The HD7790 is a budget replacement for the HD7850 1GB, which AMD recently discontinued because the memory chips were getting too expensive. The company recently launched the HD7790 to much priase from reviewers, but it’s achilles heel is the low VRAM on the current crop of reference models and overclocked editions – 1GB just isn’t enough these days if you’re playing at 1080p and like to inject some AA smoothness into your games. Sapphire’s HD7790 OC 2GB, however, appears to fix that.
The card features a new cooler design we’ve never seen before. It uses a dual heatpipe design with a blower fan in the middle and Sapphire says it’s much more efficient than their previous designs. What’s unique about it is the back plate, which is usually something you only see on more expensive cards like the EVGA Ghost or some ASUS DirectCU II variants. It looks very eye-catching and part of it wraps around the end of the PCB to cover the top as well.
Sapphire says the HD7790 OC 2GB will be shipping with core clocks at 1050MHz and memory at 1600MHz (6.4GHz effective). The card is already available in the US and Europe and I expect it to filter down here in the next two months or so. The card also features two DVI ports (one dual-link and one single-link) as well as a full-sized HDMI and Displayport out. Because it’s a HD7790, it should be part of AMD’s awesome Never Settle bundle, with free copies of Bioshock Infinite and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. Pricing isn’t set, but expect it to retail for around R2000 when it lands here.
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