Subject: Graphics Cards | December 4, 2012 - 04:41 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: venus, Sea Islands, radeon hd 8990, hd 8990, dual gpu, 28nm
Earlier this year rumored specifications for AMD’s upcoming HD 8000-series graphics cards leaked to the Internet. Details on the 8800 and 8900 series cards have since been revealed along with rumored/estimated clock speeds and pricing. One card that has, until now, remained an unknown is the dual-GPU Radeon HD 8990, however.
The existence of a dual GPU Sea Islands card has been especially suspect as a result of the ever-elusive Radeon 7990 and its almost-certain cancellation in an official AMD-branded form. On the other hand, a road map leaked by BitDreams.se and discovered by Maximum PC seems to suggest that an HD 8990 is at least being considered.
The Radeon HD 8990 follows the dual GPU traditions of its predecessors by combining two 8970 GPUs onto a single PCB. That means, if the previously leaked 8970 specifications hold true, the 8990 graphics card will have 5,120 stream processors, 320 texture units, 96 ROPs, and a 384-bit memory bus for each GPU. The card will have between 6 and 12GB of GDDR5 memory (3GB-6GB per GPU). The dual GPU card will have a maximum TDP of 375W and will come with slightly lower GPU core and memory clockspeeds compared to two individual 8970 cards. The GPU will be clocked at 950MHz and the memory will be clocked at 1250MHz. The single GPU Radeon 8970 will come clocked at 1050MHz core and 1500MHz memory, however.
|Radeon HD 7870||Radeon HD 8870||Radeon 7950||Radeon 8950||Radeon HD 7970||Radeon HD 8970||Radeon HD 7990||Radeon HD 8990|
|Die Size||212mm^2||270mm^2||365mm^2||~400mm^2||365mm^2||~ 400mm^2||365mm^2 x2||~400mm^2 x2|
|TMUs||80||112||112||144||128||160||128 x 2||160 x 2|
|ROPs||32||32||32||32||32||48||32 x 2||48 x 2|
|Memory Interface||256-bit||256-bit||384-bit||384-bit||384-bit||384-bit||384-bit x2||384-bit x 2|
|Bandwidth||153.6 GB/s||192 GB/s||240 GB/s||322 GB/s||288 GB/s||322 GB/s||288 GB/s x 2||600 GB/s (total)|
The dual gpu 8990 card, as well as the rest of the 8000 series will support DirectX 11, Shader Model 5.0, and OpenGL 4.2. Bit Dreams lists the maximum single and double precision performance at 10.2 and 3 TFLOPS respectively, making this a rather powerful card that is not quite the same performance as two 8970s but will take up less space. Interestingly, the card would be noticeably faster than AMD’s FirePro S10000 card (essentially two 7950 gpus) at 1.48 TF double precision and 5.91 TF single precision. That would suggest that Venus is much more efficient than Tahiti, if the numbers turn out to be true.
The card will allegedly be released sometime in the second quarter of 2013 (Q2’13). Pricing is likely to be around $1,000 but so far pricing information has not leaked. Even taking these numbers with a spoon of salt, a dual GPU 8000 series card is sure to be welcome by enthusiasts. Here’s hoping it ends up being released (unlike the 7990) and is as fast as it’s rumored to be!
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2012 - 06:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: powercolor, gpu, dual gpu, amd, 7990
Towards the end of August, a new dual GPU graphics card from PowerColor was fully detailed. The dual GPU Devil 13 graphics card combined two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs onto a single PCB with factory overclocks and a custom cooler. The 6GB (3GB per GPU) HD 7990 6GB Devil 13 is an awesome card, but comes with a hefty $999 price tag.
This month, PowerColor has taken the wraps off of a (slightly) cheaper 7990 graphics card that is not clocked as high but uses a similar custom cooler as the Devil 13. It will allegedly be priced at around $900 USD.
The new PowerColor HD7990 (sans Devil 13 branding) features two HD7970 Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs clocked at 900 MHz by default or 925 MHz when using the factory overclocked BIOS. (You can switch between the two modes by using the Dual BIOS switch.) As a point of comparison, standard Radeon 7970s have a reference clockspeed of 925 MHz, and PowerColor’s own HD 7990 Devil 13 is clocked at either 925 MHz or 1 GHz depending on BIOS switch position. PowerColor is likely binning 7970 GPUs that don’t quite make the cut as Devil 13 models for this new dual gpu 7990 graphics card with lower clockspeeds.
Fortunately, the memory clockspeed has not been downclocked on the new HD 7990. Each GPU has 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus, and the memory is clocked at 1375 MHz.
Also good news is that the standard PowerColor 7990 appears to use the same custom cooler as the Devil 13 – but with an all-black design rather than the red and black color scheme. That includes a triple slot design, numerous heatpipes and fins, and two 92mm fans on either side of an 80mm fan.
The graphics card measures 315mm x 140mm x 60mm and features two DVI, one HDMI, and two min-DisplayPort video outputs. It has the same 850W minimum system power requirement as the Devil 13, and is powered by three 8 pin PCI-E power connectors in addition to power from the PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot.
Although an interesting card that is sure to attract enthusiasts, it lends credence to the idea that AMD is not going to release its own reference HD 7990 after all. At this point, so long as your case and motherboard permit, it would likely best to go for two individual ~$400 Radeon 7970 GHz Edition cards in a CrossFire configuration. PowerColor does seem to have you covered if that’s not an option for you though there is no word on exactly when this graphics card will be available – or what the final pricing will be.
Read more about AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture at PC Perspective.
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 28, 2012 - 07:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: triple fan, nvidia, mars 3, gtx 680, dual gpu, custom cooler, asus
If rumors hold true, NVIDIA’s GTX 690 will soon be joined by a custom dual GTX 680 card from ASUS. First shown off at Computex, the Mars III combines two GTX 680 graphics chips, 8GB RAM, and a massive triple fan cooler. Expect it to cost quite a bit but offer up some impressive performance numbers.
ASUS has a long history of taking high-end graphics chips to the extreme, even going so far as to put more than one graphics processor on the same PCB. The third iteration of its custom dual GPU "MARS" series graphics cards, the MARS III was first shown off at Computex. At the time, the company indicated that the dual NVIDIA GPU card was not quite ready for final release as the GPU cooling solution and PCB in particular required further tweaking.
Going by the recently leaked photos, ASUS has been hard at work refining the custom design, and it certainly looks ready for prime time. The MARS III takes two Kepler architecture-based GTX 680 GPUs, beefed up power phases, and a total of 32 RAM chips (8 per GPU) for 8GB of total RAM, and places it on a single black PCB. Further, the two GTX 680 GPUs are configured in SLI using a PLX PEX8747 bridge chip. While it does not have more CUDA cores than the NVIDIA reference GTX 690 (which we recently reviewed), it should have a bit more overclocking headroom in addition to the extra 4GB of GDDR5 memory. I would expect that it will cost more than the GTX 690 as a result of its custom design and extra memory, but so far there is no word on what that price might be.
Needless to say, all that hardware is going to require a lot of power. Internally, each GPU will be fed electricity using an 8+2 power phase. Further, the board continues to feature the three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors which allows the dual-GPU graphics card to draw up to 525 Watts of power. While the color of the cooler has been changed from the model seen at Computex to a red and black color scheme, the red overclocking button is still there on the side of the card. It will spin the fans up to 100% to allow you to push the NVIDIA GPUs as far as possible.
Video outputs include three DVI and a single mini-DisplayPort connector for NVIDIA Surround gaming and a fourth accessory monitor.
The dual GTX 680 graphics card at Computex.
Sources speaking with Videocardz have confirmed that the card is nearly ready for retail availability, and is only waiting NVIDIA’s go ahead.
Now that the rumored 7990 is on the way (or at least a custom version of the 7990), I would bet that we will be seeing this custom ASUS card sooner rather than later – and that NVIDIA’s “okay” to unleash this beastly graphics card should not be difficult to get.
[Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to clean the drool off of my desk.]
Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2012 - 11:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: radeon hd 7990, hd 7990, graphics card, dual gpu, amd
Today, more rumors emerged on the ever elusive dual-GPU AMD graphics card. Reportedly, graphics card vendor PowerColor will be one of the Add In Board (AIB) partners producing the Radeon HD 7990. Previous rumors suggested that the HD 7990 would be comprised of two Radeon HD 7970 GPUs and it would be available in late August 2012. While there is no confirmation on the release date, the PowerColor 7990 "Devil 13" graphics card is using two 7970 GPUs in CrossFire on a single PCB.
Back in July, some details emerged on the 7990 that the PowerColor card rumors do not seem to disprove. Some highlights from the rumor mill so far include:
- The 7990 will use two 7970 Tahiti XT GPUs connected by a PLX chip.
- 6GB of GDDR5 memory (3GB per GPU)
- 4,096 stream processors, 64 ROP units
- (at least) a dual slot design with three fan cooler
- Four mini DisplayPorts and two Dual Link DVI video outputs
- Four 6-pin PCI-E power connectors
The earlier post did also mention that the default clock speed would be 850 MHz, but that does not seem to be the case with the PowerColor model. There may still be Radeon HD 7990 cards that come clocked at that speed, however.
As for the PowerColor model specifically, the new rumors suggest that it will be part of a limited run with a total of 500 cards. Coming in a red and black design, the three slot graphics card will use two 7970 GPUs clocked at 925 MHz in CrossFire. While there is no shot of the other side of the board to see how many PCI-E connectors it has, it will reportedly draw as much as 400 Watts. Using a BIOS switch, you will be able to choose between default and factory overclocked clockspeeds for both the GPU and GDDR5 memory.
Videocardz managed to unearth a photo of the elusive dual GPU AMD card.
When in its default mode, the card will run the GPU at 925 MHz and the memory at 5500 MHz (effective), which is the same as the Radeon HD 7970 single GPU graphics card. After flipping the BIOS switch, the card will use overclocked speeds of 1000 MHz for the GPU and 5500 MHz for the memory (so the GPU is the only part getting overclocked, according to the rumors).
According to Videocardz, the PowerColor 7990 has been refined somewhat compared to a showing at Computex earlier this year. From the photos comparison, it looks as though the company has changed out the red PCI back plate for a standard silver color rather than the custom red version. Also, the three fans are slightly different models. It appears as though the card will provide two DVI outputs as well as a full-size HDMI and two mini DisplayPort outputs. The site claims that AMD will not be releasing any reference version and has given its partners free reign to engineer and design custom versions (perhaps we’ll see a massive 12GB version heh).
While there is no word on when this card will be released, according to sources speaking with Hardware Canucks, the Powercolor 7990 “Devil 13” will cost between $899 and $999 in the US. While not the card that many were likely hoping for (because of the price), it may well be the best that users hoping for a dual Graphics Core Next card will be able to get–assuming you can get your hands on one of 500 available cards. NVIDIA has had its own dual GPU GTX 690 on the market for some time now, and it is looking more and more likely that AMD is not going to have an answer any time soon in any big way (outside of limited edition runs from partners that design their own custom versions), and that’s unfortunate.
I speculated that users would be better off with two single Radeon 7970s in CrossFire, and I still believe that is likely the best option right now. Especially if you opt for the 7950 with PowerTune boost (which we recently reviewed) or 7970 GHz Edition cards with boost as it is looking like the 7990 will not have that functionality.
What do you think though, are you still holding out for the ever-elusive 7990?
You can find more coverage of the AMD Radeon HD 7990 by following the 7990 tag!
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 25, 2012 - 11:56 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: radeon hd 7990, GCN, dual gpu, amd, 7990
The long-awaited dual GPU Graphics Core Next architecture Radeon HD 7990 has missed its original Computex reveal and will likely miss the July release suggested by previous rumors. Interestingly, VR-Zone China reportedly has some updated information on specifications and release date.
The 7970. Expect the 7990 to have a much larger PCB and heatsink!
The dual GPU 7990 will allegedly not be released until at least late August 2012. Further, it will be powered by four six-pin PCI-E power connectors, and will have 6GB of GDDR5 memory (total, 3GB per GPU). Connecting the two 7970 Tahiti XT GPU cores in CrossFire will be a PLX chip – similar to that found in the dual GPU NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card. As far as video outputs, you can expect four mini-DisplayPorts and two dual-link DVI connectors.
Additionally, previous rumors suggested that the GPU cores would be clocked at 850 MHz, but that may not be the case now that AMD is seeing much better binning with its GHz Edition chips. Also unclear is whether or not the Radeon HD 7990 will have any sort of Powertune with Turbo boost technology like the 7970 GHz Edition. Being based on two 7970 GPU cores, you can look forward to 4,096 stream processors, 64 ROP units, and a dual slot design with three fans providing cooling for the heatsink.
Right now, AMD does not have an answer to the NVIDIA GTX 690 which has been on the market for a while. At this point, you may be better off getting two 7970 GHz Edition graphics cards and putting them in CrossFire. Granted, they are going to take up more space in your case but you can get them today, they will have GPU boost, and will likely cost less to boot. With that said, I do understand the allure of a dual GPU AMD card based on GCN and hope to see it soon.
Stay tuned for more Radeon 7990 coverage as it arrives.
Subject: Motherboards | June 6, 2012 - 08:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: zeus, wolverine, power phase, motherboard, dual gpu, concept, computex, asus
ASUS has a history of showing off crazy high-end concept motherboards that are not likely to come to market but may help influence future motherboard products by getting the creative sparks of innovation flowing in engineers’ minds.
At this year’s Computex 2012, Asus showed off two concept motherboards that it is calling Zeus and Wolverine. While Zeus tackles Thunderbolt and integrated GPUs, Wolverine approaches the problem of getting clean power to the CPU by pushing the limits of the number of power phases that can be integrated into ATX-sized motherboards.
You will notice on the Zeus motherboard that the bottom of the board holds a bank of two 8 pin and two six pin power connectors. The two eight pin connectors are labeled VGA 1 and VGA 2 while the two six pin connectors are labeled VGA 3 and VGA 4 respectively. At first this seems like a regular X79 chipset (socket 2011) based motherboard with giant heatsinks for overclockers. After doing a double take (at least I did), you will notice that the board has no PCI-E connectors!
Instead, the board has a large heatsink, and under that heatsink are two GPUs in CrossFire configuration. Tech Power Up believes that the GPUs being used are two AMD 7800 “Pitcairn” series mobile graphics cards in CrossFire configuration. While the desktop variants are fairly low power, they would need active cooling or a larger heatsink, which I think is what lead them to consider that ASUS may be using mobile-class cards. Reportedly, ASUS did not create this board to suggest GPU integration, but to show off dual Thunderbolt ports on an X79 motherboard.
Connectivity on the board includes a socket 2011 CPU, eight DDR3 DIMM slots, ten SATA connectors, (and on the rear IO panel) a WiFi radio, eight USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, Gigabit LAN, 7.1 channel analog audio output, optical audio output, HDMI output, DisplayPort output, and two eSATA ports.
As far as the dual GPU integration goes, however... I don’t expect we’ll be seeing a move in the industry like this any time soon, at least not on high-end Enthusiast boards (though I could see an argument for small form factor (SFF) budget gaming systems from OEMs). Dedicated graphics card technology moves at such a rapid pace compared to motherboards that it is just not feasible to market a feature like this to enthusiasts. While they may keep the same motherboard for years, those same users will likely upgrade their graphics cards at least once to stay current. Further, with the cost of these high-end motherboards already approaching exorbitant, adding integrated GPUs that don’t mesh well with the purpose of a high end system pushes the cost higher and demand to a point that these boards just don’t seem realistic.
While Zeus was more of a powerhouse with a twist (albeit one that isn’t really feasible to market), the other motherboard – Wolverine – is a “because we can” board but one that could have an impact on the industry today. ASUS has taken its Digi+ digital power to the extreme by packing as many power phases as it could into an ATX form factor motherboard. In total, they managed to place 40 power phases onto the PCB – notice how the CPU socket had to be shifted to the right to make room!
Other features on the board include eight SATA connectors, four DIMM slots, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots, LGA 1155 socket, and three PCI 3.0 x1 slots. On the rear the board features four USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, a WiFi radio, Gigabit LAN, BIOS buttons, optical audio output, 7.1 channel analog audio output, and what looks like two eSATA ports.
Granted, I’m not suggesting that we will be seeing motherboards coming out with 40+ power phases anytime soon. I can see this influencing future designs, however. Even heavy overclockers (water and air cooling levels) don’t really /need/ 40 power phases but we could start seeing vendors put out boards with half of that and still have it be a big improvement.
What do you think of the two new ASUS concept motherboards? You can see more images of the boards over at AnandTech's gallery. Do you think they are on the right track? If not what areas do you think motherboard manufacturers need to improve?