it was easily capable to keep the GPU at safe temps even at max CCC overclocks. The larger surface area and capability to displace heat with dual fans on the other models simply provides more thermal headroom here.

 

Real world/Gaming Benchmarks

 

3DMARK 11

3DMark 11 is the newest in Futuremark’s suite of benchmarking utilities. Its a fully capable DirectX11 benchmark which also stresses and analyzes the system performance as a whole to simulate a heavy rendering environment such as a high end game or other app the end user may run. This benchmark was run with Performance settings 5 times and all runs were averaged for the result below.

 

Here we see very similar performance as we have seen a few 7790 models now and they all running the same clock perform quite similarly. This is interesting as we said before normally manufacturers are fighting for top clock or performance but this round they simply stuck to a standard common overclock.

Batman Arkham City

Batman Arkham city is one of those games that is just downright fun, and also it is nice as it gives very repeatable results for a game test. PhysX is disabled to level the playing field due to the fact that it would load the GPU on Nvidia based cards more to add the pretty effects which could hinder framerates giving AMD an advantage.

 

Batman again shows that the HD7790 pack is very close and within a percent of eachother although the Diamond card is showing slight signs of better efficiency which surprises me for such a basic design.

Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2 has been in my stable of games for awhile, and is quite graphics intensive so I try to bring it out as it is a fun all around game and allows a nice test of a cards capabilities.

  

 Here again, same thing and with all 7790′s pulling a score slightly below a 7770 I really want to see another driver for this card as we cannot imagine why this card would do worse than the 7770 but you never know as stranger things have happened.

Lost Planet 2

Lost planet 2 even for being a bit older tends to offer a very good load even keeping top end GPU’s capped at a little over 60 FPS so it is definitely a good tool to put the hurt on a more mainstream value card.

 

Here with Lost Planet 2 we see similar results with the 7790 just trailing the 650 Ti by less than a single percent or about 0.2FPS at both resolutions.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 likely one of the most demanding games that we have tested with, as it brings virtually every GPU to its knees. Here we see a trend that AMD does very well on this game returning very good results even on such a mainstream card like the 7790, as this game has proven to be a real killer in the past.

Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven is a very popular benchmark, but due to the fact I am still working on validating the repeatability of scores on the new 4.0 version I decided to stick with the 3.0 version for this test.

 

Unigine Heaven shows rather good results for the card as well at an average above 30 for both popular resolutions and besting some quite potent competition.

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 is probably one of the most popular FPS titles, and with its range of graphics capabilities definitely a fitting test as it also is played by a alrge part of the PC Gaming crowd.

 

The HD7790 does well with Battlefield too, but stutters were prevalent and  tweaking down the settings at HD resolutions would be advised or maybe just a second card in Crossfire to help boost performance. Overall with settings still at a pretty level but maybe tweaked down a tad you could have a quite smooth game here.

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