AMD HD6990 Review

Test Setup and Overclocking

AMD HD6990 Review

Test Setup

AMD Radeon HD6990
Intel Core i7-950 @ 4GHz
ASUS Rampage III Extreme
Muskin Joule 1200w
6GB Mushkin Redline
Noctua NH-D14
Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Overclocking

We've got two overclocking results for you today. The first is the current overclock maximum which gains the HD6990 another 45MHz. You can run this all day if you desired. The Memory overclock is particularly impressive given the normally poor GDDR5 overclocking performance of GPU memory.

AMD HD6990 Review 

Our second overclock is more of a "future potential" one as the chip can easily do it, but the cooling solution is utterly incapable of dispersing the heat produced. So once the AMD Partners bring out their tailored versions we should start to see overclocks heading towards 1GHz on the core.

 AMD HD6990 Review  

Temperatures

Speaking of heat, this cooler is just not up to the task at all. It's woeful. But more of that in the conclusion, for now, 89°C maximum after an overclocked 3D Mark Vantage run should be enough to give you an idea.

AMD HD6990 Review

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Most Recent Comments

07-03-2011, 23:40:02

tinytomlogan
After what has felt like an eternity we finally get our hands on the replacement to the HD5970. Dual-GPU goodness?



Continue Reading

07-03-2011, 23:50:00

TheWhiteRose000
Does want.

08-03-2011, 00:54:09

darkshadow
Lol, this is a banging card. I would get it but I don't have over 700 bucks to spend. GTX 560 TI does me just fine.

08-03-2011, 01:23:13

Arthur Hucksake
Once the 590 comes out and ATI drop this down to 500, it will be a no brainer.

I just hate Crossfire personally. Bloody CAP profiles and not being able to force your own AFR modes in the CCC and what not. If they sorted that out, i'd be all over this card.

And when will they introduce twin fan designs for reference cards? Would an extra 5 really matter if your dropping over 500 on a card anyways?

08-03-2011, 01:43:00

dugdiamond
too pricey for me (atm)

08-03-2011, 02:19:20

UkGouki
do want this card...................................

08-03-2011, 02:58:25

wraithien
Good review as always Tom. I am a little disappointed with the price (I don't think it only deserved a 5 for price though). i think if they had managed to get it to about 500 or just below that would be ideal. Especially given how aggressive Nvidia have been with priceing recently, though I'm sure as Hucksake said the price will drop as it always does in response to Nvidia's new offerings.

08-03-2011, 03:02:35

Morbious Stone
The single card vid never came up maybe tomorrow? Great reviews!

08-03-2011, 07:56:41

Rastalovich
It may be at 530 approx on release, but I'd imagine sub 500 from about a month or so onwards.

I hate to harp on about it, but looking at some of the comparisons of this card and perhaps an older review of 2x 6970, in some graphs it makes sense and in others it doesn't. Not in the way that you'd look at reflecting, repeating results within the same benchmark and blame the immature drivers for it, but in reflection of one bench vs another where (in all honesty) there just has to be continuity in the comparison.

As a result, I'd have to look around to judge whether this is a pro or con versus just crossfiring cards.

So all in all the underlying card is fanfreakingtastic, but let down horribly by the reference cooler. We can't wait to see what the partners bring to the table because with a half-decent cooler this really will be tough to resist.



This is almost exactly what "should" have been said about the GTX480.

08-03-2011, 08:19:52

SieB
Same as I said in the CF review, good performance but way too loud, maybe when non reference cards come out with better and hopefully quieter fans then I might like them a bit more.

08-03-2011, 08:20:16

SieB
Oops double post

08-03-2011, 08:53:05

Zeals
The thermal problems with this makes me wonder how the GTX590 will do when it comes to temps and noise. Hopefully it won't become GTX480 v2.0

08-03-2011, 09:29:14

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeals View Post

The thermal problems with this makes me wonder how the GTX590 will do when it comes to temps and noise. Hopefully it won't become GTX480 v2.0
It'll very much depend on how the review(s) are taken and how people latch onto the judgements.

The 6990 is unmistakenly a very powerful performer, and yes it does have 'some' things that will put off potential buyers (which is almost always a small quantity in the first place with the meaty dual cards). If it's review here went another way, and the words were repeated verbatim whenever anyone mentions it - it'll sink - which is wrong.

The card here isn't 100% the finished product, and there will be reviews to come that will be more favorable, which it deserves. Especially with the finished reference and very much more-so the kind ASUS/etc come out with once they've slapped a more favorable cooling product on it.

If the 6990 and the 590 are 480 V2.0, i.e. the top cards in their class, but will be polished that much better when variations come out, imo they're winners. But if the 6990 and the 590 are trashed, whilst also breaking all the performance records you can possibly smash and you can iron out the obsticles with a 25+ cooler, it would be a travesty.

Let's hope neither of them get the GTX 480 V1.0 treatment.

08-03-2011, 10:16:24

warfox101
This morning I was so ready to whip out the credit card... After watching Toms review the credit card is back in the wallet. Not sure yet if I want to buy this card. I think I will wait to see the aftermarket coolers, and how they perform under water.

08-03-2011, 12:05:03

wraithien
Just a quick shout out to Tom thanks again for being so honest in the review. I've read a few other reviews today and not ONE of them mentions the thermal and noise issues you clearly ran into, a few even mention how cool and quiet the card is. Which frankly astounds me to the point I'm wondering if they actually tested the card.

08-03-2011, 12:28:23

Dark NighT
Quote:
Originally Posted by wraithien View Post

Just a quick shout out to Tom thanks again for being so honest in the review. I've read a few other reviews today and not ONE of them mentions the thermal and noise issues you clearly ran into, a few even mention how cool and quiet the card is. Which frankly astounds me to the point I'm wondering if they actually tested the card.
Well some hardware review sites are like gaming review sites, bloated and biased, willing to exclude important details in order to hype up the product. Im glad i watched the video review tom did, that noise is just unacceptable for a 700 euro card. I wasnt planning on buying the card but i was excited to see how it does and as Tom said, the performance is indeed epic but that cooling just isnt good enough.

08-03-2011, 13:36:19

UkGouki
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rastalovich View Post

It may be at 530 approx on release, but I'd imagine sub 500 from about a month or so onwards.

I hate to harp on about it, but looking at some of the comparisons of this card and perhaps an older review of 2x 6970, in some graphs it makes sense and in others it doesn't. Not in the way that you'd look at reflecting, repeating results within the same benchmark and blame the immature drivers for it, but in reflection of one bench vs another where (in all honesty) there just has to be continuity in the comparison.

As a result, I'd have to look around to judge whether this is a pro or con versus just crossfiring cards.

This is almost exactly what "should" have been said about the GTX480.
there out as of today.. and are retailing at 570 and above..

08-03-2011, 13:46:17

piotrekhc
disappointed as well, sounds like hair dryer and its ugly

08-03-2011, 13:56:27

DT-525
Quote:
Originally Posted by warfox101 View Post

This morning I was so ready to whip out the credit card... After watching Toms review the credit card is back in the wallet. Not sure yet if I want to buy this card. I think I will wait to see the aftermarket coolers, and how they perform under water.
dont put it underwater it will be a wast of 500 lol

08-03-2011, 15:11:05

Dark Ryu
I really liked the review. I expected more from this video card. Performances are good, but it is really loud and expensive (for what it offers). I 100% agree with the review. I just followed tinytomlogan's suggestion. I bought a gtx 570 video card, and I couldn't be more satisfied with the quality of the product. I would really avoid this 6990 video card.

08-03-2011, 16:06:28

CrissTM
I always liked AMD/Ati cards for Price/performance but this one is realy good Price/Performance ... for a def person, and no go for me.

AMD/Ati.

08-03-2011, 16:59:07

wraithien
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark NighT View Post

Well some hardware review sites are like gaming review sites, bloated and biased, willing to exclude important details in order to hype up the product.
As a journalist myself I'm very much aware of this factor. But today especially it has astounded me how little was mentioned about thermal issues. This is especially true after Tom mentioned the card was shutting off after reaching thermal limits on more than one occasion to me that would be a serious concern especially given the fact this was on a test bench and not in a case!

09-03-2011, 19:22:05

Arthur Hucksake
Tom, are you sure you never got a borked card mate? That noise, and shutting down outside of the case can't be right.

10-03-2011, 11:17:15

Todd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Hucksake View Post

Tom, are you sure you never got a borked card mate? That noise, and shutting down outside of the case can't be right.
I was wondering if he did the testing after disassembling it once already.

10-03-2011, 11:18:50

Qubo420
Beast Card.

11-03-2011, 01:51:23

Zeals
Well since it's a dual GPU card, I personally wouldn't mind if MSI or something chuck on a triple slot cooler.

15-03-2011, 14:14:44

Mas
Awesome card, I bought this on launch day without watching overclock3d review.

It was f***ing loud and VERY HOT!

I have nice cooling solution with a Coolermaster Haf-X (huge fan blowing directly at the graphics card) and this card hit 105c with 10-15mins of Crysis 2, oh and not to mention 2 thermal shutdown by the graphics card.

I absolutely agree with EVERYTHING Tom has mentioned in this review, I was EXTREMELY disapointed by the fan & heat from this card.

Awesome performance but seriously let down badly by the heat/noise imho.

I sent the card back and this time will wait for an after market version of the 6990 or see how well the GTX 590 does (hope its quieter and not insanely hot as the 6990).

Most of the reviewers didnt really go into much detail about the heat/noise but Tom really hit it spot on and from now on Im gonner just wait his reviews on products.

TOM FTW!

/Mas

25-03-2011, 07:19:02

Karlos_the_n00b
Not sure if this has been covered elsewhere but the fix is out for the 6990.

http://hw-lab.com/first-hd-6990-waterblocks-appear-in-public.html

28-03-2011, 00:02:37

chaotic_russ
no wonder it runs louder tbh look at the heatsink size compaired to the 6970 heatsink , the fan will have to work harder with the smaller heatsinks . i bet it is louder than the 6970 ? , mind you if it also used the 6970 heatsinks it would be even longer lol

6970



6990

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