Radeon HD 7790 vs. GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST Video Card Review
By Gabriel Torres on March 28, 2013


Introduction

Last week, AMD announced its latest mid-range GPU, the Radeon HD 7790. To counter this release, NVIDIA announced this week the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST. Let’s see which one you should buy.

Both video cards will be offered at a suggested price of USD 150.

The Radeon HD 7790 is a completely new GPU, launched to fill the gap between the Radeon HD 7770 and the Radeon HD 7850. One of the main novelties brought by the Radeon HD 7790 is the presence of a total of eight power states (called “DPM states,” in AMD’s lingo) instead of only four as in previous products. This means that the GPU has more levels of clock and voltage configurations, and the GPU automatically changes between these levels depending on current GPU usage, to make the GPU consume less power and to dissipate less heat.

Since the new GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST comes with the same suggested price as the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, NVIDIA dropped the recommended price of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti to USD 130, although this drop in price may take some time to reach the market. A version of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST with 2 GiB of memory (which is the model NVIDIA sent us for review) will be offered with a suggested price of USD 170. By the way, we don’t understand why NVIDIA likes to complicate the name of its products. Wouldn’t it be simpler to call this new GPU “GeForce GTX 655?”

The GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST has the same number of processors as the GeForce GTX 650 Ti, however its memory interface was upgraded to use the same one as the GeForce GTX 660. The core clock was increased from 928 MHz to 980 MHz, and it can be increased up to 1,033 MHz automatically, if the GPU “feels” more processing power is required.

In the table below, we compare the main specifications for the video cards included in our review. All of them are based on the PCI Express 3.0 x16 interface. AMD sent us a Radeon HD 7790 model from Gigabyte, with a slight overclocking (1,075 MHz vs. 1 GHz on the reference model). The prices for the GeForce GTX 650 Ti and the Radeon HD 7770 were researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this review and do not include rebates. The prices for the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST and the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD were provided by NVIDIA and AMD, respectively.

Video Card

Core Clock

Memory Clock (Effective)

Memory Interface

Memory Transfer Rate

Memory

Shaders

DirectX

Price

Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD

1,075 MHz

6 GHz

128-bit

96 GB/s

1 GiB GDDR5

896

11.1

USD 150

Radeon HD 7770

1 GHz

4.5 GHz

128-bit

72 GB/s

1 GiB GDDR5

640

11.1

USD 110 - 140

GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST

980 MHz

6 GHz

192-bit

144.2 GB/s

2 GiB GDDR5

768

11

USD 170

GeForce GTX 650 Ti

928 MHz

5.4 GHz

128-bit

86.4 GB/s

1 GiB GDDR5

768

11

USD 130 - 150

You can compare the specs of these video cards with other video cards by taking a look at our “AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table” and “NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table” tutorials.  

The Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD

Below we have an overall view of the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD, which is based on the Radeon HD 7790 GPU and comes with the GPU slightly overclocked (1,075 MHz vs. 1 GHz on the reference model). During our benchmarks, we left this video card with its overclocking, since the video cards based on the Radeon HD 7790 that will be offered initially will all have a slight overclocking as well. The configuration for the memory is the same as the reference model.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 1: Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 2: Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD

Even though the Radeon HD 7790 supports six video monitors, the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD is limited to three video monitors. As you can see in Figure 3, it has four video connectors (one DisplayPort, one HDMI, one dual-link DVI-D, and one dual-link DVI-I).

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 3: Video connectors

The Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD uses a 95 mm fan on a small aluminum heatsink.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 4: Cooler

In Figure 5, you can see the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD with its cooler removed. The printed circuit board is 7.4” (189 mm) long. As you can see, this video card requires one six-pin auxiliary power connector.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 5: Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD

The Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD uses a voltage regulator with four phases for the GPU and one phase for the memory chips. The voltage regulator circuit uses a digital design and is controlled by a PCP81022 chip. All capacitors are solid and all coils are ferrite-core models.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 6: Voltage regulator of the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD

The reviewed video card uses four Hynix H5GQ2H24AFR-ROC GDDR5 chips, each one storing 2 Gbits of data, comprising the 1 GiB of memory available on this video card. These chips can run up to 6 GHz, which is the clock rate they are configured for.  

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 7: Two of the four memory chips

Let’s now take a look at the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST.

The GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST

Below we have an overall view of NVIDIA’s reference model for the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 8: GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST reference model

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 9: GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST reference model

The GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST supports up to four video monitors, and the reference model comes with one DisplayPort, one HDMI, one dual-link DVI-D, and one dual-link DVI-I connector.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 10: Video connectors

The reference model for the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST uses a radial 60 mm fan, which is located beside a heatsink measuring 3 x 2.9 x 1.1 inches (77 x 74 x 27 mm). This heatsink has an aluminum body with a copper base.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 11: Heatsink

In Figure 12, you can see the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST reference model with its cooler removed. The printed circuit board is 6.8” (173 mm) long, but because of the cooler, the video card is 9.4” (240 mm) long. As you can see, this video card requires one six-pin auxiliary power connector.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 12: GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST reference model

The reference model for the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST uses a voltage regulator with four phases for the GPU and one phase for the memory chips. The voltage regulator circuit uses a digital design and is controlled by an NCP5395 chip. All capacitors are solid and all coils are ferrite-core models.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 13: Voltage regulator of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST reference model

The reviewed video card uses eight Samsung K4G20325FD-FC03 GDDR5 chips, each one storing 2 Gbits of data, comprising the 2 GiB of memory available on this video card. These chips can run up to 6 GHz, which is the clock rate they are configured for.

Gigabyte HD7790
click to enlarge
Figure 14: Three of the eight memory chips

How We Tested

During our benchmarking sessions, we used the configuration listed below. Between our benchmarking sessions, the only variable was the video card being tested.

Hardware Configuration

Software Configuration

Driver Versions

Software Used

Error Margin

We adopted a 3% error margin. Thus, differences below 3% cannot be considered relevant. In other words, products with a performance difference below 3% should be considered as having similar performance.

StarCraft II: Heart of The Swarm

StarCraft II is a very popular DirectX 9 game that was released in 2010, and we used the latest expansion pack, Heart of The Swarm. Though this game uses an old version of DirectX, the number of textures that can be represented on one screen can push most of the top-end graphics cards to their limits. StarCraft II: Heart of The Swarm uses its own physics engine that is bound to the CPU and thus does not benefit from PhysX.

We tested this game at 1920x1080. The “Texture Quality” was set to “Ultra” and the “Graphics Quality” was set to “Extreme.” We then used FRAPS to collect the frame rate of a replay on the “Unit Testing” custom map. We used a battle between very large armies to stress the video cards.

Gigabyte HD7790

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 116.8  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 108.6 8%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 94.7 23%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 86.8 35%

Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator is a DirectX 11 game that makes full use of tessellation and advanced shadow rendering. We used the Aliens vs. Predator Benchmark Tool developed by Rebellion. We ran this program at 1920x1080, with texture set at “high,” shadows set at “medium,” anisotropic filtering set at “6x,” and anti-aliasing set at “2xMSAA.”

Gigabyte HD7790

Aliens vs. Predator 1920x1080 Difference
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 47.3  
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 44.3 7%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 32.5 46%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 28.4 67%

DiRT3

DiRT3 is a DirectX 11 game. We measured performance using this game by running a race and then playing it back using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920x1080 with image quality set to “ultra,” and with anti-aliasing set at “4xMSAA.” 

Gigabyte HD7790

DiRT3 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 66.6  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 57.7 15%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 52.9 26%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 45.5 46%

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is another DirectX 11 game. We used the in-game introduction to measure the number of frames per second, using FRAPS. We ran the introduction at 1920x1080, configuring anti-aliasing as “MLAA,” anisotropic filtering at “8x,” shadows at “Soft,” and both SSAO and DOF at “High.” 

Gigabyte HD7790

Deus Ex: Human Revolution 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 63.8  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 59.2 8%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 47.0 36%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 43.9 45%

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 is the latest installment in the Battlefield franchise released in 2011. It is based on the Frostbite 2 engine, which is DirectX 11. In order to measure performance using this game, we walked our way through the first half of the “Operation Swordbreaker” mission, measuring the number of frames per second using FRAPS. We ran this game at 1920x1080, setting all image quality options at “medium,” configuring anti-aliasing as “2x” and anisotropic filtering at “4x.”

Gigabyte HD7790

Battlefield 3 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 57.2  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 54.6 5%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 51.3 12%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 46.3 24%

WoW: Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft is a very popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) that has just incorporated support for DirectX 11 in its newest expansion, Mists of Pandaria. World of Warcraft was originally released in late 2004 and has been expanded four times since then, with Mists of Pandaria being the newest expansion, released in September 2012. Blizzard, the game’s developer, has been trying to keep the graphics requirements for the World of Warcraft franchise low in order to keep its player base large.

We tested this game at 1920x1080 with image quality set at “high.” To keep as much consistency between tests as possible, we used the same flight path between Sri-La Village and Soggy’s Gamble, which are on opposite sides of the new Mists of Pandaria continent, measuring the performance achieved by each video card using FRAPS.

Gigabyte HD7790

WoW: Mists of Pandaria 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 89.1  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 83.4 7%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 63.0 42%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 61.5 45%

Crysis 3

We played the first level of the latest version of this popular franchise (which is a DirectX 11 game) three times, recording the number of frames per second with FRAPS. The numbers below are an arithmetic average of the three results.

The video resolution was set at 1920 x 1080, with all image quality settings set at “medium,” anisotropic filtering set at “4x,” and anti-aliasing at “SMAA Medium (2TX).”

Gigabyte HD7790

Crysis 3 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 53.9  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 50.3 7%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 41.1 31%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 40.3 34%

FarCry 3

With FarCry 3 (which is a DirectX 11 game) we drove from campsite “Cradle View” to campsite “AM12” three times, recording the number of frames per second with FRAPS. The numbers below are an arithmetic average of the three results.

The video resolution was set at 1920 x 1080, with overall quality set to “medium” and anti-aliasing at “2x.”

Gigabyte HD7790

FarCry 3 1920x1200 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 58.8  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 56.0 5%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 43.5 35%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 43.0 37%

3DMark Professional Edition

3DMark Professional Edition measures Shader 5.0 (i.e., DirectX 11) performance. We ran the “Fire Strike” test at its default configuration, at 1920x1080.

Gigabyte HD7790

3DMark 11 - Performance 1920x1080 Difference
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 3940  
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 3922 0%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 3002 31%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 2876 37%

Media Espresso 6.5

Media Espresso is a video conversion program that uses the graphics processing unit of the video card to speed up the conversion process. We converted a 449 MB, 1920x1080i, 18,884 kbps, MPEG2 video file to a smaller 640x360, H.264, .MPG4 file for viewing on a portable device such as an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Gigabyte HD7790

Media Espresso 6.5 Seconds Difference
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST (2 GiB) 39  
Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD (1 GiB) 39 0%
Radeon HD 7770 (1 GiB) 40 3%
GeForce GTX 650 Ti (1 GiB) 43 9%

Conclusions

NOTE: Our results are somewhat different from those found by other publications. We re-did all testing and got the same results. We are still waiting an answer from NVIDIA as for why.

Before analyzing our results, there are two important details to take into consideration. First is the fact that the Radeon HD 7790 we received for review has a clock rate 7.5% above the reference model, and if you end up buying a Radeon HD 7790 with a 1 GHz clock, you may achieve lower results than we did. However, according to AMD, the first Radeon HD 7790 models that will reach the market will all have some overclocking, and the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD is one with the lowest overclocking.

The second detail is that the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST model NVIDIA sent us is the one with 2 GiB of memory, which is more expensive and doesn’t compete directly with the Radeon HD 7790 with 1 GiB.

The results from our tests show a clear advantage of the Radeon HD 7790 with 1 GiB and slight overclocking over the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST with 2 GiB: it was between 5% and 15% faster on almost all games we included. The only game that the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST with 2 GiB was faster was on Aliens vs. Predator, where NVIDIA’s reference model was 7% faster. On 3DMark 11 and Media Espresso, both video cards achieved the same performance level.

Therefore, between the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD and the GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST with 2 GiB our recommendation is obvious: buy the Gigabyte GV-R779OC-1GD. It is cheaper and faster.

Originally at http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/article/Radeon-HD-7790-vs-GeForce-GTX-650-Ti-BOOST-Video-Card-Review/1754


© 2004-14, Hardware Secrets, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Total or partial reproduction of the contents of this site, as well as that of the texts available for downloading, be this in the electronic media, in print, or any other form of distribution, is expressly forbidden. Those who do not comply with these copyright laws will be indicted and punished according to the International Copyrights Law.

We do not take responsibility for material damage of any kind caused by the use of information contained in Hardware Secrets.