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Old 03-08-2011, 12:39 PM   #1
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Default AMD Radeon HD 6990 Video Card Review

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Title: AMD Radeon HD 6990 Video Card Review
URL: http://www.hardwaresecrets.com/artic...rd-Review/1213

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"AMD is launching today their latest ultra-high-end video card, the Radeon HD 6990, a dual-GPU solution that comes priced at USD 700. Let's check its performance.The video card we are reviewing is the ..."

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Old 03-09-2011, 12:27 AM   #2
Olle P
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From page 3:
Quote:
The Radeon HD 6990 comes with two ROM chips, selectable through a switch located near the CrossFireX connector, see Figure 5. The card comes with this switch on the position “2”, which loads the default clocks and voltages of the video card (830 MHz, 1.12 V). When moved to the position “1”, the video card is overclocked to 880 MHz and voltage is increased to 1.175 V.
There's much more to it than this...

1. One of the ROM chips, the one used with the switch in position "1", is user programmable. The other ROM is hard coded and can't be changed.

2. The use of the "2" position is principally two-fold.
- From AMD's point of view it's a way to get the card within the limitations of the PCIe standard, by a simple underclock and undervolting. That's why the card is delivered with the switch in this position.
- From the user's point of view the fixed ROM is a safe harbour after overclocking the card a bit too far, which brings me to...

3. The default settings in the "1" position is in reality the reference settings for the card. From there the user can begin to do some overclocking, adding more speed and voltage.

The cooling solution for this beast could do with some improvements.
- The fan control, from what I've read, seems to be almost binary with the fan quickly varying between high and low speeds. Should be smoother transitions, which is pretty much a firmware issue.
- I suppose there are limitations to the dimensions of a card for keeping it within standards, which is why the cooling is sub-optimal.
Given the PCB, fan and heatsinks as they are I'd extend the shroud about 1" to deflect the forward hot air stream upwards, away from the intake. This would of course make the card even less compatible with the cases available today.
With a little design change of the heatsinks one could instead make the card wider, having most of the heated air blow past the side of the PCB, again directed upwards.

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Old 03-09-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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Thanks for the additions, Olle P!
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:43 AM   #4
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It doesn't appear that the reference cooling system is ideal, so it'll be interesting to see what sort of solutions companies will come up with.

I'm wondering if there's some sort of space verse performance situation that benefits the 6990 over a crossfire/sli setup. I noticed that many reviewers talk about using a SLI or Xfire setup as the better price/performance deal, but I wonder how many people can actually afford (in terms of case dimensions) to do this without having to buy a new case or spend extra time rearranging everything.

Would you say that hardware volume equals money in the world of computing?
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Old 03-09-2011, 10:51 PM   #5
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Theoretically you can use the 6990 for a gaming rig based on a mini-ITX motherboard (that simply don't support more than one expansion card).
What makes this theoretical rather than practical is that a) there's most probably no small computer case that can accommodate such a big card, and b) such cases often require smaller PSUs providing less than 400W total.
Edit: Silverstone Sugo SG07 is a SFF case that can handle the 6990, although the cooling will suffer a bit.

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Last edited by Olle P; 03-10-2011 at 03:12 AM.
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