Regardless of all the alleged doom and gloom on the PC market, there’s no denying that we are entering a very dynamic year in terms of product positioning. Roadmaps are being changed and new products are being introduced, products which did not exist on the long term maps just a few months ago.
The release of the new 3DMark sparked a lot of interest with the Far Eastern graphics product vendors, and the new management in companies such as AMD is making a lot of changes to the roadmap, which we detailed in our previous articles.
One such product is AMD Bonaire GPU, which should arrive to the market branded as Radeon HD 7790. "Bonaire" is a codename for the completely new silicon manufactured in 28nm at TSMC. Bonaire is located in the Caribbean Archipelago but in AMD’s product stack it represents the first Sea Islands part for the consumer desktop market. Unlike the OEM driven rebrands on the mobile market, the company is keeping the naming convention in the 7000 range. We believe that the branding decision was made in order not to Osborne the current product stack, targeting to demolish its price competitors and create a halo effect for the 7770 and 7750, which are based of the older GPUs.
According to slides that are leaking from the Far East, the HD 7790 is supposed to pass 3000 3Dmarks in the new 3DMark Fire Storm DirectX 11 benchmark. With an alleged price of around $149-169 this card should significantly outperform the GeForce GTX 650 Ti which currently retails for around $169.
Nvidia will not lie still either, as the company decided to respond to Bonaire with the product which carries a codename "GTX 655". Allegedly, it will the market branded as "GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost". This part will go above the regular GTX 650 Ti, and below the GTX 660. Looking at the performance the GTX 650 Ti can only do about 2200 3Dmarks, while GTX 660 scores 4100, leaving 1900 3Dmarks or a 80% difference uncovered. This is exactly the territory AMD wants to exploit with the HD 7790 "Bonaire".
We received preliminary specifications for the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost which might change by launch date, but they stand at:
- Codename: GTX 655
- Retail: GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost
- GPU: GK106
- Cores: 768
- Base Clock: 980MHz
- Boost Clock: 1030MHz
- Memory Interface: 192-bit
- Memory Clock: 1500MHz QDR (6 billion transfers per second)
- Memory Bandwidth: 144.000 MB/s, 140.63GB/s
From the looks of it, you can see that this product belongs to the 660 series rather than the 650. As you probably know, Nvidia’s Kepler line-up is a bit confusing, with GK104 powering the GTX 660 Ti, 670, 680 and 690. The GK106 die powers the GTX 660 and 650 Ti, while the GK107 powers GT 640, GT 645 etc.
In order to create the GTX 650 Ti Boost, Nvidia took the 660 board and downclocked things a little, changing the PCB’s and raising horror with all the partners that have unsold 660 and 650 Ti boards in their stack. At least, that is according to our typically accurate sources. The GTX 650 Ti has 128-bit bus and 86GB/s of bandwidth, the Boost Edition comes with 192-bit bus and the same 144.63GB/s of bandwidth that is offered on the significantly more expensive GTX 660.
We’re not privy to the specs of Bonaire-based HD 7790 at the moment but it looks like we’ll have an epic battle for your wallets on our hands. That amount of performance for less than 200 bucks – what’s there not to like…
Naturally, the biggest question is – can Nvidia counter AMD’s 7790 performance without breaking the bank?