If you have been waiting for the dual-GPU monster from AMD called Antilles, you can finally jump for joy as the Radeon HD 6990 4GB video card has officially been released. This video card has been at the center talked about openly by AMD for nearly half a year now, so to see it out in the wild is a relief. AMD should be relieved too as this is their first Dual-GPU video card that they have launched since the Radeon HD 5970 was released back in 2009. They also managed to get it out the door before the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 comes to market, which is always good.
AMD sent us the Radeon HD 6990 4GB video card in a silver briefcase that had a rather large advertisement for Dragon Age II on the cover, but sadly the game was no where to be found. Inside the briefcase up we found more marketing material that said, “Rise to power with the AMD Radeon HD 6990, the fastest graphics card in the world”. Below the sign we found the foot long behemoth and no we aren’t talking about a Subway Footlong sandwich! This isn’t a $5 Subway Footlong though as this is a flagship video card that comes with a hefty price tag of $699. A Radeon HD 6970 can be had for $319.99 after rebate, which is interesting as this video card uses the same GPU cores.
The AMD Radeon HD 6990 4GB video isn’t something totally new as AMD basically took two of their Cayman GPU’s used on the Radeon HD 6950 and 6970 series and slapped them on a single PCB. If you recall the Radeon HD 6970 video card runs at 880MHz on the core clock and has 24 SIMD units with 1536 ALU stream processors. We thought that AMD would have to reduce the clock speeds on the GPU for a dual-GPU card and we were partly right.
The Radeon HD 6990 has a core clock speed of 830MHz with a memory clock
speed of 1250MHz (5.0Gbps). The Radeon HD 6990 has compute performance
rating of 5.1TFLOPs (single precisions) and 1.27TFLOPs
(double-precision). This is very impressive, but as you can see they had to reduce the clock speeds.
Well, that isn’t exactly true. The AMD 6900 series has two BIOS versions that you can change between and AMD allowed one to be set at 880MHz on the 6990! That means that the Radeon HD 6990 really does have two GPU’s that are basically running at the same core clock speeds as the core on a Radeon HD 6970 video card. AMD has done a ton of engineering to pull this feat off and this should mean that this single card should easily defeat the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 and become the fastest video card on the planet. The slide above shows that the overclocked profile is called the 6990 OC.
Let’s take a quick look at the card and our test system and then see how the video card performs against dozens of other video cards. Once we do that we’ll look at temperatures, power consumption and overclocking performance!