Radeon HD 7990 And GeForce GTX 690: Bring Out The Big Guns

PowerColor Devil13 HD7990: Big And Flashy

PowerColor Devil13 HD7990: A Beautiful Beast?

PowerColor was the first vendor to market a Radeon HD 7990 in the absence of an official reference design from AMD. Perhaps AMD figured out that it'd have too-difficult of a time competing against the GeForce GTX 690 given Tahiti's power requirements (and the requisite cooling required  to dissipate the heat from two GPUs). Either way, the Devil13 HD7990 makes no apologies about its size, power demands, or cooling solution.

Club 3D and VTX3D are also using the same PCB as PowerColor, selling a similar design running at slightly lower clock rates. The cards are all identical, though, aside from their stickers.

PowerColor itself offers two different Radeon HD 7990 cards. The Devil13 HD 7990 boasts the highest clock rates and best bundle. But its extravagance begins with some really crazy-looking packaging.

PowerColor's accessory package is comprehensive. It even includes a brace, which is necessary to hold the 1.77 kg card securely in your case. The PowerJack brace doesn't fasten to any part of the chassis itself, but rather supports the card's weight by sitting on the bottom of the enclosure, propping the Radeon HD 7990 up. It's able to extend up to 235 mm-tall.

The bundle also includes a DVI dongle, a mini-DisplayPort-to-DisplayPort adapter, a mini-DisplayPort-to-single-link DVI adapter, three power adapters, a CrossFire ribbon cable, an instruction manual, and a screwdriver set.

Like HIS' 7970 X2, PowerColor's Devil13 HD7990 employs a custom three-slot design. It uses a trio of fans for cooling though, rather than two. As you can see in the shot below, the blowers aren't identical. The middle fan has a diameter of 75 mm and is tilted a little to direct airflow. The other two fans are 90 mm in diameter.

Three eight-pin connectors and the PCI Express slot, together, should deliver up to 525 W of power. This isn't enough under load, though. Again, we'll talk more about this shortly.

There are six LEDs on the back of the card that convey the status of its power supply. But because the Devil13 HD7990 actually uses six phases per GPU, we're not quite sure what the lights are actually showing. Regardless, they do look very nice.

The rest of the board is hidden under a massive backplate.

The Devil13 HD7990's graphics memory is manufactured by Hynix and can be manually overclocked all the way to 1500 MHz or more. PowerColor's factory setting is 1375 MHz, so headroom does exist.

Similar to EVGA's GeForce GTX 690, PowerColor taps PLX's PEX 8747 PCI Express switch, allowing both Tahiti GPUs to communicate with the host using PCI Express 3.0's 8 GT/s signaling. Technically, this is an advantage that both dual-GPU boards hold over HIS' 7970 X2, which utilizes a switch from Lucidlogix limited to PCI Express 2.0 data rates.

Display output connectivity includes two mini-DisplayPort, one HDMI, and two dual-link DVI ports. That red button switches the card's firmware between normal and overclocked BIOSes. It glows red when the more enthusiast-oriented settings are active.

The exhaust ports on the back of the card are fairly small, and probably could have been larger to facilitate better airflow. Because they're as narrow as they are, a lot of hot air is driven down onto the PCB.

Create a new thread in the US Reviews comments forum about this subject
This thread is closed for comments
143 comments
    Your comment
    Top Comments
  • twinshadow
    if you are spending 1000$ dollars on a video card paying a Power bill is not an issue
    25
  • abbadon_34
    wow, microstuttering is a now a non issue , at least AMD
    24
  • Anonymous
    thanks for the in depth analysis with adaptive V-sync and radeon pro helping with micro stutter.

    not to take away anything for the hard work performed; i would have liked have seen nvidia's latest beta driver, 310.33, included also to see if nvidia is doing anything to improve the performance of their card instead of just adding 3d vision, AO, and sli profiles.
    21
  • Other Comments
  • mayankleoboy1
    IMHO, the GTX690 looks best. There is something really alluring about shiny white metallic shine and the fine metal mesh. Along with the fluorescent green branding.
    Maybe i am too much of a retro SF buff :)
    7
  • Ironslice
    What's the most impressive is that the GTX 690 was made by nVidia themselves and not an OEM. Very nice and balanced card.
    -22
  • tacoslave
    i wept
    12
  • hellfire24
    your test system is sexy!!!!!!!
    18
  • willyroc
    You can't really go wrong either way with these generally insane(so to speak) cards.
    20
  • amuffin
    Is it just me or do the 7970X2 and 7990 coolers look so fast and fugly? :heink:
    -7
  • Anonymous
    thanks for the in depth analysis with adaptive V-sync and radeon pro helping with micro stutter.

    not to take away anything for the hard work performed; i would have liked have seen nvidia's latest beta driver, 310.33, included also to see if nvidia is doing anything to improve the performance of their card instead of just adding 3d vision, AO, and sli profiles.
    21
  • esrever
    can we get some quadfire benchmarks too? :D
    18
  • RazorBurn
    AMD's Dual GPU at 500+ Watts of electricity is out for me.. Too Much Power and Noise..
    -6
  • mohit9206
    2 670's in sli is better than spending on a 690 and 2 7950's in Xfire is better than spending on a 7990. this way you save nearly $300 both ways
    7
  • abbadon_34
    wow, microstuttering is a now a non issue , at least AMD
    24
  • ojas
    Good read!

    But, would have liked to see 680s in SLI, to see how they scale now compared to the 690.

    Also, would using two single GPUs in CF/SLI make a difference to the micro-stuttering charts? iirc, the PCIe controller is tied to the CPU for SB/IB chips? So that would mean no 3rd party bridge in between the two GPUs as in the case of the 7990 and 690. Would that make a diff?

    How do you manage to isolate the cards' power consumption at load (idle is simpler)? And noise too: how do you block out the case fans and CPU cooler?
    10
  • Anonymous
    The radeon pro is saving AMD's butt

    But In the end, 690 was slower than 7990 average framerate but with Radeon Pro, it is the 7990 which is slower right?

    So yes it's better than without, but the 690 is faster, as smooth, and use a built in technology

    AMD really need to work on it's crossfire technology
    1
  • blazorthon
    amuffinIs it just me or do the 7970X2 and 7990 coolers look so fast and fugly?


    I don't think they look "fast and ugly", although I do think that the HIS model could do with some more finesse.
    12
  • FormatC
    Quote:
    How do you manage to isolate the cards' power consumption at load (idle is simpler)? And noise too: how do you block out the case fans and CPU cooler?
    The noise was measured with the open benchtable, not in case (no extra case fans and an ultra silent fan on the hidden CPU cooler)

    For the power consumption: 3 current clamps with monitoring ;)
    10
  • Novuake
    Interesting, AMD has a winner at the top tier! That hasn't happened in a while. CODOS to that.
    17
  • twinshadow
    if you are spending 1000$ dollars on a video card paying a Power bill is not an issue
    25
  • blazorthon
    NovuakeInteresting, AMD has a winner at the top tier! That hasn't happened in a while. CODOS to that.


    Technically, HIS has a winner, not AMD because AMD didn't launch a 7990/7970X2 reference;)
    6
  • blazorthon
    twinshadowif you are spending 1000$ dollars on a video card paying a Power bill is not an issue


    Actually, the only person who I ever recommended a GTX 690 to wanted it specifically because of its low power consumption literally being enough to pay for itself compared to his previous graphics setup due to his high cost for power. Some people looking for such high end cards most certainly do care about power consumption.
    -5
  • FormatC
    1 kW/h in Germany: 0.25 Euro (approx. 0.34 USD)
    This IS an issue. ;)
    18