AMD’s been busy in the past few weeks, first with their launch of the Richland APUs into the mobile space, the reveal of the hardware specs in the PS4 and now two graphics cards are on the horizon – one has been rumored for a while, with the other appearing in name only inside the latest Catalyst Beta drivers. First up, the HD7790 is expected to be hitting the markets within the next two weeks and SweClockers has put it through some preliminary tests, as well as posted up some final specs.
The HD7790 isn’t like the HD7870 LE or the HD7990, because it’ll be based of a reference design by AMD that will also be available from various brands. Pictured above is the first and only one we know about so far, the Sapphire Dual-X HD7790. Its a different core and it’s unrelated to any of the current chip families. It won’t pair up with a HD7770 in Crossfire and it’s not even Pitcairn-based, belonging in its own group for now, codenamed “Bonaire”. It reportedly has 728 stream processors, runs 1GB of DDR5 RAm at 6.4GHz (6GHz for the reference models) on a 128-bit bus and ships with a default clock speed of 1GHz or thereabouts. The GPU improves over the HD7770 in every way, boasting improvements to memory bandwidth, pixel and texture fill rates and performance which creeps up on the HD7850 1GB.
The thing that really gets me is the score in 3D Mark for the HD6970. Is that a typo? Is AMD really going to sell this card ostensibly priced at around $135? And it only uses a single 6-pin PCI-Express PEG connector? Gees, I hope Nvidia’s got something up their sleeves because this is going to make things a lot more interesting. Who’s going to buy a HD7850 1GB once this thing hits the market?
It might even get more interesting than that. With the HD7870LE, it was based on faulty chips from the Pitcairn family and wasn’t particularly efficient. This is an actual chip designed by AMD, with a reference design and everything. Is this a sign of things to come?
Oh and here: have a OEM rebrand
AMD is also rebranding the HD6790 as the HD7720. While it’s not the same chip, it is closing the same gap between the HD7770 and the HD7850 that the consumer market has been grappling with and even though it’s based on the older Barts LE design, it should still offer good value to OEMs looking for something more in the middle. The HD7720 was silently announced in the latest Catalyst Beta drivers compatibility list.
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