AMD Radeon HD 7990 review
Blazing speed, but this dual-GPU card is too expensive for all but the most extreme of gamers
It’s been more than a year since the first HD 7000-series cards appeared, but AMD has finally topped off the range with a flagship model, and what a card it is. The Radeon HD 7990 is a dual-core monster, but it’s overshadowed by the highest price we’ve ever seen for a graphics card: £860 inc VAT.
That price can in part be explained by the use of two Radeon HD 7970 cores, clocked at 1,000MHz rather than the normal 925MHz, but also by the 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, which is more than we’ve ever seen on a graphics card. Between them, the Radeon HD 7990’s twin cores pack a massive 8.6 billion transistors and 4,000 stream processors.
The Radeon 7990 blitzed our benchmarks, easily beating the A-Listed Nvidia GeForce GTX 680. The Radeon scored 80fps in our 1,920 x 1,080 Very High quality Crysis benchmark, 10fps ahead of the GTX 680, and 4x anti-aliasing hardly slowed it down – it scored 75fps when we repeated the test. In Battlefield 3, it zipped through the Ultra quality 1,920 x 1,080 benchmark at 160fps, before returning a score of 116fps when 4x anti-aliasing was activated.
The Radeon also has enough power to handle gaming across three screens at a mighty resolution of 5,760 x 1,080. Here, it ran Crysis across three panels, at Very High quality, at 52fps; it ran Battlefield 3 across a trio of screens at 88fps.
AMD has used serious hardware in order to keep temperatures down. The bulk of the 306mm-long card is occupied by a huge heatsink, and it’s topped off by three 90mm fans, which succeeded in keeping the top temperature of the card down to an impressively low 72°C. We can’t say the same for power consumption, though; our test rig drew 418W from the mains when stress-tested, and the card itself requires two eight-pin power connectors.
It’s the quickest card on the planet, but the AMD Radeon HD 7990 doesn’t come cheap. For around £100 less you can get two GTX 680s - and that’s a configuration that will also comfortably play games across three screens. The Radeon is a remarkable graphics card – but only the wealthiest of gamers need apply.
|Graphics card interface||PCI Express 3.0|
|Graphics chipset||AMD Radeon HD 7990|
|Core GPU frequency||1,000MHz|
Standards and compatibility
|DirectX version support||11.0|
|Shader model support||5.0|
|VGA (D-SUB) outputs||0|
|7-pin TV outputs||0|
|Graphics card power connectors||2 x 8-pin|