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Thursday, 24 March 2011 12:00

Sapphire HD 6990 4GB

Written by Sanjin Rados
thumb

UPDATED: Red camp strikes back


AMD has every reason to be happy today - the company launched its Radeon HD 6990 and it earned the title of the world’s fastest card. The card uses two Cayman XT GPUs and will churn out some seriously impressive performance.

Naturally, two chips on one card mean more heat and power as well, but this card is not for the faint of heart to begin with. Sapphire kindly provided us with its HD 6990 and we’ll briefly take a look just what the card offers.

UPDATED: We’ve managed to spend some quality time with Sapphire HD 6990 and today we’ll show the results. No, not that kind of quality time, thank you very much.

The card was launched at around €600 but you can get it today for €560 here.

As you already know, Radeon HD 6990 a.k.a. Antilles is currently the fastes graphics card around. However, Nvidia today launches its dual-GPU GTX 590 and it’s quite likely that AMD will hand over its crown. However, moving the little switch on HD 6990 results in a boost from 830MHz to 880MHz. Whether this is enough to beat the GTX 590, we’ll see soon enough.

The following GPUZ shots show performance difference with regular and OC BIOS:


sapphire_6990_Normal_bios_gpuz

sapphire_6990_OC_bios_gpuz

In the meantime, AMD launched the new HD 6990 driver, Catalyst 11.4 preview, which brought about improvement in certain games. You may recall that dual-GPU cards were almost exclusively hindered by drivers upon launch, and the latest example of that is delayed launch of the GTX 590 due to incomplete drivers.

HD 6990’s dual BIOS was a subject of many debates, asAMD won’t officially cover the OC BIOS, i.e. the boost to 880MHz,  with its warranty. However, many partners decided to side with their customers and decided to cover it with full warranty regardless of clocks.

It turned out that the card runs stable at 880MHz, so we’ve included the OC BIOS results in our tables.

 

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Last modified on Thursday, 24 March 2011 13:52
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Comments  

 
-87 #1 stoneeh 2011-03-08 18:12
6970 vs 5970 just show again how much AMD failed with their new architecture. Hopefully they will simply return to their 5-shader architecture and call the 4-shader Cayman a failed experiment.

After the weak scores of 5870 vs 6970 I expected significant improvements from better drivers due to the brand new architecture. Now, many months later, it's safe to say that was not an issue.

I've only been buying AMD cards for years and am actually rooting for the red team, but I think it's safe for me to admit Nvidia kicked AMD's ass this gen - even though the GTX590 is not yet released, but after seeing 6990's benches it's hard to see how Nvidia would manage to not make this the fastest card on the market.
 
 
+23 #2 Steve-O 2011-03-08 18:14
If you had included the numbers for 6950's in crossfire, the $700 US MSRP would seem a little out of whack (100$ more expensive).

That price will not be going down, unless NV pulls a rabbit out of their arse, the 590 will be 100$ more expensive. Who are buying these cards anyways?

Other than that, a fabulous card.
 
 
+29 #3 Nerdmaster 2011-03-08 18:27
A very positive review about Amd. THats rare on fudzilla.
 
 
+32 #4 Jurassic1024 2011-03-08 19:23
Quoting Steve-O:
Who are buying these cards anyways?



Enthusiasts. The same guys that will buy two of these, add two $100+ waterblocks, and own us all.
 
 
-9 #5 Haberlandt 2011-03-08 19:27
Sapphire girls are ugly :-x
 
 
-7 #6 hoohoo 2011-03-08 19:33
F*ck the FPS, Sapphire, get those girls showing more skin! :P
 
 
+15 #7 Super XP 2011-03-08 19:50
It's called "DRIVERS" and a new card, AMD only needs to refresh it's drivers to fully take advantage of this Dual-GPU Monster HD 6990. Good job AMD...
Quoting stoneeh:
6970 vs 5970 just show again how much AMD failed with their new architecture. Hopefully they will simply return to their 5-shader architecture and call the 4-shader Cayman a failed experiment.

After the weak scores of 5870 vs 6970 I expected significant improvements from better drivers due to the brand new architecture. Now, many months later, it's safe to say that was not an is
 
 
-22 #8 bardenck 2011-03-08 21:47
Quoting Super XP:
It's called "DRIVERS" and a new card, AMD only needs to refresh it's drivers to fully take advantage of this Dual-GPU Monster HD 6990. Good job AMD...
Quoting stoneeh:
6970 vs 5970 just show again how much AMD failed with their new architecture. Hopefully they will simply return to their 5-shader architecture and call the 4-shader Cayman a failed experiment.

After the weak scores of 5870 vs 6970 I expected significant improvements from better drivers due to the brand new architecture. Now, many months later, it's safe to say that was not an is



why do they release cards with shitty drivers??? dont make sense to ME!
 
 
+11 #9 Blacky 2011-03-08 23:34
Performance is really nice but power consumption and prices are starting to get out of hand.

I am thinking of buying such cards ( a 6990 or 590) but the price they are asking it's a bit exaggerated. 500 euro should be the max... the 6990 is 600 euro and I bet the GTX 590 will be 700 euro.
 
 
+8 #10 Septor 2011-03-09 00:36
Quoting stoneeh:
6970 vs 5970 just show again how much AMD failed with their new architecture. Hopefully they will simply return to their 5-shader architecture and call the 4-shader Cayman a failed experiment.


You're kidding right? I think you don't understand the economics. Their shader performance is about on par, regardless of being 20% simpler and requiring less transistors. That is an achievement in my book.

For people comparing SLI/CF setups, yes they are probably more economical, unless you factor in a new PSU and motherboard (and maybe CPU/memory to go with it). SLI/CF is only more economical if you already have a capable system. That is the niche these cards were created for.
 

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