|PowerColor AX6990 4GBD5-M4D Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Bruce Normann|
|Sunday, 20 March 2011|
Page 18 of 19
AMD Radeon HD 6990 Final Thoughts
Approximately four months after the release of the first Radeon HD 6000 series card, the ultimate expression of AMD's Southern Islands family arrives. The death-defying balancing act on display here between processing power and electrical power reminds us that real products have to live within real physical limits. Our collective experience, of overclocking the donuts out of various CPUs and GPUs through the years, has taught us a false lesson: that limits are arbitrary. It would be unfair to blame the Radeon HD 6990 for bringing us back to reality, even though it is supposed to be a 'halo product' that's supposed to engender fantasy.
That reality takes the form of a small yellow sticker and a strict clause in the warranty language that basically says, "You cook it, you bought it." At first blush, this looks like a drastic step, meant to rebuff the rights of overclocking tyros around the globe. The reality is (there's that !@#$ word again...) that stuffing all those transistors into the predefined volume of a two-slot video card creates the potential for electrical overload. Keeping the BIOS switch in the shipping position prevents that from occurring; moving it over to the bad boy mode provides you the opportunity to exercise restraint or go for broke. Literally, $700 worth of broke! If you want to blame someone or something, take it out on the fact that the HD 6990 sticks to an arbitrary standard that says "Graphics cards should not occupy any more than two adjacent slots." That's just a gentlemen's agreement, not a Standard. So I have to ask, why are we playing by the rules here?
It's only a matter of time before some water cooling blocks are available, but that still doesn't solve the electrical power problem. As crazy as it seems, I think this card would have really benefitted from a third 8-pin power connector. Yes, it violates the norm, but all progress does. George Bernard Shaw puts it this way, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
How about it, AIB partners? Who's going to be the first to throw the rule book out the window?