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AMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB Review: Antilles Makes (Too Much) Noise

Benchmark Results: Dual-GPU Performance (CrossFire And SLI)

AMD’s Radeon HD 6990 is roughly equivalent to a slightly de-tuned pair of Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire (both the default memory and core clocks are lower). It only makes sense, then, to compare the 6990 to 6970s in CrossFire. And while we’re at it, why not factor in a pair of GeForce GTX 570s as well?

Although AMD refused to confirm the price of its Radeon HD 6990 until just prior to launch (after our benchmarks were run and analysis completed), we do know you can buy a pair of Radeon HD 6970s for $680 or a pair of GeForce GTX 570s for $670. And that’s before rebates. Shave an extra $40 off the AMD cards or an extra $30 off the Nvidia boards if those count in your book. Keep that in mind as we go through the benchmarks.

Using the 3DMark Performance preset, two Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire appear to be your fastest option. The Radeon HD 6990 with its shipping firmware setting actually takes last place. However, the overclocked BIOS facilitates a jump in performance that overtakes two GeForce GTX 570s.

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 570s claim a first-place finish in Metro using AAA. Turning on 4x MSAA, however, hits the card’s frame buffer hard, and the pair of GF110-based boards actually drop to last place. The Radeons are much more consistent, though again we see the Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire serving up slightly more speed than the Radeon HD 6990.

The situation plays out similarly in Lost Planet 2, and the GeForces outperform without AA, and then fall behind with the technology turned on. Again, the two 6970s edge out AMD’s new flagship card.

The field is close in AvP, but it’s differentiated just enough to show that the 6990’s overclocked BIOS gives the card parity with a pair of Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire. This time, the GeForce cards bring up the rear with and without anti-aliasing.

We’ve seen this enough times for us to call it a pattern: the Radeon HD 6970s in CrossFire are the way to go.

AMD had so much trouble getting F1 2010 running in CrossFire using its latest driver that I skipped right over the results I compiled for that game and moved on to Just Cause 2.

The story is the same, anyway. Two Radeon HD 6970s are faster and quieter, making the 6990 a difficult sell.

  • hayest
    Killer Card!

    Out of spec for default seems kind of weird though.
    Reply
  • CrazeEAdrian
    Great job AMD. You need to expect noise and heat when dealing with a card that beasts out that kind of performance, it's part of the territory.
    Reply
  • jprahman
    This thing is a monster, 375W TDP, 4GB of VRAM! Some people don't even have 4GB of regular RAM in their systems, let alone on their video card.
    Reply
  • one-shot
    Did I miss the load power draw? I just noticed the idle and noise ratings. It would be informative to see the power draw of Crossfire 6990s and overclocked i7. I see the graph, but a chart with CPU only and GPU only followed by a combination of both would be nice to see.
    Reply
  • anacandor
    For the people that actually buy this card, i'm sure they'll be able to afford an aftermarket cooler for this thing once they come out...
    Reply
  • wino85
    OMG!!! It's finally here.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    one-shotDid I miss the load power draw? I just noticed the idle and noise ratings. It would be informative to see the power draw of Crossfire 6990s and overclocked i7. I see the graph, but a chart with CPU only and GPU only followed by a combination of both would be nice to see.
    We don't have two cards here to test, unfortunately. The logged load results for a single card are on the same page, though!
    Reply
  • bombat1994
    things we need to see are this thing water cooled.

    and tested at 7680 x 1600

    that will see just how well it does.

    That thing is an absolute monster of a card.

    They really should have made it 32nm. then the power draw would have fallen below 300w and the thing would be cooler.

    STILL NICE WORK AMD
    Reply
  • Bigmac80
    Pretty fast i wonder if this will be cheaper then 2 GTX 570's or 2 6950's?
    But omg this thing is freakin loud. What's the point of having a quite system now with Noctua fans :(
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    Its hot, sucks alot of power, and costs a ton. But i still want one.








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