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Test Settings And Benchmarks

Radeon HD 6990M And GeForce GTX 580M: A Beautiful Lie
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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-990X (Gulftown), LGA 1366, 3.46-3.73 GHz, 12 MB Shared L3 Cache
RAM3 x 4 GB DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24, 12 GB Total
Desktop MotherboardASRock X58 Extreme3, BIOS P2.80 (10/31/2011)
Mobile PlatformClevo X7200 X58, BIOS 1.01.12 (06/21/2011)
Radeon HD 6990
Desktop Graphics
AMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB (2 GB x2)
830 MHz GPU Core, GDDR5-5000
Desktop Catalyst 11.11 Display Driver
Radeon HD 6990M
Mobile Graphics
Clevo Radeon 6990M 2 GB (x2 for CrossFire)
715 MHz GPU Core, GDDR5-3600
Mobile Catalyst 11.11 Display Driver
GeForce GTX 580
Desktop Graphics
GeForce GTX 580M 1.5 GB
722 MHz GPU Core, GDDR5-4008
Desktop Driver Version 280.26
GeForce GTX 580M
Mobile Graphics
GeForce GTX 580M 2 GB (x2 for SLI)
620 MHz GPU Core, GDDR5-3000
Mobile Driver Version 280.26
Hard DriveIntel SSDSC2MH120A2: 120 GB, SATA 6Gb/s SSD
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 64-bit


Although a desktop builder could put two dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990 graphics cards into a single system, notebook builders are stuck with two GPUs at most. MXM modules are simply too small to accommodate two large GPUs, let alone the power circuitry and doubled-up memory resources. So, we're going to put AMD’s mobile graphics in the best possible light by comparing two of its mobile Radeon HD 6990M modules to a single desktop Radeon HD 6990.

Nvidia isn’t getting a pass for its own indiscretions. We're also comparing a pair of its GeForce GTX 580M graphics cards to a single GeForce GTX 580. Nvidia's solution can't be included in as many of the tests, since we no longer have access to the mobile modules we'd need in order to run some of our newer benchmarks. That also explains why the older 280.26 display drivers were used. But it's worth noting that Nvidia is guilty of the same naming practices.

Fortunately, our legacy gaming suite include GPU-busters like Just Cause 2 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat.

Notebook motherboards are generally pretty limited with regard to their features. So, a budget desktop motherboard using the same chipset makes for the most accurate comparison. ASRock’s X58 Extreme3 fills the need for desktop graphics connectivity.

Benchmark Configuration
Legacy 3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 4x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle"
Test Set 1: Medium Details, No AA, 8x AF
Test Set 2: Highest Details, 4x AA, 16x AF
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Recent 3D Games
DiRT 3V1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 8x AA
Metro 2033Full Game, Built-In Benchmark, "Frontline" Scene
Test Set 1: DX11, High, AAA, 4x AF, No PhysX, No DoF
Test Set 2: DX11, Very High, 4x AA, 16x AF, No PhysX, DoF On
StarCraft IIVersion 1.4.1.19776, Tom's Hardware custom map
Test Set 1: High Texture, High Quality
Test Set 2: Ultra Textures, Extreme Quality
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Top Comments
  • 26 Hide
    Yargnit , January 23, 2012 4:24 AM
    The HD 6990M is certainly the worst in a long line of ever-increasing false advertising by GPU manufacturers when it comes to their mobile cards.

    Every generation is more guilty than the one before, but AMD indeed hit a new low when they used the name of their dual-GPU flagship to go along with a single-GPU mobile card. (Not even based off the same GPU at that)

    I wonder what the chances of someone successfully filing a false advertising suit for this would be? Especially in the EU where they seem much stricter about that stuff than the US is, I'd have to think they'd have a decent shot. (This is at least as bad as the whole LED/LCD TV thing that the courts ruled against the manufacturers on)

    I can let some reasonable under-clocking (say 25% at most) get by for mobile GPU's under the same name, but they should have to be based off the same GPU as the desktop card that they are named after at least, and in the case of using the name of a dual-GPU card they should actually have to be dual GPU cards.

    Either put an actual 6990 in the laptop, or call it a HD 6870m.
  • 21 Hide
    Inferno1217 , January 23, 2012 4:46 AM
    This is nothing new to the laptop world and is common knowledge. You can't expect 580 or 6990 desktop performance out of a mobile 580 or 6990 solutions (note the M at the end). This article may help newcomers understand the differences between mobile and desktop gpu's.
  • 17 Hide
    Crashman , January 23, 2012 6:09 AM
    aznshinobiAgreed, there is an M for a reason. It's the buyers fault for not researching. Most buyers just buy the most expensive product and assume it's good. This will teach them otherwise.
    That's why the article was published :) 
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2012 4:09 AM
    "Recent invention"

    Did...did this article travel forwards in time half a year? O_o
  • 26 Hide
    Yargnit , January 23, 2012 4:24 AM
    The HD 6990M is certainly the worst in a long line of ever-increasing false advertising by GPU manufacturers when it comes to their mobile cards.

    Every generation is more guilty than the one before, but AMD indeed hit a new low when they used the name of their dual-GPU flagship to go along with a single-GPU mobile card. (Not even based off the same GPU at that)

    I wonder what the chances of someone successfully filing a false advertising suit for this would be? Especially in the EU where they seem much stricter about that stuff than the US is, I'd have to think they'd have a decent shot. (This is at least as bad as the whole LED/LCD TV thing that the courts ruled against the manufacturers on)

    I can let some reasonable under-clocking (say 25% at most) get by for mobile GPU's under the same name, but they should have to be based off the same GPU as the desktop card that they are named after at least, and in the case of using the name of a dual-GPU card they should actually have to be dual GPU cards.

    Either put an actual 6990 in the laptop, or call it a HD 6870m.
  • 14 Hide
    el33t , January 23, 2012 4:32 AM
    What on earth took you guys so long to realize this??
  • -6 Hide
    Dacatak , January 23, 2012 4:38 AM
    Quote:
    and heat public enemy number one


    Heat like fire BAD! Computer fire NO-NO!
  • 21 Hide
    Inferno1217 , January 23, 2012 4:46 AM
    This is nothing new to the laptop world and is common knowledge. You can't expect 580 or 6990 desktop performance out of a mobile 580 or 6990 solutions (note the M at the end). This article may help newcomers understand the differences between mobile and desktop gpu's.
  • 17 Hide
    Crashman , January 23, 2012 5:09 AM
    el33tWhat on earth took you guys so long to realize this??
    This is something like the third article to point these problems out, but it's the first to use the desktop 6990. Tom's Hardware simply doesn't have enough 6990's for every tester to have his own :) 
  • -6 Hide
    alanim , January 23, 2012 5:39 AM
    Normally I wouldn't really see a problem with this, because as far as I understand the numbers are just there to show a tier on how powerful the graphics cards are, and since this is the 6990M, one would assume that it's the highest tier for the current generation mobile graphics card.

    Now on the otherhand they're using the numbers as their desktop counterparts just with a tacked on M for mobile, I assume the only reason they don't use a different number is because it could confuse the buyers into thinking it was either a newer or older generation part, although that's assuming most people who buy these know what the current generation parts are(which I assume is not the case).

    What you're seeing isn't actually them trying to deceive people it's actually them using a streamlined approach. All this 6990M means is that it's top tier for mobile GPU's of the current generation, this is the consequence of trying to make the numbers more buyer friendly. Good Idea, Good Usage, but relies heavily on customer knowledge and understanding on what they're buying, but that could be said for almost anything.
  • 14 Hide
    SteelCity1981 , January 23, 2012 5:39 AM
    in Nvidia and AMD's defense there is an 'M' at the end so it's not false advertising. lol
  • 17 Hide
    aznshinobi , January 23, 2012 5:57 AM
    Agreed, there is an M for a reason. It's the buyers fault for not researching. Most buyers just buy the most expensive product and assume it's good. This will teach them otherwise.
  • 17 Hide
    Crashman , January 23, 2012 6:09 AM
    aznshinobiAgreed, there is an M for a reason. It's the buyers fault for not researching. Most buyers just buy the most expensive product and assume it's good. This will teach them otherwise.
    That's why the article was published :) 
  • 8 Hide
    mesab66 , January 23, 2012 6:35 AM
    Agreed, in part - most savy customers understand completely that the equivalent name/name-M in a laptop is underpowered/underclocked. All unsavy customers will just think that the higher number part is better (in actual fact they are more probably thinking "pay more money get better laptop").

    The real problem for AMD is that for a 'significant'? time they have used desktop-equivalent naming and just added "M". This may very well be problematic for both customer and AMD when the customer 'is justified having the expectation' to expect a dual-card design......can AMD really defend against this when they persist in sticking with the naming convention taken directly from their desktop equivalents??

    I'd be interested for this to be tested out.
  • -4 Hide
    blibba , January 23, 2012 8:32 AM
    It's not like they called it the 6970X2m. **9* doesn't imply dual GPU imo - look at the desktop 6790. It's the original 6990 that was stupidly named.
  • 3 Hide
    de5_Roy , January 23, 2012 11:02 AM
    fun article. less informed laptop buyers should be made aware of these practices by amd and nvidia.
    one thing stood out to me though... amd gfx cards being cpu bottlenecked. so amd gfx cards will perform better with an overclocked 2500k compared to a..say ph ii x4 980/fx 4100/8120 (all 3 oc'ed to 4.0-4.4 ghz)? how about crossfire? will there be some kind of in-depth look into this kind of matter, since new and more powerful gfx cards are on the way and amd doesn't seem to have cpus that can let powerful gfx cards flex their muscles. i am almost certain i am gonna get attacked/downvoted for this... but my curiosity is more than fear!!
  • 0 Hide
    Kaldor , January 23, 2012 11:35 AM
    Nvidia may not be as guilty at this point in time, but their renaming and spinning out the core from the 8800, 9800 and 250 cards was epic. Nothing like selling the same old GPU (with minor improvements) for 2+ years.
  • 3 Hide
    blibba , January 23, 2012 11:40 AM
    Quote:
    fun article. less informed laptop buyers should be made aware of these practices by amd and nvidia.
    one thing stood out to me though... amd gfx cards being cpu bottlenecked. so amd gfx cards will perform better with an overclocked 2500k compared to a..say ph ii x4 980/fx 4100/8120 (all 3 oc'ed to 4.0-4.4 ghz)? how about crossfire? will there be some kind of in-depth look into this kind of matter, since new and more powerful gfx cards are on the way and amd doesn't seem to have cpus that can let powerful gfx cards flex their muscles. i am almost certain i am gonna get attacked/downvoted for this... but my curiosity is more than fear!!


    This phenomenon is quite unusual really.
    http://tpucdn.com/reviews/ASUS/HD_7970_CrossFire/images/crysis_1024_768.gif

    Quote:
    Nvidia may not be as guilty at this point in time, but their renaming and spinning out the core from the 8800, 9800 and 250 cards was epic. Nothing like selling the same old GPU (with minor improvements) for 2+ years.


    Don't forget the GTX285m!
  • 0 Hide
    marcolorenzo , January 23, 2012 12:12 PM
    I think this kind of discussion is pointless. Of course, AMD and nVidia are guilty of misleading uninformed buyers. But the point is moot since I doubt anybody would base their PC purchasing decisions on comparisons between Desktop and Notebook cards. If they need mobility, they'd be deciding between the available mobile choices. If they don't need mobility then the desktop cards would be their concern. In any case, a notebook solution is always more expensive that its desktop counterpart, so if anything, the companies are doing themselves a disfavour by naming them the same way.
  • 2 Hide
    msgun98 , January 23, 2012 12:19 PM
    Great article, and it is the reason I am done purchasing "gaming" laptops. Gotta spend $2,000+ to have a machine with an underclocked desktop 6870 in it? No thanks. I'll just take a laptop with a fast CPU for work and build a desktop for gaming.
  • 7 Hide
    warezme , January 23, 2012 12:39 PM
    I don't understand why people defend this. It is a lie, one to deceive the uninitiated, call it as it is. Yes we understand the difference or we probably wouldn't be reading this article so we are not the ones being being deceived out right but in a way we are still the victims. We are victims in that the graphics industry has found a way to NOT innovate, to NOT develop truly new high performance mobile video because they have been allowed to get away with just renaming the last two generations parts. You people need to wake up.

    We need more articles like this that call these companies out on their deceptions.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , January 23, 2012 1:12 PM
    warezmeI don't understand why people defend this. It is a lie, one to deceive the uninitiated, call it as it is. Yes we understand the difference or we probably wouldn't be reading this article so we are not the ones being being deceived out right but in a way we are still the victims. We are victims in that the graphics industry has found a way to NOT innovate, to NOT develop truly new high performance mobile video because they have been allowed to get away with just renaming the last two generations parts. You people need to wake up.We need more articles like this that call these companies out on their deceptions.


    People aren't defending AMD/Nvidia as much as looking for reasons for why they did something that overall seemed to be bad marketing decisions. I agree about needing more articles like this.

    But really... none of this should come as a surprise to anyone whom reads the last page of "Best Graphics Cards for the Money" where it has clearly been said for several months at the least that the top mobile GPUs are in the same performance tier as the Radeon 6870 and GTX 560.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , January 23, 2012 1:20 PM
    Nice article. However, 6990 M and desktop represent very small number of the reality out there.
    I was wondering, what would be the difference in more mainstream GPUs, e.g. GTX 560 vs GTX 560M, etc.
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