AMD Radeon HD 6990 Review: Antilles Has Arrived

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Before we dive right in and inspect the Radeon HD 6990, let’s take a minute to look at its main features and specifications. Keep in mind as you look at the chart below that the card is built around a pair of GPUs, so some attributes are split between the two chips.

In its default, non-overclocked configuration, the Radeon HD 6990 has an 830MHz GPU frequency (@1.12v), with 1,250MHz memory (5.0Gbps effective data rate). There is 4GB of on-board frame buffer memory—2GB per GPU. There are a total of 3072 stream processors enabled, 192 texture units, and 64 ROPs. If you add all of this up, what it amounts to is roughly 2x of everything available on a reference Radeon HD 6970, save for the GPU clock (reference Radeon HD 6970 cards are clocked at 880MHz).

All of that horsepower requires a significant amount of juice to operate, so two supplemental 8-pin PCI Express power connectors are necessary with the Radeon HD 6990. And typical load board power can approach 375 watts, which is the maximum rating for a board with this power connector configuration (150 watts per 8-pin feed plus 75 watts from the PEG slot). Interestingly enough, as we mentioned on the previous page, with the flip of a switch, the Radeon HD 6990 can be run in an overclocked mode that pushes the GPU clock to 880MHz (@1.175). With the GPUs running at the higher clock and voltage, board power can exceed 415 watts, which also exceeds the power specifications, so using this mode is going to require a potent PSU. Powertune is configured to not exceed 375 watts when the 6990 is running in its stock configuration, but that number is upped to 450 watts when overclocked.



The Radeon HD 6990 is a full 12” long and the entire card is encased in a fan shroud on the front and a heavy duty metal heat-spreader on the back. A barrel-type cooling fan, common on all recent Radeons resides smack-dab in the middle of the card, which forces air across two heatsinks on either side, which are affixed to the pair of GPUs. Some of the heated air is expelled from the system through vents in the card’s mounting bracket, while the rest is exhausted out of the back of the card and into the system. In addition to making sure a system even has the room to fit a beast like this, good case cooling is also a must.



The output configuration on the Radeon HD 6990 consists of four mini-DisplayPort connectors and single dual-link DVI port. This card obviously supports AMD’s Eyefinity multi-display display technology and can drive up to five displays simultaneously. We should also note that the 6990, when used with an upcoming set of Catalyst drives will support 5x1 portrait Eyefinity configurations, which would make for some truly immersive gaming to say the least.
In a couple of the shots above, the BIOS switch which alternates between overclocked and stock configurations is visible, as are the output connectors, the card’s CrossFire bridge connector (yes, CrossFireX is supported) and board power connectors.

Physically, the Radeon HD 6990 is just a touch shorter than a Radeon HD 5970, due to the slight protrusions on the back of the 5970.

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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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