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Club 3D Radeon HD 7990 6GB preview: AMDs new dual-GPU card

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by Desire Athow
, 12 Feb 2013Features
Club 3D Radeon HD 7990 6GB preview: AMDs new dual-GPU card

When AMD launched the Radeon HD 5870 it took about two months before the dual-GPU version appeared in the shape of the Radeon HD 5970. With the Radeon HD 6970 we only had to wait a month before the dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990 was released. We had hoped for a similar release schedule after the Radeon HD 7970 came out in December, 2011, but alas. Even when Nvidia came with its dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690, AMD did not come with an answer.

It's not a complete mystery why, however. For the 7000 series, AMD applied a different design for its chips. The flagship model, the Tahiti GPU that's the foundation for the 7970 and the 7950, is much more complex and larger than its predecessor. This translates into a much higher power consumption.

The Radeon HD 7970 graphics card with a single GPU has a TDP of 300 watts. Do the math, and it's obvious that a card with two Tahiti chips will be very power-hungry and produce a lot of heat. Fortunately the target audience for these types of high-end dual-GPU cards isn't overly concerned about those aspects.

So now, more than a year after the introduction of the Radeon HD 7970, the dual-GPU version has arrived. AMD has not made a lot of noise for the Radeon HD 7990, the first time in years that's the case actually. The number of partners that are making 7990 cards is also quite limited. Aside from the ambitious Ares II from ASUS (which is in fact a type of 7990), you've got PowerColor, VTX3D and Club 3D. (The Ares II costs a whopping £1195, the PowerColor AX7990, £680 and VTX3D, £674)

It's not a cheap card with an average price of £779, but at least it's more affordable than the ASUS Ares II. The hardware for the Club 3D Radeon HD 7990 was developed by Tul, the parent company of PowerColor, and one of the subcontractors of Club 3D.

Club 3D makes no attempt to disguise this fact, and it's the reason why the three Radeon HD 7990 cards from PowerColor, VTX3D and Club 3D are identical in terms of hardware. Club 3D distinguishes itself by making its products widely available, and also by bundling lots of AAA video games. When you buy a Club 3D Radeon HD 7990 you also get Farcry 3, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, Dirt Showdown, Deus Ex and Nexuiz for free along with a 20 percent discount on Medal of Honor Warfighter. When you add up the price of all those games it's not an insignificant amount of money.

We're of course more interested in the hardware. The huge three-slot cooler stands out right-away, and it's equipped with three fans. Neither AMD or Club 3D has made the official TDP public, but since the single-GPU version needs 300 watts, adding a second Tahiti chip will require some significant cooling. When you open up the cooler, you'll see two thick, copper baseplates with a total of 10 heatpipes that transfer heat to the large aluminium heatsink.

Below the cooler you can see the two Tahiti chips, each with 3 GB GDDR5 video memory. That gives you a total of 6GB, but since the Crossfire configuration requires the data to be duplicated in the dedicated memory of both GPUs you effectively have 3GB. The standard clock frequency is 900MHz, and with the red button on the front that can be increased to 925MHz. The memory has a standard speed of 1375MHz, which is the same as on the original Radeon HD 7970. It's lower than the more recent 7970 GHz Edition, where the GPU runs at 1000MHz with a turbo of 1050MHz and the memory at 1500MHz.

Three 8-pin PEG connectors supply the power. A single 8-pin connector can supply 150 watts, so together with the 75 watts from the PCI-Express slot, the card can use a maximum of 525 watts. Connectors consist of two DVI, one HDMI and two DisplayPorts. That means you can connect three monitors on a single card, but not six. And of course this card is very well-suited for EyeFinity. The card also features a Crossfire connector, so you can combine two Radeon HD 7990s. To find out how the Club 3D Radeon HD 7990 compares to Nvidia’s dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690 and how well it does in EyeFinity, read the full review on Hardware.Info.

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