AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: The Quiet Beast

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A quick glance at the Radeon HD 7990 reveals that this is no run-of-the-mill graphics card. Not only is the Radeon HD 7990 a beast at a full 12” in length, but it sports a newly-designed shroud, three huge cooling fans, and massive heatsink assembly with a dense array of aluminum fins.

Although it looks like there’s only one, gigantic heatsink underneath that fan shroud, there are actually two—one for each GPU. The dual heatsinks each have a copper base, linked to the aluminum thin fins via four copper heatpipes. The three axial fans on the card blow air down onto the heatsinks, where some air is expelled from the case through a vent in the font, but a majority is circulated back into the case. In fact, air is actually expelled from the card in every direction. We should mention that in addition to high-performance, the cooler on the Radeon HD 7990 is designed to be quiet as well—much quieter than previous Radeon HD 7900 series products. But we’ll touch more on that subject later.

The Radeon HD 7990 needs such a large cooling assembly because it is essentially a pair of Radeon HD 7970 GHz Editions crammed onto a single PCB, with just slightly lower GPU clocks. The two Tahiti GPUs powering the card have a peak boost clock of 1GHz (the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition boosts to 1050MHz) and they’re each paired to 3GBs of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1.5GHz (6 Gbps, effective), via a 256-bit memory bus, for a total of 6GB of on-board memory. The aggregate effect of having the two GPUs results in a grand total of 4096 stream processors, 256 texture units, 64 ROPs, and a combined 8.6B transistors. Compute performance peaks at 8.2 TFLOPS, with a 256 GT/s textured fillrate and a massive 576 GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The two GPUs on the card are linked together via a 48-lane PCI Express Gen 3 PLX bridge chip that offers 96GB/s of inter-GPU bandwidth.

In addition to the newly-designed cooling hardware, the Radeon HD 7990 is outfitted with a heatplate on the backside of the PCB, which also adds rigidity and the card sports an all-digital PWM. Like AMD's previous dual-GPU flagship, the Radeon HD 6990, the Radeon HD 7990 requires a pair of supplemental 8-pin PCI Express power feeds. Take all of the goodies on a Radeon HD 7970, double ‘em up, cram them only a single PCB and you’ve got a Radeon HD 7990.

The output configuration on the Radeon HD 7990 consists of four mini-DisplayPorts and a single dual-link DVI output. And, of course, the card supports AMD’s multi-display Eyefinity technology, with up to five independent displays running simultaneously. Technically, with two Tahiti GPUs, the card has the ability to output video to 12 displays (6 per GPU), but only five outputs are on the card. Perhaps on of AMD’s board partners will get a little nutty and expose more.
 

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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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