Subject: Graphics Cards | August 7, 2013 - 05:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, hd 7990, never settle, never settle reloaded
An interesting bit of information just came to PC Perspective this morning and it revolves around the price of the AMD Radeon HD 7990. If the title didn't tip you off, we have found that Newegg.com is listing various HD 7990 dual-Tahiti graphics cards for $699!!
When the card launched in April, it had a retail price of $999 and since then had come down to the ~$880 range. Today though, AMD has definitely made an aggressive move against NVIDIA by lowering the price of its flagship product a full $300.
Not only that, but the Radeon HD 7990 6GB dual-GPU card will still include 8 free PC games, while supplies last. As part of the Never Settle series of bundles, the HD 7990 includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Deus Ex. If you don't own all or some of those titles, that makes the HD 7990 price drop even MORE appealing.
The Radeon HD 7990 hasn't been a card to avoid controversy. Our initial review of the card showed that CrossFire scaling was resulting in very poor perceived performance and our Frame Rating system was able to detail how and why very precisely. But on August 1st, AMD released a new Catalyst 13.8 driver that introduced a frame pacing fix for the problem for single monitor (non 4K) users.
I would highly encourage any user thinking about buying the Radeon HD 7990 to read over my Catalyst 13.8 updated article to see if the hardware makes sense for you. With a $699 price tag, compared to the $999 of the GeForce GTX 690 or GTX TITAN from NVIDIA, the product is spectacularly interesting as long as you don't use multi-display Eyefinity or one of the new 4K dual-head displays like the ASUS PQ321Q.
For gamers that are using a single panel though, hopefully at 2560x1440 or 2560x1600, this price drop might turn things around. Check out those new $699 prices at Newegg!
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 2, 2013 - 04:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: video, stutter, radeon, nvidia, hd 7990, frame rating, frame pacing, amd
Scott Wasson from The Tech Report and Ryan have been discussing the microstuttering present in Crossfire and while Ryan got his hands on the hardware to capture the raw output first, The Tech Report have been investigating this issue as in depth as Ryan and Ken have been. Their look at the new Catalyst and the effects of Frame Pacing show the same results as you saw yesterday in Ryan's article; for essentially no cost in performance you can get a much smoother experience when using a CrossFire system on a single display. In their article they have done a great job of splicing together videos of runthroughs of several games with the Frame Pacing disabled on one side and enabled on the other, allowing you to see with your own eyes the difference in game play, without having to have your own Crossfire system.
"Can a driver fix what ails the Radeon HD 7990? Will the new Catalysts magically transform this baby into the fastest graphics card on the planet? We go inside the second to find out."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta Frame Pacing CrossFire Driver @ [H]ard|OCP
- AMD Frame Pacing Explored: Catalyst 13.8 Brings Consistency to Crossfire @ AnandTech
- NVIDIA Shield Review: At the Crossroads of PC and Mobile Gaming @ AnandTech
- Gmail, Outlook.com and e-voting 'pwned' on stage in crypto-dodge hack @ The Register
- Boffins: We have FOOLED APPLE with malware app @ The Register
- iOS 7 Fix for Malicious iPhone Chargers Requires User Savvy @ DailyTech
- Happy 20th birthday, Windows NT 3.1 @ The Register
- NASA JPL boss Brian Muirhead talks about Mars exploration @ The Inquirer
- Man Builds Fully-Functional Boeing 737 Flight Simulator In His Son's Bedroom @ Slashdot
- Printing an Aston Martin DB4 @ Hack a Day
Frame Pacing for CrossFire
When the Radeon HD 7990 launched in April of this year, we had some not-so-great things to say about it. The HD 7990 depends on CrossFire technology to function and we had found quite a few problems with AMD's CrossFire technology over the last months of testing with our Frame Rating technology, the HD 7990 "had a hard time justifying its $1000 price tag." Right at launch, AMD gave us a taste of a new driver that they were hoping would fix the frame pacing and frame time variance issues seen in CrossFire, and it looked positive. The problem was that the driver wouldn't be available until summer.
As I said then: "But until that driver is perfected, is bug free and is presented to buyers as a made-for-primetime solution, I just cannot recommend an investment this large on the Radeon HD 7990."
Today could be a very big day for AMD - the release of the promised driver update that enables frame pacing on AMD 7000-series CrossFire configurations including the Radeon HD 7990 graphics cards with a pair of Tahiti GPUs.
It's not perfect yet and there are some things to keep an eye on. For example, this fix will not address Eyefinity configurations which includes multi-panel solutions and the new 4K 60 Hz displays that require a tiled display configuration. Also, we found some issues with more than two GPU CrossFire that we'll address in a later page too.
New Driver Details
Starting with 13.8 and moving forward, AMD plans to have the frame pacing fix integrated into all future drivers. The software team has implemented a software based frame pacing algorithm that simply monitors the time it takes for each GPU to render a frame, how long a frame is displayed on the screen and inserts delays into the present calls when necessary to prevent very tightly timed frame renders. This balances or "paces" the frame output to the screen without lowering the overall frame rate. The driver monitors this constantly in real-time and minor changes are made on a regular basis to keep the GPUs in check.
As you would expect, this algorithm is completely game engine independent and the games should be completely oblivious to all that is going on (other than the feedback from present calls, etc).
This fix is generic meaning it is not tied to any specific game and doesn't require profiles like CrossFire can from time to time. The current implementation will work with DX10 and DX11 based titles only with DX9 support being added later with another release. AMD claims this was simply a development time issue and since most modern GPU-bound titles are DX10/11 based they focused on that area first. In phase 2 of the frame pacing implementation AMD will add in DX9 and OpenGL support. AMD wouldn't give me a timeline for implementation though so we'll have to see how much pressure AMD continues with internally to get the job done.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 19, 2013 - 06:13 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Tahiti XT, sapphire, radeon hd 7990, hd 7990 atomic, hd 7990, dual gpu, 7990
Sapphire appears to be preparing to unleash a factory overclocked dual GPU card called the Radeon HD 7990 Atomic. EXPReview managed to uncover several photos and specification details of the upcoming graphics card. It is quite an impressive card, that features a custom PCB, beefy power delivery electronics, 6GB of total GDDR5, and (best of all) two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs cooled by a full cover closed loop water cooler!
The Sapphire HD 7990 Atomic is based around a custom 12-layer PCB. The card also features an 18-phase VRM, 50A chokes, LFPAK MOSFETS, and Tantalum capacitors. Sapphire has divided the total 18-phase VRM up such that each GPU and 3GB of memory gets 6+2+1 power phases. Of course, the HD 7990 Atomic uses two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition GPUs for a total of 4,096 stream processors.
Sapphire has not released clockspeed information, but it should be overclocked significantly beyond the company’s existing dual gpu 7990 card’s base and boost clockspeeds of 950 MHz and 1000 MHz.
Other features include a PLX PEX8747 PCI-E 3.0 bridge chip that connects the two 7970 GPUs together, a dual BIOS switch that will allow users to run the 7990 at stock or at overclocked speeds, and a single crossfire connector to enable quad-Crossfire multi-GPU setups. The graphics card is powered by three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. Finally, it provides six mini-DisplayPort video outputs.
In order to effectively cool the factory overclocked card, Sapphire is bundling a pre-installed self-contained liquid cooler. The closed loop cooler consists of a full cover water block on the HD 7990 Atomic, a 240mm radiator with two 120mm fans, and a combination pump and reservoir that fits within a 5.25” optical drive bay.
Naturally, how much this card will cost and where it will be available is still unknown. With that said, ChipLoco indicates that the card is coming sometime within the “next few weeks.” The extent of the factory overclock is also unknown. It is definitely a high end card worthy of enthusiasts and overclockers. Unfortunately, it utilizes a custom PCB, so it may be difficult to find alternative blocks should users wish to integrate it into their existing custom water loops.
Our 4K Testing Methods
You may have recently seen a story and video on PC Perspective about a new TV that made its way into the office. Of particular interest is the fact that the SEIKI SE50UY04 50-in TV is a 4K television; it has a native resolution of 3840x2160. For those that are unfamiliar with the new upcoming TV and display standards, 3840x2160 is exactly four times the resolution of current 1080p TVs and displays. Oh, and this TV only cost us $1300.
In that short preview we validated that both NVIDIA and AMD current generation graphics cards support output to this TV at 3840x2160 using an HDMI cable. You might be surprised to find that HDMI 1.4 can support 4K resolutions, but it can do so only at 30 Hz (60 Hz 4K TVs won't be available until 2014 most likely), half the refresh rate of most TVs and monitors at 60 Hz. That doesn't mean we are limited to 30 FPS of performance though, far from it. As you'll see in our testing on the coming pages we were able to push out much higher frame rates using some very high end graphics solutions.
I should point out that I am not a TV reviewer and I don't claim to be one, so I'll leave the technical merits of the monitor itself to others. Instead I will only report on my experiences with it while using Windows and playing games - it's pretty freaking awesome. The only downside I have found in my time with the TV as a gaming monitor thus far is with the 30 Hz refresh rate and Vsync disabled situations. Because you are seeing fewer screen refreshes over the same amount of time than you would with a 60 Hz panel, all else being equal, you are getting twice as many "frames" of the game being pushed to the monitor each refresh cycle. This means that the horizontal tearing associated with Vsync will likely be more apparent than it would otherwise.
I would likely recommend enabling Vsync for a tear-free experience on this TV once you are happy with performance levels, but obviously for our testing we wanted to keep it off to gauge performance of these graphics cards.
Subject: General Tech | April 25, 2013 - 06:13 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, Xe, seiki, raidr, podcast, nvidia, Never Serttle, hd 7990, GA-Z77N-WiFi, frame rating, crossfire, amd, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #248 - 04/25/2013
Join us this week as we discuss AMD HD 7990, CrossFire Frame Rating improvements, 4K TVs and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:16:34
0:01:20 Update on Indiegogo: You guys rock!
Week in Review:
0:06:30 AMD Radeon HD 7990 6GB Review
News items of interest:
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Subject: Graphics Cards | April 25, 2013 - 02:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xfx, malta, hd 7990, GCN, dual gpu, amd
Now that AMD’s dual-gpu Malta graphics card is official, cards from Add-In Board (AIB) partners are starting to roll in. One such recently announced card is the XFX Radeon HD 7990 card. The XFX card is based on the reference AMD design, which includes two Radeon HD 7970 GPUs in a Crossfire configuration.
The two GPUs can boost up to 1GHz clock speeds and feature a total of 4096 stream processors, 256 texture units, 64 ROPs, and 8.6 billion transistors. The card also includes 3GB of GDDR5 memory per GPU running off a 384-bit bus. It supports AMD’s Eyefinity technology and offers up one DL-DVI and four mini-DisplayPort video outputs.
The XFX HD 7990 uses the reference AMD heatsink as well, which includes a massive aluminum fin stack with five copper heatpipes that run the length of the heasink and directly touch the two 7970 GPUs. Three shrouded fans, in turn, keep the heatsink cool.
The dual-GPU monster is eligible for AMD’s Never Settle bundle which includes eight free games. With purchase of the HD 7990 (from any eligible AIB), you get free key codes for the following games:
- Bioshock Infinite
- Crysis 3
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Far Cry 3
- Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
- Hitman: Absolution
- Sleeping Dogs
- Tomb Raider
The XFX press release further assures gamers that the card can, in fact, play Crysis 3 at maximum settings at a resolution of 3840 x 2160. The company did not mention pricing, however.
For those interested in AMD’s new Malta GPU, check out our review as well as how the card performs when paired with a prototype AMD driver that seeks to address some of the frame rating issues exhibited by AMD's Crossfire multi-GPU solution.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 24, 2013 - 11:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: amd, powercolor, hd 7990, malta, dual gpu, crossfire
PowerColor (a TUL corporation brand) launched its dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990 V2 graphics card, and this time the card is based on the (recently reviewed) official dual-GPU AMD “Malta” GPU announced at the Games Developers Conference (GDC). The new HD 7990 V2 graphics card features two AMD HD 7970 cards in a Crossfire configuration. That means that the Malta-based card features a total of 4096 stream processors, and a rated 8.2 TFLOPS of peak performance.
The PowerColor HD 7990 V2 joins the company’s existing Devil 13 and HD 7990 graphics cards. The new card sports a triple-fan shrouded heatsink that is somewhat tamer-looking that the custom Devil 13. Other hardware includes 3GB of GDDR5 RAM per GPU clocked at 1500MHz and running on a 384-bit bus (again, per GPU) for a total of 6GB. Both GPUs have clock speeds of 950MHz base and up to 1GHz boost.
The new GPU has a single DL-DVI and four mini-DisplayPort video outputs. PowerColor is touting the card’s Eyefinity prowess as well as its ZeroCore support for reducing power usage when idle. The board has a TDP of 750W and is powered by two PCI-E power connections. In all, the HD 7990 V2 graphics card measures 305 x 110 x 38mm. While PowerColor has not released pricing or availability, expect the card to be available soon and around the same price (or a bit lower than) as its existing (custom) HD 7990.
The full press release can be found here.
Subject: General Tech | April 24, 2013 - 07:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ARES II, amd, radeon, hd 7990, malta, tahiti
We've seen tests of dual 7970s in CrossFire simulating a 7990 and ASUS released the ARES II which was the closest we had until today with the release of the reference HD 7990. There are many reviews to chose from when looking at this new flagship card, such as from a pure performance perspective such as [H]ard|OCP's which did not come out well for AMD's new card. If you are more interested in our new Frame Rating process then there are two reviews to read, one that deals with the 7990 on the publicly available driver and perhaps more interesting is a prototype driver provided to Ryan that is intended to fix Crossfire stuttering on single displays but not for EyeFinity
"Today marks the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 7990. The Radeon HD 7990 is a dual-GPU video card that has its two GPUs down on a single PCB that uses CrossFire to operate the two Radeon HD 7970 GPUs. We will test this video card in the latest games, comparing it to GeForce GTX 680 SLI and Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition CrossFire. "
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review: 7990 Gets Official @ AnandTech
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 6GB Dual GPU @ Tweaktown
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 @ Hardware.info
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 6 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 6GB Malta Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- AMD HD 7990 Review; Malta Arrives @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 @ Legion Hardware
- AMD Radeon HD 7990 @ TechSpot
- AMD HD7990 Malta @ Kitguru
- XFX R7790 Black Edition OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Diamond HD 7790 1GB @ LanOC Reviews
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 2GB OC Edition Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte HD 7790 1GB OC @ LanOC Reviews
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7790 2GB OC Review @ OCC
- XFX R7790 Black Edition Overclocked Review @ OCC
- Nouveau vs. NVIDIA Linux Comparison Shows Shortcomings @ Phoronix
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti 2GB Boost Twin Frozr @ Tweaktown
- EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB SuperClocked @ Tweaktown
- GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost & SLI Performance @ Techspot
- EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB SuperClocked @ Tweaktown
- EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN 6GB SuperClocked Video Cards in SLI @ Tweaktown
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN 3-Way SLI @ [H]ard|OCP
The card we have been expecting
Despite all the issues that were brought up with our new graphics performance testing methodology we are calling Frame Rating, there is little debate in the industry that AMD is making noise once again in the graphics field. From the elaborate marketing and game bundles with all Radeon HD 7000 series cards over the last year to the hiring of Roy Taylor, VP of sales but also the company's most vocal supporter.
Along with the marketing though goes plenty of technology and important design wins. With the dominance of the APU on the console side (Wii U, Playstation 4 and the next Xbox), AMD is making sure that the familiarity with its GPU architecture there pays dividends on the PC side as well. Developers will be focusing on AMD's graphics hardware for 5-10 years with the console generation and that could result in improved performance and feature support for Radeon graphics for PC gamers.
Today's release of the Radeon HD 7990 6GB Malta dual-GPU graphics card shows a renewed focus on high-end graphics markets since the release of the Radeon HD 7970 in January of 2012. And while you may have seen something for sale previously with the HD 7990 name attached, those were custom designs built by partners, not by AMD.
Both ASUS and PowerColor currently have high-end dual-Tahiti cards for sale. The PowerColor HD 7990 Devil 13 used the brand directly but ASUS' ARES II kept away from the name and focused on its own high-end card brands instead.
The "real" Radeon HD 7990 card was first teased at GDC in March and takes a much less dramatic approach to its design without being less impressive technically. The card includes a pair of Tahiti, HD 7970-class GPUs on a single PCB with 6GB of total memory. The raw specifications are listed here:
Considering there are two HD 7970 GPUs on the HD 7990, the doubling of the major specs shouldn't be surprising though it is a little deceiving. There are 8.6 billion transistors yes, but there are still 4.3 billion on each GPU. Yes there are 4096 stream processors but only 2048 on each GPU requiring software GPU scaling to increase performance. The same goes with texture fill rate, compute performance, memory bandwidth, etc. The same could be said for all dual-GPU graphics cards though.