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Written by Bruce Normann   
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
PowerColor AX6990 4GBD5-M4D Video Card
Closer Look: PowerColor Radeon HD 6990
PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 Detailed Features
Features and Specifications
Video Card Testing Methodology
DX10: 3DMark Vantage
DX10: Just Cause 2
DX9 SSAO: Mafia II
DX11: Aliens vs. Predator
DX11: Battlefield: Bad Company 2
DX11: DiRT-2 Demo
DX11: H.A.W.X. 2
DX11: Lost Planet 2
DX11: METRO 2033
DX11: Unigine Heaven 2.1
PowerColor HD 6990 Temperatures
Overclocking
AMD Radeon HD 6990 Final Thoughts
PowerColor Radeon HD 6990 Conclusion

AMD Radeon HD 6990 GPU Features

AMD-Radeon-Graphics-Logo-250px.jpg

AMD Radeon HD 6990 GPU Feature Summary:

  • High Speed 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface
  • PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
  • "Eye-Definition" graphics
    • New and advanced architecture
    • Full DirectX 11 support
    • Scalable geometry processing technology
    • Shader Model 5.0
    • DirectCompute 11
    • Dual advanced programmable hardware tessellation units
    • Accelerated multi-threading
    • HDR texture compression
    • Order-independent transparency
  • OpenGL 4.1 support
  • Image quality enhancement technology
    • Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
    • Adaptive anti-aliasing
    • Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA)
    • Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA)
    • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
    • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology1
    • Native support for up to 6 simultaneous displays
    • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
    • Display grouping
      • Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
  • AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration2
    • AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology
      • OpenCL 1.1 Support
      • DirectCompute 11
      • Double Precision Floating Point
      • Accelerated video encoding, transcoding, and upscaling
    • UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator
      • MPEG-4 AVC/H.264
      • VC-1
      • MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
      • Multi-View Codec (MVC)
      • MPEG-4 part 2 (DivX, Xvid)
      • Adobe Flash
    • Enhanced Video Quality features
      • Advanced post-processing and scaling
      • Dynamic contrast enhancement and color correction
      • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
      • Independent video gamma control
      • Dynamic video range control
    • Dual-stream HD (1080p) playback support
    • DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
  • AMD HD3D technology
    • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
    • Blu-ray 3D support
    • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
    • 3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
  • AMD CrossFireXTM multi-GPU technology6
    • Dual, triple or quad-GPU scaling
  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
    • DisplayPort 1.2
      • Max resolution: 2560x1600 per display
      • Multi-Stream Transport
      • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth
      • High bit-rate audio
    • HDMI 1.4a with Stereoscopic 3D Frame Packing Format, Deep Color, xvYCC wide gamut support, and high bit-rate audio
      • Max resolution: 1920x1200
    • Dual-link DVI with HDCP
      • Max resolution: 2560x160
  • Integrated HD audio controller
    • Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
    • Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
  • AMD PowerPlayTM power management technology3
    • AMD PowerTune technology
      • Intelligent power management hardware
    • Dynamic power management with low power idle state
    • Ultra-low power state support for multi-GPU configurations
  • AMD CatalystTM graphics and HD video configuration software
    • Software support for Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP
    • AMD CatalystTM Control Center - AMD CatalystTM software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing features of AMD Radeon products.
    • Unified Graphics display driver - AMD CatalystTM software enabling other PC programs and devices to use advanced graphics, video, and features of AMD RadeonTM products.

Now, here are the usual disclaimers:

2010 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, Catalyst, CrossFireX, PowerPlay, Radeon and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista, and DirectX are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other jurisdictions. PCI Express is a registered trademark of PCI-SIG. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Additional hardware (e.g. Blu-ray drive, HD or 10-bit monitor, TV tuner) and/or software (e.g. multimedia applications) are required for the full enablement of some features. Not all features may be supported on all components or systems - check with your component or system manufacturer for specific model capabilities and supported technologies.

  1. AMD Eyefinity technology works with games that support non-standard aspect ratios, which is required for panning across multiple displays. To enable more than two displays, additional panels with native DisplayPortTM connectors, and/or DisplayPortTM compliant active adapters to convert your monitor's native input to your cards DisplayPortTM or Mini-DisplayPortTM connector(s), are required. SLS ("Single Large Surface") functionality requires an identical display resolution on all configured displays.
  2. AMD EyeSpeed is a set of technologies designed to improve video quality and enhance application performance. Full enablement of some features requires support for AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology and/or AMD's Universal Video Decoder (UVD).
  3. AMD PowerPlayTM and AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) are technology platforms that include a broad set of capabilities offered by certain AMD RadeonTM HD GPUs. Not all products have all features and full enablement of some capabilities and may require complementary products.
  4. Requires application support for AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology. AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing technology works with applications designed to take advantage of its GPU acceleration capabilities.
  5. AMD HD3D is a technology designed to enable stereoscopic 3D support in games, movies and/or photos. Requires 3D stereo drivers, glasses, and display.
  6. AMD CrossFireXTM technology requires an AMD CrossFireX Ready motherboard, an AMD CrossFireXTM Bridge Interconnect (for each additional graphics card) and may require a specialized power supply.

AMD Radeon HD 6990 GPU Detail Specifications

6990_gpu_closeup_1.jpg
The actual GPUs retain the standard part number of the Cayman (215-0807007), but AMD screens them from the regular production, looking for high clock speeds and low leakage. Those two things should go hand-in-hand, so I imagine the screening process is pretty straightforward. Let's look at the specs of two Cayman-class GPUs combined into one processing unit:

GPU Engine Specs for PowerColor Radeon HD 6990:

  • Fabrication Process: TSMC 40nm Bulk CMOS
  • Die Size: 778mm2
  • No. of Transistors: 5.28 Billion
  • SIMD Engines: 48
  • Stream Processors: 3072
  • Texture Units: 192
  • ROP Units: 64
  • Engine Clock Speed: 830 MHz
  • Texel Fill Rate (bilinear filtered): 159.4 Gigatexels/sec
  • Pixel Fill Rate: 53.1 Gigapixels/sec
  • Maximum board power: 375 Watts
  • Typical gaming power load: 350 Watts
  • Minimum board power: 37 Watts

Memory Specs:

  • Memory Clock: 1250 MHz - DDR
  • Memory Configurations: 2x 2 GB GDDR5
  • Memory Interface Width: 256-bit
  • Memory Data Rate: 5.0 Gbps/GPU
  • Memory Bandwidth: 160.0 GB/sec/GPU

Display Support:

  • Maximum DVI Resolution: 2560x1600
  • Maximum VGA Resolution: 2048x1536
  • Maximum Display Output: 4x - 1920x1200
  • Standard Display Connectors:
    • One Dual-Link DVI
    • Four Mini Display Port v1.2

Graphics Card Dimensions:

  • Height: 110 mm
  • Length: 305 mm
  • Width: 38 mm (Dual-slot)

Source: AMD.com and PowerColor.com

Now that we've had the grand tour of the PowerColor AX6990 4GBD5-M4D, inside and out, it's time to put it to the test. Well, Benchmark is our first name, so don't worry. There are a wide variety of tests waiting for you in the next several sections, including some new entries. Let's start off with a complete description of the Video Card Testing Methodology.



 

Comments 

 
# RE: PowerColor AX6990 4GBD5-M4D Video CardRobert17 2011-03-20 15:16
Well done Bruce. After all the effort, sacrifice, and no telling how many years of enthusiasm/experience you bring to the fray, I feel compelled to offer a sacrifice of my own. Since the card is out of warranty, I volunteer to take it off your hands for long term testing, say a couple of years, and deal with any and all warranty issues in your stead. I know, I know, my altruism knows no bounds.

(wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Good job.
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# Counter OfferBruceBruce 2011-03-20 16:19
Thanks for the props, Robert. As for your boundless altruism, I'll go you one better. You put gas in my wife's car for the time that you have the card, and it's a deal. [%^)
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# RE: Counter OfferRobert17 2011-03-20 16:22
Does she actually drive it?
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# Just got mineCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 06:43
I know this was written for the PowerColor card but I just received my HIS yesterday and installed it last night. I guess my bottle neck is my resolution and my monitor. I have a 28" 60Hz, 1920x1200 Hanns-G monitor with 3ms response. I just don't see the gain from this series and going back to my 2x 465 GTX Nvidias or my 2x 580 GTX's in SLI. For the ATI fans I also have 2x 5850's in X-Fire and they also run like beasts. Its kinda like having a Race Car that does 205+ MPH but because you live in a heavy school zone there are always police which limits your choice to either follow the law or get arrested (Kind of a bad analogy but I'm sure you get my drift).

So now I have spent $720 on this card, damn I need a new hobby, I've now spent over $2,500 on video cards in the last 6 months.
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# RE: Just got mineOlin Coles 2011-03-22 07:17
I'm curious what kind of games you're playing, because that could be an indication of your bottleneck. Anything will play Battlefield or Starcraft at high frame rates, but the same cannot be said for titles such as Metro 2033.
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# RE RE: Just got mineCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 07:33
I'm playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 and a few other FPS games. I figured that was my problem. And BFBC2 is more CPU intensive, I playing Battlefield on my AM3 1090T 6 Core which is more than enough for that game. I need to start HA (Hardware Anonymous) for geeks, but I'm afraid it would be a blood bath of which brand name was better, lol.
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# A thoughtCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 06:59
How come we are pitting this against the Nvidia 400 series and not a set of 560ti's in SLI or a a single 580 GTX? I notice that the scores are up against a set of 460 GTX's in SLI and a couple of 6xxx series in cross-fire mode but none of the big cards from Nvidia in SLI. Was this because of a price to power thresh hold? Or because of availability in cards? I know my 2 580 GTX's his the $1,100 mark when I purchased both so maybe it is unfair to compare it to a single card that is $400 less, but still it would be nice to have the scores posted for comparison for both sides of the fan base. Hands down though, I love this 6990, its fast, sweet, and feels like there is a lot of technology in it. Even Nvidia Fan Boys would be impressed with the sheer speed of this card.
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# RE: A thoughtOlin Coles 2011-03-22 07:18
If we had two of everything, we'd put them in SLI or CrossFire. Since one card arrives as another is ready to launch, we're restricted by deadlines and must move to the next project.
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# RE RE: A thoughtCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 07:34
Do you have to send back the cards your given? If not what do you do with them? Or do I dare ask, lol.
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# RE: RE RE: A thoughtOlin Coles 2011-03-22 07:37
Only a few products get returned, but it's a matter of finding time to review more than one product of the same series before the next arrives. These reviews take more time than you could imagine (I invite you to try sometime), and after one article in published a manufacturer usually has something new in our hands.
All of my video cards sit in a giant cardboard box, and get sold about 16 months after they've launched and gone EOL.
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# RE: RE RE: RE: A thoughtCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 08:43
I have done Bench Marking in the past with all new hardware, always trying to squeeze that extra 100 points out, lol, I don't do much anymore just because of the time it takes. I am a business owner and there are days where I start at 6am and get home at 10pm only to find that I have a 1/2 dozen build outs that are to be done by the next am, so I pull a 24hr shift that turns into a good 36hr shift, lol, did I mention I have a wife and 5 kids?...................so the drama continues in the life of "Im a computer engineer/network security consultant/Father/Guy who likes to game/Guy who races cars in the SCCA in the season which is here now/Guy who builds computers and provides support for local residents and business's and also donates computers to new local schools that burnt down 2 years, lol, yes I love life and all it offers..........did I mention I love Chinese food and hot pockets?
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# RE: RE: RE RE: RE: A thoughtOlin Coles 2011-03-22 08:48
Replace kids with friends, keep computer engineer/network security consultant/SCCA racer, and add target shooting enthusiast. Also replace Chinese food with Thai, and hot pockets for Wheat Thins, and we're on the same page.
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# Thanks BruceCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 07:15
Thanks Bruce for the in-depth article, it was very informative and I'm sure will encourage decisions on owning this card. Keep up the good work.
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# You're WelcomeBruceBruce 2011-03-22 20:34
Olin's spot on about product availability v. time to do the review. As Einstein said, "The reason time exists is so that everything doesn't all happen at once." My corollary to that is, "Space exists so that everything doesn't all happen at the same place."

So, check out Olin's HD 6990 reviews for comparisons to the GTX 570 and 580 cards. I was surprised that the 580 SLI didn't wipe the mat with the competitors. It was faster, but not in another league, you know....

I'm very curious to see how well NVIDIA manages the balance between electrical power, heat and processing power with their rumored dual-GPU card. At this stage of the game (40nm GPUs), there's only so much juice that you can pump through a single card and the winner is the one that's more efficient per watt. We'll have to wait another week or so, to see.

FWIW, I prefer Triscuits....LOL
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# RE: You're WelcomeOlin Coles 2011-03-22 20:37
Ah, Triscuits and wine cheese. One of my nostalgic favorites!

PS: Check back here at 6AM PST on 03/24 for "The Next Big Thing".
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# RE: RE: RE RE RE: RE: A thoughtCom-Tek Chris 2011-03-22 09:07
My wife pushes the wheat thins/Crackling Oat Bran Cereal.....a lot! And I just tried Thai recently, the curry wasn't to bad. My goal is to lose 30 pounds this year. I just got over the Flu and I have kept 12 pounds of that off, lol, its going to be a good year. Now if I can just get my hands a new AM3+ 8 Core, another 6990 for X-Crossfire Mode, now that would finish the year off with a POW!
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# PC Case SizeVaughn Janes 2011-03-22 16:49
What PC Case do you have in that picture, I hope its not really expensive. If it is do you think you could link a cheaper Pc case?
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# CM Storm SniperBruceBruce 2011-03-22 17:30
It's a CM Storm Sniper, which I reviewed here: benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=398&Itemid=61

It's not cheap, unfortunately, unless you find a deal. The good news is that there have been a ton of inexpensive gaming chassis reviewd on this this site recently, and I'd bet at least half of them would be able to handle this card, at 305 mm long.
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# Forgot to make it a replyVaughn Janes 2011-03-22 17:39
Ok Coolio, its way cheaper than the one I found (##shopbot.ca/pp-corsair-obsidian-800d-corsair-price-208226.html) Thanks.
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