AMD Radeon HD 7790 vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost: The latest $150 graphics card war

AMD Radeon HD 7790 vs Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost: The latest $150 graphics card war

Summary: The midrange gets a pair of new boards for budget-conscious gamers.

TOPICS: Hardware, PCs

We might drool over the graphics-processing power of cards like the Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan, but there's a reason they are sold in limited quantities: Few gamers can afford to drop $1,000 on a single component, no matter how beastly.

Instead, most buyers have to settle for far-cheaper boards, which are also more likely to pop up in desktops sold by mainstream vendors. In recent days, both AMD and Nvidia have announced new products designed to hit the price-versus-performance sweet spot that appeals to most gamers.

First, AMD launched the Radeon HD 7790, which slots in between the cheaper HD 7770 and the slightly pricier HD 7850. Built on the new Bonaire GPU, it features 896 stream processors clocked at 1GHz, 1GB of GDDR5 memory, and 128-bit memory interface. (In comparison, the 7770 has 640 stream processors.) AMD has also improved its PowerTune overclocking software tool and has given the 7790 the ability to work in multi-card configurations.

The company is touting the $149 card's performance against Nvidia's GeForce GTX 650 Ti, though there's one problem with the comparison: Nvidia has just dropped the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost (pictured above) into our laps. Priced the same as the Radeon HD 7790, the 1GB Boost edition includes 768 CUDA cores clocked at 980MHz. Unlike the 7790, the 650 Ti Boost has a 192-bit memory interface, and uses an overclocking tool of its own — Nvidia's GPU Boost technology, which adjusts clock speed on the fly as the conditions warrant. It also works in 2-way SLI configurations. Thanks to the wider memory interface, Nvidia estimates that the Boost version is 40 percent faster than the original GTX 650 Ti, and can compete quite nicely with the Radeon HD 7850. A 2GB version will ship first, however, at a slightly higher $169 price point.

Early reviews from HotHardware and AnandTech of the 2GB GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost show that it is a more natural match for the Radeon HD 7850 than the 7790, though AnandTech finds its performance lags a bit more than HotHardware does. While there aren't 1GB flavors of the 650 Ti Boost available yet to directly compare to the 7790, the fact that a 2GB version is just $20 more makes the new Radeon a tougher buying proposition, unless you're looking for the absolute best deal.

Are you in the market for a new midrange graphics card? Would the Radeon HD 7790 or the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost appeal to you more? Let us know your thoughts in the Talkback section below.

Topics: Hardware, PCs

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  • Best budget and eco-friendly option

    AMD Radeon 7750 as it doesn't require the additional power from a 6V rail adapter. I'm pretty sure some versions are even passively cooled/fan-less. Just throwing that out there for interested people.
  • A HD 7850 is already $149

    A HD 7850 is already $149 so there is little reason to go voor the 650 Ti Boost which is pricier and is regularly outperformed by the HD 7850

    The HD 7790 is likely to be had at a price of $120 to $130 soon and thus will be cheaper than the 650 Ti Boost
    • Check again

      @IE9 Your link shows the 7850 in Euros. The article assumes the currency to be in American dollars. So, € 149,90 is equivalent to $191.60. In the same respect, the 650 Ti Boost 1GB model will be $150 or € 117.35.

      The cheapest 7850 in American dollars, is closer to $175-$180 mark (as of writing this response).
      Ghet Bent
  • Multiple Monitors

    I do not care how great something is on a single monitor. Why can't they make some great 2 and especally 4 monitor cards?
    • There is

      But it's gonna cost ya $2000.

      Quadro K5000
      Alan Smithie
  • Wow...

    I haven't visited here in a while - when did ZDNet become a link-passing site, offloading the heavy tasks to other sites, like AnandTech? If that is the case, why should I come here?