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AMD HD 7990 Review

AMD's HD 7990 Dual GPU

Two GPU!

This is the first review on an AMD based card on this site! Let's celebrate by popping champagne bottles and chanting Techometer! But really, I've been meaning to do a close up on the HD 7990. Something didn't really click when I first saw this card way back before it hit the public. I thought to myself "Wait.... what happened to the blower?". Nvidia and AMD both used blowers for their highest end cards for the longest time, so I thought "Well, the 7990 shouldn't be any different" boy was I wrong but in the rightest way. (more on this later)

No you're not drunk. Those are indeed three fans on one card
Can you imagine the length the card has to be in order to fit those fans? Even better.. can you imagine the size of the heat sink that is cooling this particular card?

The HD 7990 is the latest dual gpu card by AMD released to compete with the 690 and maybe even the Titan.

Specs

The comparison
So the die size is 28nm, that's interesting, how big is the Haswell CPU architecture? 22nm? Isn't that interesting how die size can vary depending on the component that needs the calculations? Personally I think it's interesting but now I'm getting off topic.

Compared to nVidia cards, AMD video cards usually excelle in different areas (usually compute and light rays benchmarks) this offers the consumers varying options in terms of performance. You'll definitely achieve a solid 60 FPS on most games with this card just as nVidia cards will, but if you want to gain specific performance in a specific area then consumers can learn to check out benchmarks and learn to see what the cards they should buy.

8.6 Million transistors is mainly do to have 2 GPU's as well as double the stream processors. Amost double the compute performance and definitely double the texture units. Pretty much the same in terms of memory except it has been doubled and the memory bandwidth is humongous. If you currently own the 7970 ghz edition then you are look at a card that is double your raw power (Still a decent choice though, I applaud you on that).

Now I've prided AMD on having a decent selection of graphics cards because their selections are always more varying then nVidia. But after that whole Micro-Stutter issue with AMD and their cards I've been a little more hesitant to root for AMD Publicly. Since then, though, they've fixed those problems with the new benchmarking systems and are back on track!

Oh hey speaking of benchmarking, let's get into that.

Benchmarks

Right, let's see how this Dual GPU fairs in actual games, shall we?


Battlefield 3


source
Battle field 3 is definitely not as graphics intensive as we thought it was... let's say 1 year ago. But it's still pretty demanding at those high resolutions so if you want to play at 1920x1080 you're definitely going to need a pretty decent GPU. Which is why it'll stay an essential benchmark for a while.

It seems that for most resolutions the HD 7990 dominates every other graphics card in the market right now. And the Titan (which is priced at $1K also) actually gives a little less performance at 1920x1080 and considerably less performance at 5760x1080 (or tri-monitor setup). So if you're thinking of buying Titan at the moment, you might wanna hold on and take a closer look at AMD.


Bioshock Infinite


Bioshock infinite uses the Unreal Engine to power it's graphics. However they tweaked Unreal engine too get more graphical beauty out of it essentially making it a kind of Unreal Engine 3.5 instead of 3. You'll see in this benchmark that the 7990 actually scales pretty well, as the resolution increases the gap between FPS closes between the GTX 690 and the HD 7990. But when you introduce a Tri-Monitor setup it begins to deviate again, favoring the HD7990.


Crysis 3




Crysis 3 is arguably the most graphic intensive game on the market right now. If you want to see what your graphics card looks like when it's struggling, this is the game to go with. I remember running this on my GTX 580, man that was a workout for the 580 just like treadmill is a workout for most girls.  Here we see minimal differences between the GTX 690 and the HD7990, they're both struggling to put up 60 FPS on both resolution settings. However the 7990 does beat out the titan and so does the GTX 690. So if you want to spend a thousand dollars on a graphics card and get performance, you have to go with either the GTX 690 or the HD 7990.


Power Consumption/Temperature/Noise

Alright time for Power Consumption, Temp, and noise. Personally I'd rather have my computer sound like an engine. That way I can actually hear it do work. TO THE BENCHMARKS!





The only trophy the HD 7990 takes away here is temperature. At full load it'll sound like a jet plane and take as much energy as well. But good news! At least it'll run cool, but that's just about it. If you plan on using this card you're going to need a pretty hefty power supply to say the least. But if you do get one you'll see by the performance that it will all be worth it. 

Now I mentioned in the beginning I'd mention the cooling system later in the review, it's kind of brilliant they way they did this. Those three fans actually technically should run at low RPMS. The case fans and the case itself is/are supposed to generate the cooling, and then fans are supposed to supply that cool air to the graphics card. This is different from the conventional method of having one fan blow the hot air out of the exhaust.

Final Thoughts

If you're in the market to spend one grand on a graphics card, I can give you some scenarios in which you should take the HD 7990 over the GTX 690 and Titan. For example if you want to do Tri-Monitor setup and surround gaming, or if you want to have a jet sound for a computer, or if you wanted to run ambient case temperatures a little cooler. Another reason would be if you didn't mind having a humongous power suck right on the graphics card. It is definitely worth it and you will get the performance you paid for. I say go for it, but only if the situation fits you appropriately.


Thanks for reading this review! hope you found it useful. Happy Father's Day!