GPU: AMD Radeon HD 7790 1 GB, 1,050 MHz
VRAM: 1 GB GDDR5, 6.0 GHz effective
Compatibility: DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2
Outputs/Inputs: HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI-1, DVI-D
Power Connections: 1×6-pin, topmounted
Size: 185 mmx 125 mmx38 mm, dual-slot
• Sufficient airflow
• Low power consumption and quiet fans
• Low GPU temps on idle and under load
• Specs are a little on the low side for an overclocked card
·Scaling other components is necessary to play above 1920×1 080 resolution
Your games will be playable, but you’ll be hitting a ceiling in graphic quality unless you play with multiple cards or have other high-end components.
I came across graphics cards when I was 11 or 12 years old, but I didn’t build my own computer until I turned 22. Building your own computer is a coming of age event in a gamer’s life-and you will most likely learn how to build one or how they are put together if you’re a computer science student or in a related field if you haven’t already. The graphics card is one of the most essential gadgets in a game enthusiasts arsenal. You want to make your games look good, and you want to run them without abysmal frame rates, so you want a graphics card that will meet the demands of today’s games.
The MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC is different namely because this card is overclocked (hence the OC in the title). Many cards come in two editions-the stock edition and a modified edition that either includes more VRAM, an overclocked GPU, or other special features. Most people not familiar with gaming technology, mostly people who just play the games for fun, might not know how to overclock their cards, so MSI has taken the liberty of doing it for them. MSI has done this so that you won’t need to dive into the system settings that are meant for more advanced users to adjust to change anything. However, like any component in your computer, you’ll have to make sure your power supply can handle it, and if you want the best experience possible, you might have to change up other components in your desktop PC to scale with the card.
Installing the card will take two slots up at the back of your case, so keep that in mind if you’re running multiple cards or multiple monitors on your rig. Just insert the card into its slot on your motherboard, plug it in to the power supply and connect your monitor, pop in the included CD and follow the on-screen instructions. The card also comes with the Radeon’s Catalyst Control Center so you can also make adjustments to your graphics to suit your preferences. The Propeller Blade Technology ensures that your rig has proper air flow, so you won’t have to worry about any surprise restarts that occur from overheating. MSI also advertises that the Radeon HD 7790 OC Edition has a Military Class Ill rating, so you can overclock without any worries.
The card has a single six-pin PSU connector, and the card will require 1 OOW to run, so make sure your power supply can accommodate this along with the rest of your components. The outputs have two DVI ports, an HDMI port, and a DisplayPort, so if you plan on playing with multiple monitors, you can connect additional monitors to this card. It supports up to 2560×1600 resolution and supports DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.2. Personally, I wouldn’t play on 2560×1600 resolution unless you have a large amount of RAM and a high-end CPU that can take on the task.
There are plenty of benchmarking software options you can use to test out your card, such as Heaven Benchmark, which utilizes the Unigine game engine, or you can test your card out by popping in a game of your choice. One of the options you can choose from the Heaven Benchmark software is Extreme Tessellation, which is one of the best ways to test out how the card will perform in gaming.
The definition and process of the tessellation test is extremely technical to non-techies-in layman’s terms, it is the process of forming the game environment that you will be playing in.
I tested the card at 1920×1 080 resolution and 2560×1600 resolution, and the difference was huge-while it did its job well at 1920×1 080 resolution, the performance significantly dropped off while trying to play at 2560×1600 resolution, which meant several things-1 needed more RAM, a faster CPU, and maybe even a second card in order to play games above 1920×1 080, something I also encountered in my last review of a graphics card. I tested out an assortment of games. Some were graphically demanding, and others, not as much. I used the Ultra settings on DirectX 11 for consistency. Some ofthese games included World ofWarcraft: Mists of Panda ria, Skyrim, StarCraft //: Heart of the Swarm, Call of Duty: Black Ops II and BioShock Infinite. Each time, the verdict came back the same: don’t play above 1920×1 080 resolution on Ultra settings if your other components aren’t close to high-end.
Other important specs that garners will look at are its power consumption and the GPU temps-those two numbers are key if you’re building your rig because there should be a balance of performance and stress. The MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC didn’t take up as much power as I thought an overclocked card would, both on idle and under load. Its GPU temps were actually quite low as well, meaning the Military Class Ill rating wasn’t just advertising-it also delivered. If you’re building for minimal power consumption or a quiet build, this is a good card to consider, as many of the other cards at the same price range and specs consume more power and, consequently, are also more noisy.
The MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC is good-if you don’t mind your graphics quality having a ceiling on it, namely technically maxing out your favorite games at 1920×1 080 resolution. If you want to play on a higher resolution, you will have to scale your other components accordingly, and possibly get another card to return to your usual frame rate. But if you’re just playing for fun, the MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC is a decent card that does its job.
First published in Gadgets Magazine, June 2013
Words by Ren Alcantara