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AMD Radeon HD 7990 review

Serious AMD engineering, but is it too late to the ultra-enthusiast party?

Our Verdict

For

  • Good performance when stable
  • Very quiet at full load
  • Cool at full load

Against

  • Issues with early drivers
  • Cheaper and faster cards available

Things are getting a tad stagnant in the graphics card market at the moment. Sure, we're still seeing new graphics cards on a fairly regular basis, but they're mostly re-badged, re-released or re-tweaked versions of existing hardware.

Whether we're talking about ultra-enthusiast class graphics cards like the Nvidia GTX Titan or lower-end parts like the AMD HD 7790, we're not really seeing new technology - just different ways to package it for the consumer.

And here we have another brand new card that we've actually already seen elsewhere in some guise or another. This time it's AMD getting in on the ultra-enthusiast segment, having given its AIB partners a little time in the sun with their own dual-GPU, Tahiti-based cards.

"We've helped our partners with these products," said AMD's Devon Nekechuk at a recent briefing. "We actually put a lot of focus helping them develop parts of these cards. We've designed parts of the Ares II and Devil 13 in partnership with Asus and Powercolor. We want to jump in this game, too."

AMD is now releasing its own spin on the CrossFireX card, code-named Malta - the Radeon HD 7990. Yes people, we're talking about a new graphics card, and at £863 (about AU$1,355, US$1,300) it actually costs more than a GTX Titan.

But that should come as no surprise, given the fastest graphics card in town, Asus' dual-GPU Ares II, costs around £1,200 (about AU$1.885, US$1,810) on its own. If AMD's Radeon cards are sitting atop the graphics card tree, why then is AMD so keen to throw its own version into the mix, especially as it's already helped design parts of its partners' cards?

"The core of this thing is that we set out to add to the family of the world's fastest graphics card. We wanted to create another product worthy of the HD 7990 brand to make sure we can cater to that market of people who don't buy graphics cards for utilitarian purposes," said Nekechuk. "They really want to create a Ferrari or a Lamborghini of a PC. They have that emotional attachment and they want the ultimate graphics card."

So, we're back to manufacturers banging the form-over-function drum, claiming people with the cash for ultra-enthusiast cards aren't necessarily after the outright fastest card, but want the best experience of ownership.

This isn't a persuasive argument when it comes to multi-GPU cards. With the vagaries of CrossFireX and SLI, you're almost guaranteed to have to get your hands dirty fixing multi-GPU problems with the latest games at some point, and single cards packing in a pair of GPUs tend to suffer more problems than most.

Tech Specs

Product TypeGraphic Card
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset ModelHD 7990
Chipset LineRadeon
Chipset SeriesHD 7000
DisplayPortYes
Maximum Resolution2560 x 1600
Brand NameGigabyte
Standard Memory6 GB
Host InterfacePCI Express 3.0
HDCP SupportedYes
Bus Width768 bit
Multi-GPU TechnologyCrossFireX
Digital SignalYes
Dual Link DVI SupportedYes
DVIYes
Number of DisplayPort Outputs4
Number of DVI Outputs1
Height126 mm
Memory TechnologyGDDR5 SDRAM
Form FactorPlug-in Card
Length320 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Memory Speed6000 MHz
Product ModelGV-R799D5-6GD-B
Product NameHard-Core Gaming GV-R799D5-6GD-B Radeon HD 7990 Graphic Card
Processor Speed950 MHz
Product LineHard-Core Gaming
Manufacturer Part NumberGV-R799D5-6GD-B
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

ATI Radeon HD 7990 Chipset

  • Integrated with the first 6GB GDDR5 memory and 768-bit memory interface
  • Support AMD Eyefinity™ & CrossFireX™ & Avivo™HD
  • Features Dual-link DVI-I / Mini Displayport*4
  • System power supply requirement: 750W (two 150W 8-pin PCI Express® connector recommended)
  • Powered by AMD Radeon HD 7990 GPU
Thickness40 mm
API SupportedDirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.2