While all the talk lately has been about high-end dual-GPU monsters like the Nvidia GeForce GTX 590 and the AMD Radeon HD 6990, AMD has quietly released a pair of new boards with more economical price tags this week.
For gamers on a budget, the new $150 Radeon HD 6790 slots in between the older Radeon HD 5770 and the Radeon HD 6850. It's built from the same "Barts" graphics engine behind the Radeon HD 6800, though obviously with some lower specs. It still has 800 stream processors and 1GB of GDDR5 video RAM, with a stock GPU clock speed of 840MHz and memory clock of 1050MHz. According to X-bit Labs, you will not be able to unlock the disabled stream processors on the Radeon HD 6790 to amp up performance.
In benchmarking compared to the competing Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti, HotHardware found each winning a few tests against the other, but the Radeon HD 6790 is in a bit of a jam, since stock GTX 550 Ti cards can be had cheaper and for a few more dollars, gamers might want to splurge on the Radeon HD 6850.
Meanwhile, the Radeon HD 6450 is AMD's new entry-level discrete card that costs $54.99 according to review sites -- though AMD's site says it's only available to OEMs for their pre-built systems -- and hopes to provide a boost over integrated graphics solutions. As such, it only possesses 160 stream processors, a 64-bit memory interface, and either 512MB of GDDR5 or 1GB of GDDR3 memory.
The Tech Report's testing revealed that the 6450 does indeed provide a boost over the integrated graphics in the latest Intel Sandy Bridge processors (which is much improved over previous integrated solutions), but fails to outpace the older, but only slightly more expensive, Nvidia GeForce GT 430. And if a budget gamer really wants vastly better performance, he or she should save up for the GeForce GTS 450, which offers three times the performance for twice the price.