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EVGA recently lent our German lab one of the GeForce GTX 690s we've had in the U.S. for months. The purpose? To pit against HIS' upcoming 7970 X2 and PowerColor's Devil13 HD7990, both dual-Tahiti boards vying to become the world's fastest graphics card.
A couple of weeks ago, our German office got an exclusive on HIS' new flagship graphics card, the 7970 X2 (notice that they're not calling it a Radeon HD 7990). Because we also have PowerColor's Devil13 HD7990 6 GB in our lab, along with a GeForce GTX 690 from EVGA, we're about to crown the fastest graphics card of 2012 right here and right now.
Will the outcome matter to you? Well, PowerColor's board is currently listed on Newegg for $1000, but it's out of stock. The HIS card doesn't even show up for sale online yet. Our sample was part of a small, limited-production run (we'll come back to this in the conclusion). Only EVGA's offering is sitting on store shelves. And while it also goes for $1000, making it too expensive for most folks, there's at least something to be said for availability, right?
With its factory overclock, PowerColor's Devil13 HD7990 6 GB comes very close to the GeForce GTX 690 in our performance-oriented tests. Meanwhile, HIS' 7970 X2, which was shown off at Computex, but not necessarily a sure thing, is finally ready. Elevated clock rates are supposed to make the HIS card the fastest graphics card, period. But do the benchmarks concur? Let's have a look at how these three boards stack up on paper first.
|Radeon HD 7970 X2, Radeon HD 7990, And GeForce GTX 690|
|HIS 7970 X2||PowerColor Devil13 HD7990 6 GB||EVGA GeForce GTX 690|
|Shader Units||2 x 2048||2 x 2048||2 x 1536|
|GPU Clock Rate||1050 MHz||925 / 1000 MHz||915 MHz +Turbo|
|ROPs||2 x 32||2 x 32||2 x 32|
|GPUs||2 x Tahiti XT||2 x Tahiti XT||2 x GK104|
|Transistors (Billion)||2 x 4.31||2 x 4.31||2 x 3.54|
|Memory||2 x 3 GB||2 x 3 GB||2 x 2 GB|
|Memory Bus||2 x 384-bit||2 x 384-bit||2 x 256-bit|
|Memory Clock Rate||1500 MHz||1375 MHz||1502 MHz|
Technically, the HIS card looks like it holds a strong position. If those numbers translate into real-world performance, and if micro-stuttering isn't a problem for AMD, it could be our winner. Then again, we already saw in GeForce GTX 690 Review: Testing Nvidia's Sexiest Graphics Card that Nvidia put a lot of effort into creating a fast, svelte, and quiet offering in its GeForce GTX 690. That'll be a tough act to follow.