Purported Radeon 6990 Tips Up, Excited Whispers Ensue

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News Posted: Wed, Jan 26 2011 8:31 PM
Photos of AMD's upcoming Radeon 6990 dual-GPU have surfaced on the Japanese website 4Gamer.net and the card's sheer bulk is an impressive sight. Instead of using a fan mounted at the back of the GPU that pushes air across and out the front, the 6990's fan sits dead center where it can simultaneously cool both GPUs. We're curious about how the air intake/outtake work in this design; it appears that the fan pulls air over the second GPU and pushes it across the first. No word yet on whether this card is larger than the 5970 but it sticks with the former's 6-pin / 8-pin auxiliary power connections.



The front of the 6990 sports four display ports and a single DVI, but we're hoping this is something of a beta layout. It seems odd to support five monitors instead of four or six, and while ATI is mostly committed to DisplayPort these days, HDMI ports are scarcely outmoded.

What we're most curious about is the card's specs and accompanying power draw. It's extremely unlikely that ATI can stick two 6970 dies on a single card since a single 6970 rates a 250W TDP and 300W is the upper limit for PCIe cards. When AMD built the still-dominant 5970, it combined the Radeon 5870's stream processor, ROP, and texture unit ratios while cutting clockspeeds down to Radeon 5850 levels. The Radeon 5850, however, was rated for a 151W TDP while the 6950 draws 200W.



How AMD will make up the difference is unclear; it's possible that the 6990 won't be as big a leap over the company's second-fastest part as the 5970 was compared to the 5870. Even if that turns out to be the case, we're still curious to see how the new card will slot into AMD's product structure. With Cayman, AMD put itself on competitive footing with the GeForce GTX 570—the 6990 could close the gap between itself and the GTX 580. If AMD prices the card to sell, the top end of the market could get awful interesting later on this year. 
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RA1D replied on Wed, Jan 26 2011 8:44 PM

That'll be a lot of heat for one fan to move during full load. They should've thrown two or three fans on there like the dual-GPU EVGA card we saw at CES.

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Geezus , look at the size of that thing....AMD has to have some hot sauce magic up their sleeves with the 6990, this thing has to have @ least a 20-25% pure performance gain over the 5970 or I wont be impressed!!

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Marco C replied on Wed, Jan 26 2011 9:00 PM

@Sammy - I'd bet the gains over the 5970 will be higher than that, at least in the newest gaming titles.

As for the single fan, it may be enough. it looks like there are some enourmous heatsinks on that thing, and it only has a single 8-pin and single 6-pin power connector. That's surprising. Either clocks are much lower than the single GPU cards or maybe the GPUs are a new revision that are a little more power friendly. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

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realneil replied on Wed, Jan 26 2011 9:17 PM

Keep on releasing all that new stuff and driving down the price of mere mortal video cards.

That thing is a big sucker,..........

That guy in Sammy's picture who forgot his tie probably has two of these things in SLI Crossfire by now,....


 

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Marco C:

@Sammy - I'd bet the gains over the 5970 will be higher than that, at least in the newest gaming titles.

Yeah, I was going to put a higher percentage, but I'm inching for the Benchmark numbers to blow me away. Cant Wait!!

Marco C:

As for the single fan, it may be enough. it looks like there are some enourmous heatsinks on that thing, and it only has a single 8-pin and single 6-pin power connector. That's surprising. Either clocks are much lower than the single GPU cards or maybe the GPUs are a new revision that are a little more power friendly. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

That's what I was thinking, It must be a new revision, I guess AMD is going to unlock and squeeze out the full potential of The Cayman 40nm process.

 

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realneil:

Keep on releasing all that new stuff and driving down the price of mere mortal video cards.

Right On!!

realneil:

That guy in Sammy's picture who forgot his tie probably has two of these things in SLI by now,....

He probably had it running in Sli...err I mean in Crossfire, many months ago, remember that Marco said that the 1gb 6950 was Manufactured in August 2010, so this monster was already ready to counter strike in case Nvidia would of come out with a Dual GPU solution or if the GTX 580 would have been a greater threat . Its a vicious Rivalry like Marco said in the Pod Cast.

 

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Joel H replied on Thu, Jan 27 2011 12:02 AM

I'm going to disagree with Marco on this one. I agree that in tessellation-heavy games, a theoretical 6950x2 should have an advantage over a 5970. Problem is, there's just not that many titles that hammer tessellation (I consider this a good thing). If you compare the 5970 to the 6950 in Crossfire:

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/AMD-Radeon-HD-6970--6950-GPU-Reviews-Enter-Cayman/?page=7

You'll see that the 5970 and 6950 are nearly always neck-and-neck at 2560x1600. At 1900x1200 the 6950 has an advantage--but the 5970s framerates are almost always high enough to make the gap difficult for a player to detect.

Just to be clear: I do think the 6990 GPU will be faster than the 5970, but I think a 25% gain is the most to generally expect. It's still not clear if AMD can even do a straight 6950X2 design; the company's 200W TDP on the single 6950 suggests that the 6990 is either binned from the very best 6950 GPUs or AMD has found other ways to significantly cut power consumption. If they stayed within the 300W TDP limit by carving down the 6950 a bit further, the gap between the 5970 and the 6990 will be even smaller.

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coolice replied on Thu, Jan 27 2011 12:34 AM

woah man... that one gpu's power requirements equates to my entire Desktop.

As a Canadian who lives in an igloo, this thing might rob me off my home (melt the ice). Craazy long card. Welll, i guess it might just impress the ladies.... "Hey babay, i've got a 14 inch long GPU, wanna see"

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Schmich replied on Thu, Jan 27 2011 6:42 AM

From the article:

"...ATI can stick two 6870 dies..."

Shouldn't it be 6970?

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RA1D:

That'll be a lot of heat for one fan to move during full load. They should've thrown two or three fans on there like the dual-GPU EVGA card we saw at CES.

Yeah, but I guess it can be cooled exceptionally with one fan in the middle, this reminds me of the Asus Ares. I guess AMD has taken hints from Asus.

http://hothardware.com/Reviews/Asus-ARES-Dual-Radeon-HD-5870-4GB-Review/?page=1

 

 

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