HIS HD6990 Eyefinity 5760x1080 Review
Wow that was quite the review. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did putting it together.
So how did the HIS Digital HD6990 perform?
In a word, exceptionally well. We've been intrigued for some time to see how high-end cards perform when used as they're intended. The HD6990 from HIS Digital clearly has bags of performance available to it as even the seriously strenuous games such as Metro 2033 or Stalker could be run at fearsome image quality settings and 5760x1080 resolution, but still give us playable frame-rates.
The only games that were hindered significantly were Crysis Warhead and Shift 2. Crysis Warhead is, as we've demonstrated before, not very well optimised and even 5 grands worth of hardware can't get it to stretch its wings. Shift 2 obviously has issues with AMD hardware, just like Shift 1 did. Hopefully this will be patched out, but it's something to be aware of.
Otherwise the HIS HD6990 was as good as other HD6990 cards we've tested on the single screen, but it's the Eyefinity that's the main point of today's review and it was faultless. Any "strangeness" is either in the way that the AMD drivers work, or the way games themselves handle such a wide resolution.
Getting Eyefinity to work is simplicity itself. Boot up with one monitor installed, plug the other two in and tick the Eyefinity box in the drivers. All very simple. AMD have gone a slightly curious route with needing to set programs to work on certain monitors and there definitely is, as always, room for improvement. Although AMD/ATI drivers are nowhere near as bad as they used to be, there is certainly a few areas that they could adjust. Whether the foundation of the Catalyst Control Centre is capable of a fundamental change or if AMD will need a wholesale makeover remains to be seen. Certainly for the average end-user there are ways in which they could make it more user friendly.
How games take advantage of the Eyefinity is a little hit and miss. Black Ops went for just stretching a basic image wider and Crysis Warhead had a definite fish-eye quality to it, but otherwise all the games we tested did exactly what you'd expect from having an extra screen either side, and that's give you more peripheral vision.
Speaking of the screens, credit has to go to Iiyama for providing us with the necessary monitors. The Prolite E2473HDS had rich colour and even brightness thanks to its LED backlighting. Even being off to the side at an angle the picture rendition remained sharp and we didn't even need to calibrate them. Such consistency is a sure sign of a strict manufacturing process.
So are there any down sides? Sadly, like everything, there are and it's the same problem that we had when we first reviewed the HD6990 back in March. Unfortunately the reference cooler is woeful, being almost wholly unable to keep the temperatures in check without spinning up to intolerably loud levels. Whilst this isn't a problem that affects the HIS HD6990 alone, nonetheless by choosing to stick with the reference design it retains those same issues.
Thankfully the eye-watering price has come down some in the intervening months and so it's just over the £500 mark instead of being £600. A huge amount of performance for the money.
That immense performance is enough to give the HIS Digital our OC3D Performance award.