HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB Review - HotHardware

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB Review

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It has been a few months since the AMD Radeon HD 6990 initially launched. Since that time, a number of AMD’s board partners have launched their own Radeon HD 6990 cards, but as is typically the case with the first wave of products based on a new GPU, they all conform to AMD’s reference design, save for a water-cooled card from PowerColor.

While most of the Radeon HD 6990 cards on the market today are fundamentally very similar, we thought it would be a good idea to check out a retail-ready 6990 using AMD’s latest drivers to see how well the card performs (and behaves) with updated software. To that end, we got our hands on an HIS Radeon HD 6990 card and have put it up against NVIDIA’s best to see how things sake out in a handful of games and applications.

We’re not going to rehash all of the low-level technical details regarding the Radeon HD 6990 in this article, however. If you’d like a refresher on the Radeon HD 6990’s inner working, we’d suggest taking a look at our launch coverage here. Checking our coverage of the AMD Cayman GPU would also be a good idea; those details can be found in our Radeon HD 6900 Series coverage here.

 

HIS 6990 Fan 4GB GDDR5 PCI-E DVI/4xMini DP
Specifications & Features

 


 

In its default, non-overclocked configuration, the HIS 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 across both GPUs, with 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).

Having two high-end GPUs and 4GB of memory on-board obviously requires plenty of power to operate, so two supplemental 8-pin PCI Express power connectors are necessary with the HIS Radeon HD 6990. 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). As is the case with reference Radeon HD 6990 cards though, with the flip of a switch, the HIS Radeon HD 6990 can be run in an overclocked “AUSUM” 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. AMD’s Powertune technology with is integrated into the card’s drivers 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 has the room to fit a beast like this, good case cooling is also a must.

The output configuration on the HIS Radeon HD 6990 consists of four mini-DisplayPort connectors and single dual-link DVI port. This card supports AMD’s Eyefinity multi-display display technology and can drive up to five displays simultaneously.

In terms of HIS specific tweaks to the card, a few custom decals affixed to the fan shroud and fan are it. The bundle is also pretty standard and includes a CrossFire Bridge, 2 x Power adapter cables, an Active Mini Display Port to Single-Link DVI dongle, a Passive Mini Display Port to Single-Link DVI dongle, a Mini Display Port to HDMI dongle, a Mini Display Port to Display Port dongle, a DVI-VGA Adapter, a Install CD, Quick Installation Guide, and an “HIS Power Up” case badge.
 

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According to this article http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Radeon-HD-6990-Review-Antilles-Has-Arrived/

" However, it turns out AMD was actually able to cram what is essentially a pair of Radeon HD 6970s onto a single PCB."

Also for those that are into water cooling this beast; i know that quite a few vendors (such as EKWB, Koolance, and XSPC), carry a wide range of waterblocks for this and other reference 6990 cards.

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I know the stock clocks are spec to 6950 to keep heat in check.

My guess would be 6950 Crossfire = 6990.

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Though the specs on this beast are impressive im afraid AMD over did it this time. the 4gb of memory with the gpu they have is really dispropotionate i am afraid this card will to much ram to feasibly se and thus be overpriced.

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The amount of RAM is relevant to the number of GPU's on the card. See, the card is two Radeon HD 6970 GPU's on one card (hence the 4GBs.) Fortunately Crossfire works in a different way to SLI (which duplicates the same scene across both cards, therefore limiting you to 1.5GBs for the 3GBs 590.) so you have extra access to that RAM.

And it's not a dual core card per say. It's two GPU's on one card acting like crossfire; there are no such things as dual core cards mainly because GPU chips already have hundred of shader units on one chip dedicated to graphics processing and it's not possible to add a second GPU to the mix while retaining that single GPU style, therefore the need for cards like this one.

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No doubt this is an impressive card, but the sheer ~cost~ of it is likely to quickly rip your manhood out through your wallet.

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I just checked newegg.com; they only have one Radeon HD6990 available, and it's going for....$739.99 (not including tax and shipping). Not too shabby of a deal really, considering you're (basically) getting 2 video cards in one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814125370

 

Here in Canada; I saw at Memory Express, they're carrying 3 different brands of the HD 6990 (HIS, Sapphire, and XFX...HIS being the most expensive @ $779.99)

http://www.memoryexpress.com/Category/VideoCards

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wow what a beast of a card. Kind of reminds me of the first 8800gtx's big heat producing monsters. None the less I would love to have one.

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I am excited to see what a dual core proccesor can do in a graphics card, but i am a little speculative as to the possibility of one large proccesor that powers both graphics and fundamental proccessing for a computer.

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