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AMD Radeon HD 6990 Performance Analysis

In yet another battle of GPUs, the red camp has sent their formidable Radeon HD 6990 to compete against NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590. Focusing on the performance of HD 6990, VR-Zone puts the HD 6990 up against a GTX 590 and a full-fledged GTX 580 SLI setup.  Your question of "which is really the best graphics card in the world" will be answered in this review. Lastly, the AMD Radeon HD 6990 card itself is not spared as we bring its core and memory speeds way beyond factory defaults. Read on for more!


The Radeon HD 6990 is the best graphics card offering from AMD at present. Being an innovator for bringing dual GPU graphic cards into the market, AMD knows what are the design limitations of a dual GPU graphics card. The HD 6990 brings out the best of AMD engineering by leveraging on the team's experience. Antilles is hence born.

Using two Cayman XT cores – the ones used for the Radeon HD 6970, the Radeon HD 6990 however has a lower clocked core at 830MHz, compared to 880MHz. Memory wise, 2GB of GDDR5 memory is dedicated to each core, making it a total of 4GB memory per card. Clocked at 1250MHz, the memory frequency is actually lowered down from the HD 6970's 1375MHz.

  NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 AMD Radeon HD 6970 AMD Radeon HD 6990
CUDA Cores / Stream Processors 512 1024(512 x 2) 1536 1408
Texture Units 64 128 (64 x 2) 96 88
ROPs 48 96 (48 x 2 ) 32 32
Core Clock 772MHz 607MHz 880MHz 830MHz
Shader Clock 1544MHz 1215MHz 880MHz 830MHz
Memory Clock 4008MHz 3414MHz 5500MHz 5000MHz
Memory Configuration 1536MB GDDR5, 384-bit 3072MB GDDR5, 384-bit 2048MB GDDR5, 256-bit 4096MB GDDR5, 256-bit
Transistor Count 3 billion 6 billion 2.64 billion 5.28 billion
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
TDP 244W 365W 250W 375W


I like to call this the magic switch. By switching from factory default '1' position to '2' , the HD 6990 can instantly transform into a 'Radeon HD6970 X2' with this little push!



Test setup



Our Intel Sandy Bridge platform test bed consists of the following parts:

  • Intel Core i7-2600K Processor, at 4.42GHz (100.5 x 44)
  • Noctua NH-D14
  • ASUS Sabertooth P67 (Intel P67 Express)
  • G.Skill RipjawsX F3-12800CL7D-4GBXM
  • Cooler Master Silent Pro M1000 PSU
  • Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB SATA HDD
  • Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP LCD
  • Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
  • ASUS EAH6990/3DI4S/4GD5 (AMD Radeon HD 6990)
  • AMD Catalyst 10.4 WHQL Preview
  • NVIDIA Release 266.58 WHQL
  • NVIDIA Release 267.91


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