AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: The Quiet Beast

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Today marks one of those funky occasions when you’ve probably been aware of the “new” product we’re going to show you for quite some time. And we’re not talking about a few days or weeks here either. In fact, it was all the way back in December of 2011, when AMD introduced the original Radeon HD 7970, that we first dropped hints that the dual-GPU powered Radeon HD 7990 was in the works. We dropped those hints back then because AMD dropped them on us in the lead-up to the Radeon HD 7970’s release. That little tidbit alone should give you a good idea as to how long the Radeon HD 7990 has been simmering in AMD’s kitchen.

Though the product has obviously been in development for quite some time, the Radeon HD 7990 is still an exciting proposition. Despite the relative age of its GPUs, the 7990 still has the potential to be the fastest graphics card to hit the market. NVIDIA’s been firing on all cylinders with its GeForce GTX 600 series products, but AMD has steadily wrung out additional performance from its products through updated drivers and refreshed products clocked slightly higher than their predecessors. Case in point, the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition and the Radeon HD 7950 with Boost, among others. AMD has also enticed consumers with its “Never Settle” bundles, which has included many of the hottest games released in recent memory.

Whatever strategery was involved that resulted in a later-than-expected launch of AMD’s dual-GPU powered Radeon HD 7990, it’s here now and we’ve got one. Its specifications are listed below and we’ve got the rest of the scoop on the pages ahead. Strap yourself in and prepare to check out AMD’s most ambitious graphics card release to date...


The AMD Radeon HD 7990: Three Fans, Two GPUs, and a Massive Heatsink

AMD Radeon HD 7990
Specifications & Features


The Radeon HD 7990’s specifications seem very impressive upon initial inspection. It sports double the number of transistors, stream processors, texture units, ROPs, and memory as AMD’s previous flagship Radeon HD 7970. But that’s because the Radeon HD 7990 is outfitted with two of the same GPUs and the same 3GB of frame buffer memory for each. There’s a lot more to the card that just its specifications though, as we’ll show you a little later.

Before we dig into the specifics of the new Radeon HD 7990, we’d like to direct you attention to a few past articles that will help lay the foundation for what we’ll be showing you on the pages ahead. Since the pair of Tahiti GPUs at the heart of the Radeon HD 7990 are identical to ones use on AMD’s previously-released, high-end Radeon HD 7900 series products, we’ve covered many of the GPU's key features at length already. As such, we won’t be diving in to them again here.

In our coverage of the original Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, we discuss AMD's PowerTune Technology with Boost. In the original Radeon HD 7970 launch, we detail all of the key features of AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and discuss features like PowerTune and AMD ZeroCore Power technology, GCN Tessellation, Partially Resident Textures (PRT), and Discrete Digital Multi-Point audio, among many others. In our Radeon HD 7950 coverage, we’ve got CrossFireX scores with the 7900-series and in the Radeon HD 7770 and 7750 launch piece, we detail AMD’s latest mainstream DX11 offerings and discuss how GCN was scaled down to cater to different market segments.
 

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Comments
infinityzen1 one year ago

Actually I wouldn't be surprised if the fix for the stuttering actually increases performance. It is an area that AMD was not looking at before and they have been finding performance that was "left on the table".

MayhemMatthew one year ago

Just read through a few reviews. Looks like CF issues are stopping this card just short at times. I thought it would go for 800-900, not 1000. At that price, the 690 performs more consistently, but if you play at above 1200p the 7990 is a better choice because it pulls ahead there by 5-10% at times (i.e. when there arent cf issues). Hoping new drivers will fix that.

Clixxer one year ago

Well everything I read AMD says the issue is just software that is needing to be optimized which I would think might give it more performance like InfinityzeN1 said. I really think AMD is getting on its game with GPUs lately and when they catch up with the software side they just might be really giving Nvidia a run for their money. 

The price wasn't a shock considering the earlier reports that the 7990 can beat both the 690 and Titan. Time will well what happens in the next couple months with what AMD does with the drivers.

Also top notch review Yes Now I just need to know where I can get a couple of these to "fall off" a truck somewhere :P

CDeeter one year ago

Nice review Marco! Sure are some beastly cards out there nowadays. Thanks for the hard work getting the latency info included!

marco c one year ago

Working on an update now using the prototype drivers that address some of the frame pacing issues...

Johnny3D one year ago

Very nice article... but I'm just not impressed with the card. Seems like the only time AMD/ATI video cards become the best performing is when they just double up the number of GPUs on the card. Additionally, the drivers for these cards have a very long history of falling just short of the mark.

Nvidia could cheese out and just slap two GPUs in one of their cards like AMD just did... instead they innovate and develop faster/better/more advanced GPUs.

Maybe I've just been soured about AMD over the years, but this doesn't strike me as innovative and I'd rather have an Nvidia based Titan or 690 or even a pair of 680's over this card.

CDeeter one year ago

In what way is a 690 not just slapping 2 GPUs on one card?

Clixxer one year ago

Yeah man that is all the 690 is. Just two 680s combined. If AMD fixes the driver issue which hopefully they will then Nvidia might be taking a backseat until the 700 series are released. In the end it will always go back and forth though. 

Johnny3D one year ago

Ahh my mistake. I guess Nvidia did cheese out then. I wasn't aware that the 690 was just 2 GPU's on the same card.

Clixxer one year ago

Heh well I know both Nvidia and AMD have done dual GPU cards for the last few series. It's not like one does it only then they decide to copy them. Nvidia brought out the 690 a year ago and AMD just now because of the demand since ASUS had the only real viable dual 7000 series GPU in the Ares II.

ThundercatMan one year ago

I always go by MINIMUM fps average and maximum frame rates are irrelevant in my opinion and if you look between the very expensive cards on most games tested the difference is minimum to say the least and that's why id never buy something like that even in a dual card setup its pointless. Besides when are these manufacturers going to fit as STANDARD custom coolers like the Arctic versions?

rdsoxfan1234 one year ago

Thats cool that they're making this, but I remember a different re-seller making their own version of the 7990 because AMD was taking to long to release it.

marco c one year ago

Update with prototype drivers is live:

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Radeon-HD-7990-Review-The-Silent-Beast/?page=13

Clixxer one year ago

Good info Marco and the video was a nice touch. So now the real test will be with those prototype drivers once AMD gets to optimizing them then see what the 7990 does on the bench! Yes

Johnny3D one year ago

[quote user="Marco C"]

Update with prototype drivers is live:

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Radeon-HD-7990-Review-The-Silent-Beast/?page=13

[/quote]

I have to admit... that is some silky smooth looking framerate.

DevinMorris one year ago

Such a nice shiny piece of graphics hardware If only I had the spare money i'd snag this up in a heartbeat.

chamber32 one year ago

Any Bitcoin mining stats?

Clixxer one year ago

[quote user="chamber32"]

Any Bitcoin mining stats?

[/quote]

I have been wondering the same thing also. I know the 7950 does about 525ish and the 7970 is about 650ish. I have seen some people say the 7990's will be around 1200 but haven't seen any definitive benchmarks on them yet.

SergiyMelnychuk one year ago

Can't wait for this thing to come out, it's going to crush nvidia's cards, the shuttering can be fixed using RadeonPro and enabling dynamic vsync and turning on triple buffering.

beni7192 one year ago

my dreams vga

powerfull ,beautiful,............

Kidbest100 one year ago

With two of these in a system, I think that we could easily mine some bitcoins and gain our money back! XD

Probably not, but you sure could mine a VERY respectable amount with this beauty :D

Someone who buys one of these beasts should start a HH folding team, and leave it on while they sleep!

Clixxer one year ago

[quote user="Kidbest100"]

With two of these in a system, I think that we could easily mine some bitcoins and gain our money back! XD

Probably not, but you sure could mine a VERY respectable amount with this beauty :D

Someone who buys one of these beasts should start a HH folding team, and leave it on while they sleep!

[/quote]

At the rate Bitcoins are going with difficulty It would still be awhile. 

BabyRuth003 one year ago

Oh boy!  I sure do wish I could afford one of these things!  Guess I'll just have to hope I win this summer sweepstakes thing!

haysleyez one year ago

This thing is so much win! I wish I had one :)

DamianDoss one year ago

Supports 4 concurrent monitors ehh? From what I see it outperforms the GTX 760 and beyond because although they may also support concurrent 4 monitor display, they're drivers are super buggy! Whereas AMD has been great with their multi monitor support! I'd suggest going for this baby if you really want your wide triple screen display when you go WAR MACHINE mode in Battlefield 3! 

JaredBachmann one year ago

I like the new 7990 but i would still stick with Nvidia. much improvement since the last Amd Graphics card though

Gian Filippo Saba one year ago

What an impressive vga, so sad the price is so high :c

KevinMahoney one year ago

I'm shocked to see these cards having the similar scores.

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