AMD Radeon HD 6990 Review: Antilles Has Arrived

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The product we’ll be featuring here today, the AMD Radeon HD 6990, should come as no surprise to anyone that even remotely stays on top of the PC graphics scene. News of the Radeon HD 6990’s arrival has been circulating for many months now, although back in the early days it was referred to by its codename—Antilles. Antilles was the codename given to the dual-Cayman GPU powered graphics card that would eventually top AMD’s graphics card line-up and supplant the Radeon HD 5970 that’s served the company so well, since its release way back in November of ’09.

While news of Antilles development wasn’t really news at all, considering AMD’s GPU design philosophy these past few years with the likes of the previous generation Radeon 4870 X2 and Radeon HD 5970, the actual final specifications of the Radeon HD 6990 were unclear for quite some time. Knowing the die size of a Cayman GPU and the power consumption characteristics of a single Radeon HD 6970 that employs one of these chips, some hypothesized (including yours truly) that pairing two of them on a single PCB, along with 4GB of RAM, would be no easy task. Some guessed that the card would have fewer stream processors enabled than a fully-equipped Cayman GPU or perhaps lower clocks than a Radeon HD 6970 and that its specs would place it somewhere in between Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970 CrossFire configurations. However, it turns out AMD was actually able to cram what is essentially a pair of Radeon HD 6970s onto a single PCB. Sort of.

Take a gander at the specifications below and you’ll notice there’s two configurations of the Radeon HD 6990 listed. Those don’t represent two different cards, though. The Radeon HD 6990 actually sports two different BIOS configurations that can be used with a simple flip of switch. In one configuration, the Radeon HD 6990 falls within expected power limits, but in the other, the card will actually run beyond the PCIe power specs. It’s a pretty wild setup to say the least. You’ll see what we mean as we progress through the pages ahead and reveal all of the juicy details.

AMD Radeon HD 6990
Specifications & Features


The Radeon HD 6990 Arrived In This Hardened Case--Pretty Cool Stuff

A lot of engineering when into designing and building the Radeon HD 6990. So much so that it has spanned a few GPU generations. With that in mind, we’d suggest checking out a few past HotHardware articles to fully grasp everything that the Radeon HD 6990 has going on under its virtual hood. We won’t be rehashing many of the architectural details that have already been covered in previous articles:

In our coverage of the Radeon HD 6970 and 6950, we go in-depth regarding the architecture and features of AMD’s Cayman GPU, two of which power the Radeon HD 6990. In our reviews of the Radeon HD 5970 and 4870 X2, we talk of AMD’s GPU design philosophy and how the company has been able to use dual GPUs on a single PCB. And in the Catalyst Sneak Peek and X1950 coverage, we discuss some drive details and native CrossFire implementation.  But enough with history, let's look at AMD's new flagship.

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SammyHayabuza 3 years ago

Say Wooooooooooot....I Just Wanted to Be the First to Comment in this Super Bad Ass Card Review..on to Some Good Reading!!....BRB

marco c 3 years ago

Enjoy Sammy! This thing is a monster.

LLeCompte 3 years ago

This card is a monster. 2 of those things crossfired would be INSANE!

coolice 3 years ago

WOWZA..... Talk about just killing everyone around you...

I'm looking at my soon to be 6870, thinking.... Dang!! its just pebbles when compared to this diamond haha.

Also, honest to god, i think $700 is a fair price for this monster.... I mean, just look at it. NEVER IN MY LIFE have i seen a Same generation card outperform its peers by hight double digits.... I mean, of course, dont compare a 5450 to a 5850 for example... but a 6970 vs 6990.... HOLLLY SMOKES!!

rapid1 3 years ago

Wow just wow nothing else to say. You have to wonder what Nvidia dual GPU answer will be to this not to mention it's cost.. Then also consider in 12 months or so we will see even better, can you imagine that? Either way this thing is awesome, and at $700 I bet it will be considerably cheaper than whatever Nvidia answers with. Lets just hope it does not take them another 2 years.

realneil 3 years ago

They should just call it CardZilla!

coolice 3 years ago

rofl! awesome emoticon!

lifeskills 3 years ago

lol yeah neil meant to say you knocked me out of my chair with that one yesterday. On to the review

realneil 3 years ago

This is truly an awesome Video card.

But it only makes me want to wait for the next 'biggest fish in the pond' from NVIDIA now. It could be said that one could keep waiting forever for the one magic do-all wonder card to come along, but some of us only get to spend these huge amounts of money every once in a great while. Knowing that one or the other of these warring card makers is just waiting to spring something earth shattering next month, keeps our fingers off of the 'buy-now' trigger.


3vi1 3 years ago

If AMD would update their proprietary drivers to support the final Xorg 1.10 ABI, I could actually use it.

Der Meister 3 years ago

quite an impressive card... it just keeps eating $ even after you buy it. Though i totally wouldnt mind having it

inspector 3 years ago

Wow, nice case it comes in :P. Nice ass score as well.

CDeeter 3 years ago

Unreal. Can't believe the power of this thing. If you can afford one, I don't think you would have to worry about replacing it for a long time.

landy_zhu 3 years ago

any corner cut found? :)

ThunderBird 3 years ago

Awesome review can't wait to see what the green team has in store.

Hopefully AMD can keep good drivers coming in the future.

Membrane 3 years ago

That is one large card - massive!

MWaters 3 years ago

Look at that brick with ATI written on it! Freakin' Power-House for sure and ATI #1!

DScheive 3 years ago

doent it only let you use the power of both cores if your using crossfire? and only certian games have that functionallity :P still would rather get the nvidia gtx 580, or the 590 for that matter :)

JFisher 3 years ago

This graphics card is SICK!!! But I don't know how long it will last. NVIDIA can only be a few little stutter-steps behind them. Too bad I am too poor to buy either one though ... :(

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