Review Index:

HD 7790 and 650 Ti BOOST Roundup: Asus, MSI, and Galaxy

Author: Josh Walrath
Manufacturer: PC Perspective


This was somewhat interesting.  It seems as though AMD has locked down the 7790s to a certain degree.  There could be a way to get around this, but in my quick searches I did not find a way.  AMD is limiting the maximum overclock of the HD 7790 to 1200 core and 1600 memory.  Asus is already running the HD 7790’s memory at 1600, so there is no leeway there.  MSI has it at 1500, so an extra 100 MHz base can be added.

The HD 7790 cards both were able to overclock to 1200 MHz core without the addition of any voltage and with the power setting put to + 20%.  This leads to a nice bump in overall performance, especially for the MSI board since it was not so aggressively overclocked in the first place.  Power consumption went up around 10 watts at load.  In other words, there is no reason whatsoever to not overclock these cards.  They will not produce an excessive amount of heat, they will not impact the monthly power bill to any significant degree.  I did not see any throttling of clockspeeds or a degradation of performance from run to run when overclocked.  These were amazingly easy cards to overclock.

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The GTX 650 Ti BOOST is another story.  I used the Galaxy overclocking utility for this particular exercise as the card was not recognized by Afterburner or GPU Tweak (not surprising).  It also was not recognized by the latest Precision X that I had in my possession.  Once that was installed and the machine rebooted, the card was recognized by the software.  This is a relief, as sometimes these programs are not updated quickly and overclocking can be troublesome then.

Everything seemed fine with the base core clock cranked to 1200 MHz with the memory at 1600 (6400 effective).  Upon further inspection, it looks as if the card was throttling itself pretty dramatically.  Like other reviewers, I found that by lowering the memory speed throttling would decrease.  I finally was able to settle upon a base clock of 1110 MHz and a memory speed of 1550 MHz (6200 effective).  The core would boost up to around 1200 under certain conditions and the video card seemed stable without throttling excessively under load.

This was a pretty big jump for this card and we see some positive improvements in performance.  We also see that power will increase by around 20 to 30 watts at the wall.  The card also becomes quite a bit noisier at these speeds and under load.  Still, I was quite pleased by how this card reacted to overclocking.

July 4, 2013 | 12:27 AM - Posted by aps (not verified)

You forgot to mention how to do the ole' pencil mod to enable that extra SMX unit in the 650 Boost :)

July 4, 2013 | 01:54 AM - Posted by deowll (not verified)

GTX Got the 650 Ti Boost. Not sure I understand everything about it but it is a huge improvement over the 260 that came in the computer. On the other hand this is a dell 30 inch monitor...Kind of thinking a GTX 770 might offer a little more umph.

July 4, 2013 | 01:51 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Yeah, a GTX 770 is somewhat of a must anymore for modern games and a 30" 2560x1600 monitor.  The 650 Ti BOOST could push the pixels, but in games like Metro it (and the others) choked.

July 4, 2013 | 03:42 AM - Posted by orvtrebor

As a side note I'm still amazed at how well a 5870 holds up considering it's age.

It really was a great card.

July 4, 2013 | 05:49 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

It also costed a whole lot more back in the day than either 7790 or 650Ti BOOST.

July 4, 2013 | 01:50 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Yes, it did.  But consider that if you had bought it new at $400, that is a pretty good investment going on 4 years and still very useable.

July 6, 2013 | 10:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have had a 5850 1GB for 3 years and it works well for 1080p gaming.
Bought it for Dirt 2 mostly as it was one of the first DX 11 games I think.

July 7, 2013 | 10:18 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

DiRT 2 was one of the first DX11 games.  I remember watching the first footage they released during QuakeCon that year.  Was really impressed... it sorta inspired me to get back into racing games.

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July 5, 2013 | 04:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The 7790 models you tried, are both 2 GB?

July 5, 2013 | 05:32 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Both are 1 GB models.

October 6, 2013 | 12:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How did the galaxy not win this with the better average benchmarks for games and others?

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