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Upgrading gpu to gtx 590 or radeon hd 6990. Help.

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December 19, 2011 9:48:47 AM

Hi. So I have decided it's time to upgrade. I have read benchmark review after benchmark review as well as various customer reviews from sites such as newegg about both cards. As far as customer reviews go, I have read a lot of customer reviews where 590's were DOA or died shortly after first use. I realize that this is unlikely to happen but I have not read a single customer review where the AMD card has arrived dead or died a short time later. These facts are important to me because one of my options is a used PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 for approx $600. The Radeon HD 6990 and GTX 590 new are the same price at the local computer shop...$749.99. I know that AMD is soon coming out with the 7000 series and Nvidia should not be too far behind so please don't tell me to wait until the new year. As far as performance goes, benchmarks like 3dmark11 give a better score to the hd 6990 and in real world gaming tests both cards edge each other out depending on the game being tested.

This link http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2011/03/24/nv... gives all of the details about the architecture of both cards. In some areas AMD is better and in some areas Nvida is better.

So my options are new for 749.99 plus applicable taxes(13% in Canada) for a total of approx $850. Used, i can pick up a PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 for $600 and the best deal on a gtx 590 used is $700 which. If I was going to pay $700 used I would just purchase a new one instead but the $600 dollar used price tag on the AMD card has me interested.

Does anyone have any real world experience with either one or both of these cards. I would like to hear from you.

Thanks
Al

More about : upgrading gpu gtx 590 radeon 6990

December 19, 2011 10:00:48 AM

New AMD cards should be good to go next week, why not wait and see some benchmarks first?
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December 19, 2011 10:07:47 AM

Really next week? I had a conversation with one of the guys at the local computer shop yesterday and he said he expected to start seeing some new product early in the new year but he did not an exact date. Anyway, I've been looking for months and finding either one of these cards used is very difficult and when you do they are always close to the new price. That is why the $600 dollar AMD card has me interested. So what I am really interested in is real world experience but thanks for the input.
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December 19, 2011 10:36:05 AM

alrobichaud said:
Hi. So I have decided it's time to upgrade. I have read benchmark review after benchmark review as well as various customer reviews from sites such as newegg about both cards. As far as customer reviews go, I have read a lot of customer reviews where 590's were DOA or died shortly after first use. I realize that this is unlikely to happen but I have not read a single customer review where the AMD card has arrived dead or died a short time later. These facts are important to me because one of my options is a used PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 for approx $600. The Radeon HD 6990 and GTX 590 new are the same price at the local computer shop...$749.99. I know that AMD is soon coming out with the 7000 series and Nvidia should not be too far behind so please don't tell me to wait until the new year. As far as performance goes, benchmarks like 3dmark11 give a better score to the hd 6990 and in real world gaming tests both cards edge each other out depending on the game being tested.

This link http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/graphics/2011/03/24/nv... gives all of the details about the architecture of both cards. In some areas AMD is better and in some areas Nvida is better.

So my options are new for 749.99 plus applicable taxes(13% in Canada) for a total of approx $850. Used, i can pick up a PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 for $600 and the best deal on a gtx 590 used is $700 which. If I was going to pay $700 used I would just purchase a new one instead but the $600 dollar used price tag on the AMD card has me interested.

Does anyone have any real world experience with either one or both of these cards. I would like to hear from you.

Thanks
Al


go with amd 6990 because it has more vram than 590 otherwise they both perform neck to neck.
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December 19, 2011 12:11:23 PM

As a side note about the HD6990, here is a quote from one of the techradar reviews:

'Yup, the Radeon HD 6990 has the dual-BIOS functionality that came with both the Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950. This time around though it's being used to keep to the power restrictions set by the PCIe bus.

The primary positioning, the default setting you'll see retail cards set at out of the box, restricts the Antilles GPUs to 830MHz core speeds.

That's only slightly quicker that the cores of the Radeon HD 6950 at 800MHz.

As well as limiting the core speed that restriction also means the power draw is limited to 375w, the theoretical maximum power draw possible with a single card. Each of the two 8-pin PCIe power connectors the Radeon HD 6990 needs to run delivers 150w per plug and the PCIe slot itself is capable of delivering another 75w itself.

This adds up to the 375w total.

That primary BIOS setting is read-only, but the second chip is able to be flashed with a new ROM should you wish. At launch the switch will be covered with a warning sticker and you'll have to accept all responsibility for anything that occurs under the second BIOS setting.


Why so serious?


Well, this is what we mean by the card being designed for 450w. Having the GPUs running at the 880MHz core speed the Radeon HD 6970 has its chips running at means the HD 6990 draws a significant amount of power outside the standard PCIe limits.

And you're going to need to make sure you've got a hefty PSU, and one that delivers a solid, stable level of juice to the motherboard and card to enable it to run happily at that overcooked speed.

AMD is likening this dual-BIOS, Antilles Unlocking Switch to its Overdrive software in the Catalyst Control Centre, calling it a 'hardware Overdrive option''.

So what I am wondering is how well it will perform overclocked on the ASUS Rampage Extreme III? This board has two Molex plugs next to the PCI-e slots which are supposed to be used when multiple gpu's are installed to make sure enough power is getting to the PCI-e slots. It's almost like this motherboard was made for this card.
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December 19, 2011 12:20:36 PM

And yes i am already wondering if my Top power Bronze 800W will be sufficient to power a single hd6990 overclocked.
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December 19, 2011 12:22:45 PM

alrobichaud said:
And yes i am already wondering if my Top power Bronze 800W will be sufficient to power a single hd6990 overclocked.

yes, it's enough for that.
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December 19, 2011 12:24:52 PM

Any thoughts on the motherboard providing up to 450W to the card? I am guessing it won't be a problem with the two molex connectors hooked up but I have no experience with this.
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December 19, 2011 12:28:19 PM

please wait for 7000 series
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December 19, 2011 12:38:45 PM

I really don't feel like waiting for a new series to come out which I expect to be very expensive and largely untested. Maybe a few months after the release (who knows when that will be) when the bugs are worked and a lot of benchark testing has been done I would consider looking into this but I have waited long enough and I expect the AMD card will still be relevant for years to come. I have already decided that I am going to get the current top of the line cards whether it be Nvidia or AMD and I would like to find one used to save a lot of money. I have been looking for months and I have not seen a used 6990 or gtx 590 for as low as 600 so I am still leaning towards this. It would be great to stay on top of the technology curve but it took a bit of convincing my wife that spending 6 or 7 hundred on a video card is not a stupid idea let alone close to 1000 after taxes and shipping.
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December 19, 2011 1:35:13 PM

allegedlt the 7970 will perform as well as a 6990 while being cooler and quieter with no crossfire driver issues, please dont buy now
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December 19, 2011 2:07:41 PM

According to this link http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AMD-Radeon-HD-7000-GPU... the 7970 performs 1.5 time better than the 6970. Apparently, an overclocked 6990 beats out 6970's in cross fire according to techradar since the 6990 has almost exaclty double the componentry of a 6970. The rumoured price of a 7970 is 549.99 but that remains to be seen. I am not sure if I beleive AMD would release a new series of cards that are cheaper and outperform the hd6990 only 10months after it's release. It just seems to me that from a company standpoint they would have spent way too much money on R&D and on existing products to throw it all away like that. If the 7970 does out perform the 6990 I would expect the price to be higher.
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December 19, 2011 2:42:03 PM

alrobichaud said:
According to this link http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AMD-Radeon-HD-7000-GPU... the 7970 performs 1.5 time better than the 6970. Apparently, an overclocked 6990 beats out 6970's in cross fire according to techradar since the 6990 has almost exaclty double the componentry of a 6970. The rumoured price of a 7970 is 549.99 but that remains to be seen. I am not sure if I beleive AMD would release a new series of cards that are cheaper and outperform the hd6990 only 10months after it's release. It just seems to me that from a company standpoint they would have spent way too much money on R&D and on existing products to throw it all away like that. If the 7970 does out perform the 6990 I would expect the price to be higher.

just wait and see unless your current rig has exploded just wait a bit and then be confiedent you made the right decisions, and while a 6990 has twice the components, its rarely twice as fast due to crossfire limitations
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December 19, 2011 2:42:46 PM

So i have been reading more leeked reviews on the new architecture and they are apparenlty releasing the 7990 around March of 2012. If it happens the leaked price is supposed to be the same as the 6990 at its release. So do I wait another 3,4,5, or more moths a pay $800,$900 or more for the best of the best or stick with my original idea? It's looking like I will get the 6990 for less than the 600 that i originally thought i was going to pay. It will be closer to 500 which is making my decision a lot easier.
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December 19, 2011 2:49:59 PM

I agree with you but back to what i had already posted which is that apparently the 6990 is better than a pair of 6970's in crossfire due to crossfire limitations and that the 7970 has approx 1.5 the performance of the 6970 which says to me that if anything I should wait for the 7990 to come out. So the deal is going to expire very soon so pick up a 6990 for a little over 500 or wait till sometime next year for the 7990 and hope it doesn't cost a fortune. My rig has not exploded but I just hate to pass up a good deal
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December 19, 2011 5:50:01 PM

Now I am assuming that the crossfire limitation does not count when it is built into a single card which is basically what the 6990 is.....two 6970's.
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December 19, 2011 5:59:29 PM

two 6970 outperform one 6990.
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December 19, 2011 6:00:11 PM

Chances are if you wait you'll find a lot of the current enthusiast cards on sale as people will be dumping them for the newer next gen cards. I'd wait if I were in your position. The upgrade itch is a powerful thing, patience is key. You'd get the benefit of seeing how the newer cards run AND more than likely cheaper top tier current gen cards by sticking it out a month or so...
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December 19, 2011 6:20:50 PM

You have to remember that you are looking at the ultra-high-end cards here. Those things become "obsolete" (as in no longer being the best card, or becoming overpriced relative to the next generation) VERY quickly. Companies know that for people buying such cards, price is not an object, so they price them very high. So yes, it's totally possible--even likely--that the 79xx series will blow the 6990 out of the water on a price/performance metric.

What's very likely from the leaked information is that the power consumption and heat will be a lot lower. That would be enough to make me want to wait. Dual 6970s in crossfire or a single 6990 are beastly, but they are not efficient and therefore not very OCable. With better heat management, the 79xx should be more tweakable too, which helps you on your performance per dollar.
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December 19, 2011 6:37:37 PM

Firstly 2 6970's outperform a 6990.
Secondly I would take the 6990 over a 590, performance is basically even but it offers better flexibility and the extra VRAM shows at higher resolutions and its cheaper.
Third, the 7970 is set to be released priced at the 6990 mark, will it be faster? Almost certainly no. So will buying the 6990 now be a waste? not if you can get it for $600 imo. The 7000 series is due for release in a few weeks, if the price on your 6990 holds until then why not wait as others have mentioned to see the benches? The prices should hopefully fall significantly after the early adopters have their feed and by mid-year might be more competitively priced if you can wait that long. No doubt the 7990 will offer the best performance but it's unlikely it will retail for less than $1000 at launch and you may be waiting a while.
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December 19, 2011 6:50:18 PM

I am trying to decide which new GPU to buy at the moment, and I have heard the 7970 is due as soon as the 22nd of December?!

I wanted to buy the 580 admittedly and not the 590 or 6990, but even so, wait a little longer and see what benchmarks can actually be achieved by the 7970? You may be pleasantly surprised?!

I am the most impatient person where having the money in my pocket to spend on anything, never mind a new GPU, but as I have already said, I am going to show some restraint for a change, and then make an informed decision and get the best bang for buck I can possibly afford.
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December 19, 2011 7:05:53 PM

hmm, gtx 580 is a still king get EVGA brand.
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December 19, 2011 7:16:58 PM

xtreme5 said:
hmm, gtx 580 is a still king get EVGA brand.


10% performance increase over the 6970 and $100 more, u mad bro? Then two 580's on one board should be emperor right? Get the 6990 son but your better off waiting for the 7970!!
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December 19, 2011 7:33:38 PM

Quote:
hmm, gtx 580 is a still king get EVGA brand.


It is the fastest single GPU card available but its also the worst bang-for-your-buck card available, +1 to redeemer, must be mad.
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December 19, 2011 10:14:45 PM

Hmm I think I started something here that could go on for a while. The 6990 is actually going to cost me closer to 500 than 600. Anyway, crossfire 6970's are the same aside from a faster clock frequency. The 6990 has an overclock switch that bumps up the clock to the same as the 6970 but you need to be able to provide 450W to a single pci-e slot which is why it comes with a stock frequency that is slower. With the 6990 overclocked how can it be beat by sli 6970's? Please provide a benchmark link to back this up. I have been wrong in the past and I will admit it if I am. If both setups were the same I would take the single card over a crossfire setup.
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December 19, 2011 10:34:47 PM

alrobichaud said:
Hmm I think I started something here that could go on for a while. The 6990 is actually going to cost me closer to 500 than 600. Anyway, crossfire 6970's are the same aside from a faster clock frequency. The 6990 has an overclock switch that bumps up the clock to the same as the 6970 but you need to be able to provide 450W to a single pci-e slot which is why it comes with a stock frequency that is slower. With the 6990 overclocked how can it be beat by sli 6970's? Please provide a benchmark link to back this up. I have been wrong in the past and I will admit it if I am. If both setups were the same I would take the single card over a crossfire setup.

you can get problems where because its all on one card each core can overheat, which is bad for card lifetime and can cause the cores to automatically downclock for safety
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December 19, 2011 11:05:07 PM

I do appreciate all the info but people please provide some hardcore benchmark results to back up your statements. You know what they say about opinions......
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December 20, 2011 4:21:18 AM

several people are telling you not to go with the 6990, you are just not listening to them, 7970 will be out and you will facepalm yourself of what you have done.
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December 20, 2011 5:12:56 AM

The consensus seems to be wait for the 7970 and then decide, we cannot provide benchmarks on hardware that is yet to be released.
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December 20, 2011 5:53:07 AM

6990 and 590 are both wastes.
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December 20, 2011 9:56:08 AM

I was actually looking for some benchmark links in regards to the 6990,6970 not the new unreleased technology. I am listening to what people are saying and yes the new tech looks cool and yes it would be fantastic to stay on top of the technology curve. Again, according to http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AMD-Radeon-HD-7000-GPU... the 7970 will be approx 1.5 times faster than the 6970. Does this mean it will be better than the 6990? In terms of new tech, of course newer is better but in terms of realworld performance the only people who know are at AMD. Based on all the leaked info that I have read, If you want better than the current 6990 waiting for the 7990 might be a better choice than the 7970. The 7990 is not due to be released until March. All I am seeing here is a bunch of people telling me that I should wait, current tech is a waste of money and no one is providing any real info to back it up. And the one big fact that I think everyone has missed is the new tech is designed around pci-e 3. Sure, the new cards are backwards compatible with pci-e 2 but will they perform the same given the differences? Does this mean on top of 700-800 bucks for a 7990 I am going to have to spend another 1000 on a new 2011 motherboard and cpu? In regards to the current gtx 590 and hd6990, I highly doubt the prices will drop. They will simply be phased out so would you spend $520 Canadian dollars(closer to 500 US as of todays exchange) for an hd 6990 or 750(7990)+700(i7 3930k)+ 300(any cheap socket 2011 motherboard) to stay current. I didn't come here to debate whether anyone thinks the gtx 590 and hd 6990 are garbage. I came to ask if you had the choice which would it be? If it came down to purchasing a new 6990, I would Definitley wait until the next gen is released. I am not a complete moron. How many of you have purchased a new car that was the prior years model but left sitting on the lot barely touched at a reduced price because it was sitting next to the latest and the greatest current model with better features? I have done this and what I am doing here is really no different and a hell of a lot less expensive so if it turns out the 7970 outperforms the 6990 then it is lesson learned. I bought the 6990 for 500 last night. It's funny how new tech goes...10 months ago a lot of you may have given your left nut for one of those cards when it was released and now everyone turns up there nose and walks away.
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December 20, 2011 11:46:32 AM

As previously stated the 7970 is to be priced around the 6990 price and from all accounts (although not official) it will be slower than a 6990. So given you got yours for only $500 no one could argue you wasted your money.

Here is a comparison between 6970 CF, 6990, 6990 OC (AUSUM MODE) and single 6970 2GB: http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/2011-gaming-graphics...

The current generation of cards cannot even saturate PCIe 2.1 and its doubtful (again this is unofficial) that even the 7990 could even manage that so there should be no performance difference when running on a PCIe 2.1 mobo (I know there are other factors here such as power rating and # lanes but keeping it simple).

And a 6990 is not garbage, only the ill-informed would argue that. Given you got yours for $500 that's GTX 580 territory for a card that dominates it, I say money well spent.
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December 20, 2011 12:21:42 PM

Thanks, Ninja Pants. I was getting headache trying to find some decent info like that. So it looks like 6970 is crossfire does slightly beat out the 6990 on some tests and is equal on others. Overall, I would say they look about the same but I do prefer to have one card instead of two given that there is not too much of a difference. I was thinking about addding a 3rd monitor to try out some multi monitor gaming or possiblly upgrading my main dispaly to something much larger with much higher resoltion than my current 1920x1080. Eitherway, I think this card is a good choice for whatever I decide to do.
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December 20, 2011 12:22:37 PM

For 500 bucks its a steal , great performing card, maybe a bit loud , but you will have one of the fastest cards and max out every game you throw at it.
Installed one into a clients rig and he absolutely loves it, I was quite impressed with it myself.
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December 20, 2011 12:30:16 PM

I read that it can be a loud card. Between the 7 120mm fans in my case and the 2 msi gtx 460 cyclones I am not worried about how loud it can be. I crank the volume when I am gaming so I really won't notice.
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December 20, 2011 12:33:42 PM

I'm with you there , my rig sounds like a Dyson!
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December 22, 2011 9:09:16 AM

Just read through the review or 'preview' as they call it on this site and it looks like the 7970 is a really nice piece of technology. So far, on the two games that I have been playing the most recently(crysis 2 and bf3) I can expect better FPS from the 6990. 126 in ultra 1920x1080 no AA on the 6990 in bf3 and 97 on the 7970. They both chew up bf3 and spit it out but for what I paid, I am happy with what I have. I am anxious to see the reviews on the 7990 when it comes out.
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December 22, 2011 4:15:55 PM

alrobichaud said:
Just read through the review or 'preview' as they call it on this site and it looks like the 7970 is a really nice piece of technology. So far, on the two games that I have been playing the most recently(crysis 2 and bf3) I can expect better FPS from the 6990. 126 in ultra 1920x1080 no AA on the 6990 in bf3 and 97 on the 7970. They both chew up bf3 and spit it out but for what I paid, I am happy with what I have. I am anxious to see the reviews on the 7990 when it comes out.

hardware heaven has some 7970 crossfire results which will be similar to what a 7990 will get, although the 7970 drivers arent fully crossfire optimised yet so it might get a bit higher in future
http://www.hardwareheaven.com/reviews/1362/pg1/amd-rade...
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December 22, 2011 5:46:25 PM

Thanks for posting that we1shcake, much appreciated, hadn't seen this yet. Results to be honest are disappointing for the expected launch price, I hope they drop quickly because for the estimated pricing I see no reason to purchase over the 6xxx series (power consumption doesn't concern me).
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December 22, 2011 7:19:18 PM

Ninja Pants said:
Thanks for posting that we1shcake, much appreciated, hadn't seen this yet. Results to be honest are disappointing for the expected launch price, I hope they drop quickly because for the estimated pricing I see no reason to purchase over the 6xxx series (power consumption doesn't concern me).

i think prices will drop but at the moment its a faster card than a 580 3gb , so it's been priced a bit higher than the 580 3gb
i wish amd had done it differently but the prices will stay where they are till theres nvidia competition
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December 22, 2011 8:51:05 PM

Yeah I believe your right, it is a shame they have targeted the 580, I understand they wanted the title of fastest single GPU card on the market but the 580 has always been such terrible value and using that as the benchmark (price wise) may cost AMD an opportunity here. It's also apparent that its been rushed to market and the software (both developer and even driver software) is lagging seriously behind so it may be some time until we really see what the cards potential is, and dare I say Windows 8... which it was designed with in mind.
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December 23, 2011 5:55:47 PM

i think the software will be largely improved by the jan 9 launch, and the pricing is also due to severe lack of stock because of the new process, theyve put it that high cos they will still probably sell out
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December 23, 2011 8:00:04 PM

I am quite happy with my purchase. Hitting 60-80FPS on ultra in BF3 at 1920x1080 with AA on and 100-120 without AA. That is wide open area in battle compared to being inside a building. I selfishly want stores to start carrying the 7970's and lower the price so I can pick up a cheap 6970 and crossfire it.
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December 23, 2011 8:01:07 PM

And by cheap I mean used when the enthusiasts upgrade and resell their old cards.
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December 24, 2011 10:38:08 AM

good idea, you might need to oc the 6990 to have the same speeds as the 6970 or you might get microstuttering
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December 24, 2011 11:03:27 AM

You wont get microstuttering either way, although we1shcake is right you may want to (although it voids waranty on all but XFX and Powercolor cards) switch to AUSUM mode to match the 6970 clock speed, however you do not need to, the cards will always run at the slowest clock speed of the 2 (or 3 or 4) cards. So 830MHz instead of 880MHz in this case from memory. AUSUM mode should be perfectly fine providing you have a quality PSU and Mobo, if you are considering this trifire setup (I have a rig like this btw and its awesome) then I would assume you have top end components throughout and it shouldnt be an issue, just be aware of the waranty as mentioned above.
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December 24, 2011 11:22:32 AM

I already peeled the sticker off and swtiched to the 2nd BIOS. If I had known I could easily run at 880MHz using BIOS 1 I would not have bothered with the sticker. Apparently, the gpu will go as high as 900 based on a lot of tests I have read about without increasing the voltage. I currently have the gpu at 880MHz and the memory clock at 1375MHz to match the 6970 using BIOS 1 which is the default 830MHz and 1.12V. I have logged in about 9 hours of BF3 with no problems at all. I just wanted to make sure I could run at stock 6970 speeds so If I do pick one up I will not have an issue with crossfire. Also, running at peek 80 degrees and fan does not exceed 45%. This is much quieter than my old sli gtx 460 cyclones. BIOS 2 does have it's advantages. My latest run on 3dmark11 at 940MHz came back with a score of P10366. I only flip the switch to get some good benchmark scores and then flip it back. I think everything I have is top quality with the exception of the In Win Commander II Bronze 1200W power supply. Not sure what to think of it yet. It was cheaper than all the other 1200W power supplies available.
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December 24, 2011 11:58:51 AM

Thanks. I have already read that front to back and back again.
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December 24, 2011 7:21:39 PM

Quote:
so If I do pick one up I will not have an issue with crossfire


You wont either way, as I said it will underclock the faster GPU(s) to match the slower, there is no issues with CF at all.

Benches are exactly as expected, I don't know what the rest of your system is (so can't guess as to power draw) but I would be careful OCing too high as it is not a good power supply, at the very least I hope you swapped the power cord out for a 16A equivalent.
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