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Friday, 22 April 2011 12:18

AMD triple CrossFireX tested - 2. Testing and Results

Written by Sanjin Rados
HD 6990 and HD 6970 happily running side by side

Nvidia’s SLI, AMD’s CrossFireX allows for daisy chaining a wider variety of cards. CrossFireX allows for pairing a dual and single GPU cards and we pounced on the chance to use HD 6990 and HD 6970. The following table is incomplete but gives a nice insight into CrossFireX’s capabilities.




Motherboard: EVGA 4xSLI
CPU: Core i7 965 XE (Intel EIST andVdropenabled)
Memory: 6GB CorsairDominator 12800 7-7-7-24
Harddisk:   OCZ Vertex 2 100 GB
Power Supply: Sapphire Pure 1250W
Case: CoolerMaster HAF X
Fan Controler: Kaze Master Pro 5.25"
Operating System: Win7 64-bit
Nvidia 270.51_desktop_win7_winvista_64bit
AMD 11.4 Preview


So, our multi-GPU system is made of three Cayman GPUs. The HD 6970’s GPU runs at 880MHz while the HD 6990’s GPUs run at 830MHz.



Note that when using two different graphics cards in CrossFireX, the faster card will downclock to the level of the slower card. However, we used the bios switch on the HD 6990 and boosted its GPU to 880MHz, in order to make it identical to the one on HD 6970.



The scores show that slotting the HD 6970 next to a HD 6990 may improve performance up to almost 50%. We did not forget the HD 6990 quad CrossFireX, we simply did not have two of them.




Noise and Thermals

Naturally, the HD 6990’s temperatures are higher than those on the HD 6970, but the thermals end up just fine. We were more worried about noise, because the cards can get pretty loud in 3D mode.



Afterburner tool detected the fan seriously speeding up from time to time. We’re sorry to say this, but the fan noise barely allowed us to enjoy our gaming sessions.


Power Consumption

Consumption is unwise to ignore when dealing with CrossFireX and SLI setups, even if you don’t care much about your power bills. For instance, you should make sure that your TriFire rig with a HD 6990 and HD 6970 boasts a 1000W PSU.

The HD 6990 card consumes around 37W in idle mode, which isn't half bad considering that a single HD 6970 consumes 22W. On the other hand, HD 6990 consumes around 335W and if you intend to overclock it, you should know that it can draw up to 370W. This means that it will draw about 125W more than HD 6970, via two 8-pin connectors.

Our test rig drew about 200W more with Quad GTX 590 than with the TriFire (HD 6990 + HD 6970). During intensive operation however, our rig with TriFire inside consumed about 845W.



In short, if you have an HD 6990 and you crave even better performance, then adding an HD 6970 may save you quite some cash and allow for gaming at maximum resolutions.

(Page 2 of 2)
Last modified on Monday, 25 April 2011 07:55
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+4 #1 stoneeh 2011-04-22 21:28
neat scaling there.. should also work real well in higher resolutions due to 2gb ram per gpu
+1 #2 123s 2011-04-22 21:36
The temps are pretty awesome and leave room to tweak fan speed to decent noise levels.
+13 #3 mrgerbik 2011-04-22 23:25
The long of the short is that the Radeon 6xxx series are much more efficient and cheaper then any Fermi based solutions atm.

For $400 less and 200 Watts less you get +/- 5% FPS vs. 2x590 -- no brainer here.

Wheres retardo Warrior's comments when you need them?????
+3 #4 Sodomy 2011-04-23 03:12
this is no surprise, ati/amd have scaled much better (in games that are coded for sli/crossfire) for many a year now. it's been like this since the 4000 series if i remeber correctly
+5 #5 deadspeedv 2011-04-23 03:35
Why is there no CrossfireX HD6990 in that list??
+8 #6 Boomstick777 2011-04-23 08:10
Quoting deadspeedv:
Why is there no CrossfireX HD6990 in that list??

Becausce it makes the GTX 590 SLI look stupid?

HD 6990 is an awesome card, seen them as low as £465 if you look around, great value imo.
0 #7 Shadow187 2011-04-23 19:31
Quoting Boomstick777:
Quoting deadspeedv:
Why is there no CrossfireX HD6990 in that list??

Becausce it makes the GTX 590 SLI look stupid?

HD 6990 is an awesome card, seen them as low as £465 if you look around, great value imo.

Applying the term "value" to an Enthusiast card.. :P
+2 #8 Apu_fusion 2011-04-23 19:58
It gets worse than this for the 590s if you actually review resolutions that 1000-1500 dollars of GPU would be using ie 5760X1200. Hardocp did a real comparison with a $1,000 price tag to create an even playing field and used real resolutions for that cost. WHO in their right minds buys quad 590s or 6990s to game at 1920X1080 or 2500X1600? Obviously at the higher resolutions it gets worse for Nvidia. The real comparison should be 6990+6970 versus 580SLI as Hardocp does.
+2 #9 Bl0bb3r 2011-04-23 20:00
Quoting Shadow187:
Applying the term "value" to an Enthusiast card.. :P

Nothing wrong there... move along!
A top-end card can be of value if the gamer is an investor, some of them even make enough cash out of gaming in competitions to recoup the investment. That's value for you!
+4 #10 hoohoo 2011-04-23 23:26
I had a dream last night about my much beloved Voodoo II :P

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