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Written by Olin Coles   
Monday, 07 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
AMD Radeon HD 6990 Antilles Video Card
Radeon HD 6990 Appearance
Antilles Detailed Features
Antilles Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Crysis Warhead
DX11: 3DMark11
DX11: Aliens vs Predator
DX11: Battlefield Bad Company 2
DX11: BattleForge
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: Metro 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
Overclocking and Temperatures
VGA Power Consumption
Radeon HD 6990 Conclusion

AMD Radeon HD 6990 Antilles Review

Manufacturer: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Product Name: Radeon HD 6990
Suggested Tested: $699 MSRP

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by AMD.

Featuring dual 1536-Core Cayman GPUs, AMD's Radeon HD 6990 Antilles graphics card redefines the high-end.

When it comes to computer hardware there's something for everyone, and this rings especially true for graphics cards. If you're on a tight budget, but still like to point and shoot your way through levels, there are plenty of affordable entry-level products that can satisfy your needs. But if you're an enthusiast gamer who demands only the highest level of performance that far surpasses mainstream standards, then it's your lucky day, because manufacturers are making great leaps with every new generation of computer components. Since both ends of the user spectrum clearly exist, then so must there also be products to support them - regardless of how extreme they appear. Enter the AMD Radeon HD 6990, code named Antilles.

Hardware enthusiasts may recall that AMD's Cayman GPU, introduced with the Radeon HD 6970 video card, that features two graphics engines with an asynchronous dispatch and off-chip geometry buffering to 96 tessellation units using a new VLIW4 shader core architecture. Now multiply all of that times two, and you've got the Radeon HD 6990. Equipped with a 4GB GDDR5 256-bit video frame buffer, each of the Cayman GPUs offers 24 SIMD engines and 96 Texture Units for 192 total units and a combined stream processor count of 3072. Additionally, the AMD Radeon HD 6990 utilizes several new MSAA modes including Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA).

When only the very best will do, only the AMD Radeon HD 6990 video card will do it for you. Engineered as a 450W-capable dual-GPU graphics card with Volterra regulators, Antilles delivers 169.0 Gtex/s and 5.40 TFLOPs by using two Cayman GPUs clocked at up to 880MHz. For those keeping score, that's exactly twice the performance of two AMD Radeon HD 6970 video cards in a lossless CrossFire-X set, and all while maintaining a profile size identical to the Radeon HD 5970. Despite this level of output, AMD PowerTune technology manages consumption down to 350W on this flagship model.

AMD-Radeon-HD-6990-Open-Case.jpg

The AMD Radeon HD 6990 takes advantage of improved anti-aliasing features to enhance DirectX 11 effects and deliver the most realistic gaming experience possible. When it comes down to producing top-end frame rates, the Radeon HD 6990 is unrivaled at helping gamers build a killstreak. AMD set out to design the fastest graphics card possible, and they accomplished this with the Radeon HD 6990, building a premium product only the most affluent enthusiast gamers will enjoy. While the Radeon HD 6990 accomplishes the extraordinary, AMD managed to also add accelerated multimedia playback and transcoding, AMD HD3D stereoscopic technology, and support for the 3D Blu-ray multi-view CODEC (MVC).

AMD-Radeon-HD-6990-Front-Top.jpg

For those who have been patiently waiting for news on ATI Stream technology, it's been re-tasked as AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing, or APP technology. AMD Eye-Definition represents their commitment to PC gamers, PC game developers, and the PC gaming industry. Through Eye-Definition AMD delivers their "Gamers Manifesto", which they assert will enable the best experience possible regardless of hardware manufacturer. In this article Benchmark Reviews tests graphical frame rate performance with the AMD Radeon HD 6990 by using the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. Some favorites using older DirectX technology such as Crysis Warhead, PCMark Vantage, and Mafia II are included, in addition to DX11 titles such as 3dMark11, Aliens vs Predator, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark.



 

Comments 

 
# Power requirementsBanzai 2011-03-08 05:45
Power seems to be respectable compared to other cards, it really manages itsel properly while giving good perfomance. Although it lost at Metro against ali'd rigs, the 6990 seems to do well.
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6990 Antilles Video CardAdam 2011-03-08 08:54
AMD's got some nice ideas there, but it's not exactly the most impressive card ever due to the numerous drawbacks.

The dual-bios switch is a pretty awesome idea even if the actual overclocking potential of the 6990 was a huge 'meh'.

I suppose these cards are never intended to be particularly sensible though and are aimed are that certain type of gamer (more money then sense, possibly).
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# CrossFire in the modern worldBruceBruce 2011-03-08 09:12
There has been a dearth of mainstream motherboards with dual 16x PCI-Express connections lately. My 1156/i5 combo is a very cost-effective platform for gaming, but with high end cards, the 8X PCI-E connectivity starts to hit bandwidth limits. This card, as over-the-top as it may seem, is an excellent way to get the full performance of two 6970-class GPUs with one slot.

I know it seems ironic to talk about budget when we're discussing a $700 video card, but if I take the money I would have spent on an X58/LGA1366 motherboard and a top-of-the-heap CPU and put it towards the video card, I think it's a better bang for the $$$$.
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# RE: CrossFire in the modern worldAdam 2011-03-08 09:49
I can see where you're coming from, but I dont think 1366 is expensive enough to justify buying the 6990 over a cheaper crossfire/Sli setup which will have comparable performance.

Another problem is, whilst high end cards are great fun and all that, they're currently redundant. Current PC games are becoming so heavily gimped by the console market that we're not seeing anything worth buying these parts for.
Having said that I've not played Crysis 2 yet, but it's a console port. Bleh.
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# Not.Suhaib 2011-03-08 10:21
Crysis 2 isn't a console port, it was developed for PC from scratch, and it will support DX11 in the final release.
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# RE: Not.MikeFunktastic 2011-03-09 04:51
Suhaib is correct. I don't know where people are getting their news from. Just because it's going to consoles doesn't mean it was PORTED from consoles. Crytek has stated multiple times that CryEngine3 was developed for the PC first, ported to consoles second.
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# RE: Not.RagingShadow07 2011-03-09 08:05
Have you played the multiplayer demo? As soon as you start up the game, you're greeted by a "PRESS START TO CONTINUE" screen regardless of if you're on keyboard/mouse or controller (or were, I think they patched it). They pulled an Infinity Ward on Crysis 2. There's even an aim assistance option in the settings menu. If not for console, it was definitely designed for the controller, which, to me, is still showing how little most devs care about PC now.
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# RE: RE: Not.Suhaib 2011-03-10 00:52
Is that your logic? have you ever considered people who prefer controllers in the PC consumer base?
RagingShadow, I suggest you wait until the game is released.
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# RE: RE: RE: Not.Adam 2011-03-10 07:00
Do you honestly think that enough people use controllers for FPS's on the PC to justify them putting the default message as "press start to continue"? Really?
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# What did you expect?Olle P 2011-03-09 02:19
In terms of overclocking I don't expect a 450W card to reach very high until some more efficient form of cooling is applied.

In this case I don't count the "What the lawyers make us say" setting at 830MHz 1.12V as the reference setting, but just a safe adaptation to get the card within the PCIe standards.

880MHz and 1.175V is the reference speed, and from there the card can be overclocked a bit. How much past 900MHz is still anybody's guess though...
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# rip offtechman 2011-03-08 22:01
What a rip off.699.00 thats a hundred over the hd 5970 when it was released.The only reason it is this high, is the fact that there is no competitive card out there.An extra 2 gigs doesn't cost a hundred dollars.
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# The price is right.Olle P 2011-03-09 02:22
The $700 is the price of a pair of 6970, which is essentially the equivalent but require more space, two more power cables and an extra PCIe slot.
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# RE: The price is right.David Ramsey 2011-03-09 10:01
...and is faster, quieter, and gives you the option of starting with one 6970 and upgrading later. Aside from "fastest single graphics card" bragging rights, I really don't see the point to a card like this.
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# Future proofMichael 2011-12-03 03:45
Its a card that will last a long time as a high end graphics card. Its a future proof card.
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# Right PriceComputer Support 2011-03-09 23:38
Yes it is very expensive product
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# RE: AMD Radeon HD 6990 Antilles Video CardSuhaib 2011-03-10 09:11
They fixed it with a patch, and they've also talked about crysis 2 shipping with DX9, and being patched later to DX11.

And almost all my friends and I use controllers when we feel like it.
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# DnaAngelDnaAngel 2011-03-19 20:34
Adam makes a very Valid point with the Push start to continue message. Cytek can say this and say that but the game is obviously geared towards the Console market. As far as the card goes, weve seen this power struggle between Nvidia and Ati for years now. It is funny that Nvidia top 2 cards ATM have to be in SLI'd just to keep up. but soon as Nvidias 6xx series comes out then yep you guessed it balls back in Nvidia court again until Ati releases their 7xxx series. the pattern continues on. But not one person here can disagree that the PC gaming world IS being hindered one way shape or form of the badly aged current gen Console market.And until Microsoft/Sony and yes Nintendo release their next gen consoles PC gaming will be at a Tech crunch. and really until then these type are cards ARE redundant, with only a FPS gain, but a decent CPU and Crossfire/SLI setup is more then enough for even the newest of games at eye candy Resolution/Settings.
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# BenchmarksMarko 2011-07-12 14:11
One thing that is good to know though, ONE 6990 os almost as good as TWO GTX580's. Wow, nVidia fanboys are gonna rage at this.
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