AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: The Quiet Beast - HotHardware

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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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".

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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.

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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

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

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

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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.

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

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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