Posts Tagged ‘fastest video card’
It’s been no secret that AMD has been working on their new flagship graphics card. Originally rumored to be ready in time for Christmas 2010 the new AMD Radeon HD 6990 was officially launched on March 8th.
Like its predecessor the ATI Radeon HD 5970, the Radeon HD 6990 is a dual chip solution on a single circuit board. Codenamed “Antilles” Radeon 6990 has two “Cayman” gpus straight from the AMD Radeon HD 6970. The gpus have been downclocked from 880mhz as they appear in Radeon 6970 incarnation to a slightly lower 830Mhz and each gpu has its own 2GB of 5Ghz GDDR5 memory for a whopping total of 4GB. This card also comes with an interesting feature called AUSUM. Basically the card has a dual BIOS arrangement. One BIOS is programmed with the standard 830Mhz clock speeds and 1.12V. With one flip of a switch however, the card can be run from the secondary BIOS which is pre programmed with overclocked settings of 880Mhz and 1.175V per gpu core.
nVidia still retains the crown for that fastest “single chip” video card with the current model Geforce GTX 580 but the new AMD Radeon HD 6990 is without a doubt, the fastest single gaming video card for desktop computers that money can currently buy, however there are a few caveats associated with this card which may have even those of us with the fattest of wallets thinking twice about parting with our hard earned dollars.
It’s loud – very, very loud. Most hardware reviews have recorded noise levels of between 62 and nearly 80 decibels for this card whilst under heavy 3D loading. To give you some perspective, there were universal complaints amongst enthusiasts about nVidia’s previous generation Geforce GTX 480 card. Most test bench results are showing the Radeon HD 6990 to be between 5 and 15 decibels louder than the GTX 480 when under load.
It’s hot – The noise levels generated whilst the card is under load is directly proportional to the amount of heat being generated. Each Cayman core on this video card can warm to a toasty 90 degrees Celsius. Enthusiasts will need to provide a large airy well ventilated PC case in which to house this beast. I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3rd party iterations of the AMD Radeon HD 6990 shipping with custom water blocks for all the water cooling enthusiasts. This would be a great way to keep both the noise and the heat output of these cards to much lower levels. If enough people ask about solutions to this problem, we may well set up a water cooled prototype at DCA and start experimenting.
It uses a lot of power – This card eats electrons like a black hole. When running off its default BIOS this card consumes close to 450W and can exceed 500W when running off the overclocked BIOS. The minimum recommended Power Supply necessary to run this card is quoted at 750W however some review sites are suggesting something beefier than this, especially if you are going to be overclocking your cpu.
It’s expensive – Launch price is listed as $699 USD. This is a lot more than the cost of a complete entry level PC!
On the Bright side of things however there is one major consideration
It’s fast – very, very fast. When compared to the ATI Radeon HD 5970 which it is now replacing, the Radeon 6990 shows a performance increase across a wide suite of games and benchmarks of 20-25%.
Here are a couple of performance graphs from some recent online reviews that will give some insight as to the sheer grunt of this pixel pumping powerhouse.
As you can see from these charts, there are still some dual card combinations running in SLI or Crossfire mode which can topple the Radeon HD 6990. Rumors abound online regarding a possible challenge to the Radeon HD 6990 from the nVidia camp in the form of a detuned dual 580 GTX based card. Pundits are already calling this card the Geforce 590 GTX and if the results for SLI 580 GTX cards gives us a hint of the possible performance of such a setup, then the AMD Radeon HD 6990’s reign as the fastest video card available may be short lived indeed. Until then however AMD retains a hold on the title it claimed in 2009 with the release of the ATI Radeon HD 5970 and can rightly claim the AMD Radeon HD 6990 to be “The fastest video card in the world”