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AMD Radeon HD 7990 6GB Review - Malta Gets Frame Rated

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: AMD

Power Consumption, Sound Levels and Overclocking

Though secondary for most people that are buying a $1000 gaming graphics card, a quick look at the power consumption and sound levels of the new HD 7990 reveals some interesting data

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The release of Kepler showed us that NVIDIA could take high performance and low power seriously, while AMD struggles a bit to keep up with that mentality in this case.  The HD 7990 used 512 watts (total system), which was a good drop from the 624 watts of the HD 7970 cards running in CrossFire.  But, compare that to the GTX options: the GTX 690 used 90 watts less and the GTX Titan used 147 watts less! 

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During the press presentation about the HD 7990 AMD was very proud of the fact that they had lowered the noise levels of the HD 7990 so much compared to other HD 7000-series cards that it would it was coming in under even the over-engineered GTX Titan.  Our tests didn't show that at all.  The HD 7990 in my sound level testing came in right about the same level as the GTX 690 but was still 6 dBA higher than our GTX Titan results. 

Sound level testing in an open environment can be tricky, but we are careful to keep consistent ambient sound levels so I don't think our results are off enough to account for this kind of discrepancy. 

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I took a pretty short route to overclocking the Radeon HD 7990 - using only the Catalyst Control Center I pushed the clock from 1000 MHz to 1100 MHz, and the memory clock from 1500 MHz to 1575 MHz.  That's not much, and considering the clock speed of the HD 7990 wasn't hitting 1000 MHz consistently, I didn't expect a big improvement in performance.

Our 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme result only increased about 1% so we are obviously going to need to get into voltage adjustment to really push this card forward. 

April 24, 2013 | 01:05 AM - Posted by Yang Ji (not verified)

Very nice review Ryan. FPS does mean everything. Great methodology.

April 24, 2013 | 09:05 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

FPS won't mean everything anymore as soon as amd has a single feature like PhysX or TXAA that nVidia does not - then we will hear how IT MATTERS and is of utmost import, and definitely makes the purchasing decision for everyone...

I can hardly wait... since AMD is about 5 or 6 massive features behind nVidia, and all those of course do not matter at all, only fps, which as we all now must admit instead of just me saying it for years, amd FAILS AT cf FPS.

Man I tell you, I am so, so sick of it, I have been so sick of it for so long, for so many years, and now finally, I bask IN THE HOLY GLORY OF THE TRUTH ! AMD SUCKS VERY BADLY !

I told you all so for years, while I got kicked and stomped with lies and fanboy emotes gone wild, man is it ever good to be totally freaking vindicated.

I will add, no thanks and a pox on all you amd wackadoos that screamed for years about your amd loser cards. I have recieved zero apologies from all of you, and in fact, have seen EXACTLY ZERO APOLOGIES ON THE WEB FROM ANY OF THEM ! SITE OWNERS, AND ALL THE POSTERS !

Thus we can be certain it will all happen again.
Sigh.

April 25, 2013 | 09:03 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

no.

April 28, 2013 | 08:10 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You deserve nVdia.If it makes it easier to have special names for things that all modern graphics cards are capable of.

When nVidia gets Full directX11.1 support we'll talk.

April 24, 2013 | 01:07 AM - Posted by Boxes (not verified)

Well I was waiting on getting my GPU(s) until this the 7990 was reviewed to make sure I wasn't missing out on a new CFX patch. Now the 780 is coming out in May....

I CANT TAKE INTEL HD4000 ANY LONGER MAN.

What do with $1200? Dual 680 4GB or Single Titan OR Wait for 780 and pick up a couple of those.

April 24, 2013 | 03:25 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

You could buy a single GTX 680 and then contribute to our Indiegogo project?  :)

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/pc-perspective-video-set-and-productio...

April 24, 2013 | 03:44 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

Ohh Ryan....

Spamming your own site :(

Still If something, instead of a 680 it should be a Titan and then contribute a bit to PcPer :P

April 24, 2013 | 03:37 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

If you can't wait any longer to spend the money I would say Titan, as both dual GPU solutions still are not as smooth as a single card. And far more power hungry.

April 24, 2013 | 01:27 AM - Posted by derz

You can probably kill a man if you fling some of those cards at some unfortunate sap.

April 24, 2013 | 03:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This testing methodology is deliberately created to make Nvidia look good.
I watch other reviews and the frame times don't look that bad.
Here Nvidia looks great and AMD look very bad. Plus a saw reviews where average and minimal fps are quite tight.
Others also used the
AMD Catalyst Frame_Pacing_Prototype v2 For Radeon HD 7990

and it showed nice reduction of frame latency. In time it can only get better

April 24, 2013 | 03:49 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

Testing methodology isn't deliberately created to make Nvidia look good, it was to show the issues associated with dual GPU.

The only reason NVidia cooperated was that they knew they had the issue fixed where as AMD ignored it for some time.

If Nvidia still had the issue, they would never participate in developing this testing methodology.

Luckily this method of not looking at FPS (started up by TechReport site) opened our eyes to something we have seen for some time but simply accepted it. And it Forced AMD to actually do something about it. And I have to say, they did an amazing job on it.

April 24, 2013 | 05:46 AM - Posted by rrr (not verified)

Read the last page, PCPer mentioned that driver too, just as a reminder it exists and shows promising results. But it isn't user ready yet, so doing entire review on it would be stupid.

April 24, 2013 | 10:31 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Read Ryan's other article here:  http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-Rating-AMD-Improves-CrossFire-Prototype-Driver

April 24, 2013 | 12:13 PM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

If you want another view, look at THG's version: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7990-review-benchmark,3486...

The result is the same, though their definition of a runt frame is far more forgiving (less than 2% of the screen, or 20 lines worth). However, they added objective testing at the end, with several different people taking blind tests. All of them found the 690 was smoother.

April 27, 2013 | 07:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Also note Ryan is using REALLY old 314.07 drivers.

NV has 314.14, 314.22 and even 320's out now (heck they had a few others in there also). Not sure why he keeps using an ancient driver other than saving a lot of retesting.

NV has much higher scores in almost every game now.

Start testing with a new driver please. Every other review I've seen uses 320. You are at least a few months behind.

So AMD would look even worse vs the latest drivers.

April 24, 2013 | 04:30 AM - Posted by arbiter

7970 in CF is better deal if you are going to overclock the card. Seeing how power envelope and constraints is limited on this card, there is very little overclocking headroom.

April 24, 2013 | 04:55 AM - Posted by Mountainlifter

Great Review Ryan and team.

Now what about those 780 rumors that just hit?

April 24, 2013 | 05:46 AM - Posted by Howie Doohan (not verified)

Message to AMD, fix your damn drivers! I agree they are headed in the right direction but they're still miles behind Nvidia on this issue.

April 24, 2013 | 09:49 AM - Posted by FenceMan (not verified)

Ryan,

I love your site, podcasts, and reviews. I cannot for the life of me figure out why you have once again railroaded AMD without trying any of the publicly available solutions to fix your issues? Can you at least acknowledge that Radeon Pro exists? I understand it is a third party program, but we are PC gamers, we tweak things, is it really that far of a stretch to imagine that in the real world we take advantage of Radeon Pro? I sometimes spend hours tweaking game settings before I actually start playing the game, I am sure most of your readers do the same, why do you continue to ignore the obvious?

April 24, 2013 | 10:30 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Those things really didn't fix much and introduced other issues (Ryan covered that in an article that had the videos you could download).

 

Also, this!  http://www.pcper.com/reviews/Graphics-Cards/Frame-Rating-AMD-Improves-CrossFire-Prototype-Driver

April 24, 2013 | 11:26 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

For this review I didn't put a high focus on the RadeonPro solution because I knew and was playing with the prototype drivers from AMD - that is the REAL solution.  I will still tryout RadeonPro eventually but that is just a hack or patch job in reality.

April 24, 2013 | 11:44 AM - Posted by Fenceman (not verified)

All due respect call it what you like it works??

Really love to see in depth report based on your experiences which I recognize are greater than most of us.

April 24, 2013 | 12:16 PM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

RadeonPro fixes the problem by limiting FPS. However, it has at least a couple draw backs you will see noted by different people.

1) It does lower your average FPS to work.
2) If a game has different average fps in different areas, you have to lower it to the worst case, lower FPS even more (skyrim users have to limit FPS for outdoors, even though indoors has much higher FPS)

April 24, 2013 | 12:00 PM - Posted by Fenceman (not verified)

http://www.overclock.net/t/1363712/pcper-frame-rating-part-3-first-resul...

Its fair to say that AMD currently requires more tweaking, its not fair to say issues cant be corrected, just my opinion. Look forward to the podcast later.

April 24, 2013 | 11:14 AM - Posted by FenceMan (not verified)

Maybe I just dont get or see it.... I had 7950 crossfire and picked up a GTX 690 somewhat cheap on Ebay and got frustrated very quickly when I couldn't get it to work as well as what I had. Tomb Raider was brutal if I turned on the hair and Bioshock took a lot of tweaking to get me where I was with the 7950's. Just sold the 690 (little profit bonus) and ordered a couple of Vapor X 7970's....

April 24, 2013 | 12:20 PM - Posted by bystander (not verified)

Tomb Raider had problems with the 314 drivers on Nvidia, the drivers that were current on release. Going back to 310 make it run great. I believe the most recent 314.22 drivers fixed the issue as well. Bioshock infinite is having troubles with both cards.

Anyways, the point isn't about FPS, but performance. Tomb Raider is particularly bad on crossfire by all accounts: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-7990-review-benchmark,3486...

April 24, 2013 | 01:02 PM - Posted by Victah Von Doom

Hey Ryan i just wanted to say congratulation on the 10k mark you and your team truly deserve it. And don't let these trolls influence you man you're doing an amazing job. You write it we read it. Im going to contribute $10 this weekend.

No homo
i love you man

April 24, 2013 | 01:54 PM - Posted by Fenceman (not verified)

It is possible to disagree without being a "troll".....

April 24, 2013 | 05:31 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Thank you for your support!

April 24, 2013 | 02:10 PM - Posted by Victah Von Doom

Yes It is possible to disagree without being a "troll" but the real question is are you in a position to disagree.

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