AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: The Quiet Beast

20 thumbs up

How We Configured Our Test Systems: We tested the graphics cards in this article on an Asus P9X79 Deluxe motherboard powered by a Core i7-3960X six-core processor and 16GB of G.SKILL DDR3-1866 RAM. The first thing we did when configuring the test system was enter the system UEFI and set all values to their "high performance" default settings and disable any integrated peripherals that wouldn't be put to use. The memory's X.M.P. profile was enabled to ensure better-than-stock performance and the hard drive was then formatted and Windows 7 Ultimate x64 was installed. When the installation was complete, we fully updated the OS and installed the latest DirectX redist along with all of the drivers, games, and benchmark tools necessary to complete our tests.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Core i7 Powered

Hardware Used:
Intel Core i7-3960X
(3.3GHz, Six-Core)
Asus P9X79 Deluxe
(Intel X79 Express)

Radeon HD 7990
Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition x 2
GeForce GTX 680 x 2
GeForce GTX 690
GeForce GTX Titan x 2

16GB GSKILL DDR3-1866
Western Digital Raptor 150GB
Integrated Audio
Integrated Network

Relevant Software:
Windows 7 Ultimate x64
DirectX April 2011 Redist
AMD Catalyst v13.2B6 / 13.5B2
NVIDIA GeForce Drivers v314.09

Benchmarks Used:

Unigine Heaven v4
3DMark "Fire Strike"
Batman: Arkham City
Hitman: Absolution
Alien vs. Predator
Metro 2033
Sleeping Dogs
Crysis 3
FRAPS + FCAT

Unigine Heaven v4.0 Benchmark
Pseudo-DirectX 11 Gaming


Unigine Heaven v4.0

Unigine's Heaven Benchmark v4.0 is built around the Unigine game engine. Unigine is a cross-platform, real-time 3D engine, with support for DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL. The Heaven benchmark--when run in DX11 mode--also makes comprehensive use of tessellation technology and advanced SSAO (screen-space ambient occlusion). It also features volumetric cumulonimbus clouds generated by a physically accurate algorithm and a dynamic sky with light scattering.

The new Radeon HD 7990 performed just as expected in the Unigine Heaven Benchmark.  With a pair of Tahiti GPUs and 6GB of frame buffer memory on board (3GB per GPU), the HD 7990 is essentially a Radeon HD 7970 CrossFire  configuration with slightly lower GPU clocks. As such, the card performs right in line with the dual-card Radeon HD 7970 configuration, which slightly trailed the GeForce GTX 690.
 

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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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