When we took a look at the reference version of AMD’s Radeon HD 6990, we found a board that was impressive on a number of fronts, though not all the impressions were positive. The HD 6990 builds in two full Radeon HD 6970 GPUs onto a single board, each with its own 2GB of frame buffer. In our initial testing, performance looked to be very fast, but the reference board was also pretty noisy under load. At last, XFX shipped us an actual retail Radeon HD 6990, so we’re finally able to render a verdict on AMD’s killer card.
Remember the Radeon HD 5830? That videocard filled a certain price point, but it was actually the same GPU used in the high-end HD 5870, with a large chunk of the die disabled. Enter the Radeon HD 6790. At first blush, it’s similar in concept to the HD 5830. AMD took its Barts GPU (used in the Radeon HD 6870 and 6850) and disabled a big chunk of it. Voilà: the Radeon HD 6790.
The Zotac AMP edition of Nvidia’s new budget GPU, the GTX 550 Ti, pushes the clock speeds to a full 1GHz—more than 10 percent higher than the default 900MHz. It amounts to a $150 card with 1GB of GDDR5 memory that performs moderately well in modern games, if you’re willing to dial down features like antialiasing. However, Zotac doesn’t seem to be aiming this card at gamers, but rather at digital media junkies and home theater PC enthusiasts.
Nvidia is steadily filling in the gaps in its product line. Late last year, Nvidia had the GTX 460 768MB and GTX 460 1GB cards. The 1GB GTX 460 was effectively replaced at the $250-$270 price point by the GTX 560 Ti. Now the company is delivering the GTX 560, which will be priced from $199 - $220.
Palit's GTX 560 offers 2GB of frame buffer, if that's what you're into.
Unlike the GTX 460 768MB cards, which only offered a 192-bit memory bus, the GTX 560 supports a 256-bit wide bus. The Palit card is slightly unusual in supporting a 2GB frame buffer, but its specs are otherwise pretty stock. It’s not factory overclocked, but given the tweaking and streamlining that are part of the improvements of the GF114 (560) over the GF104 (460), we do expect some performance benefits. The GTX 560 does have eight fewer shader units than the GTX 560 Ti.
The original Radeon HD 6950 cards shipped with a 2GB frame buffer, and you can still get those if you want. But some manufacturers have begun shipping the HD 6950 with 1GB of video memory, which is a fine fit for the current generation of 1080p displays.
XFX has taken the 1GB 6950 a step further, juicing up both the GPU and memory clocks and adding a custom cooler that XFX says will keep the card cooler and run more quietly than the default AMD-designed cooler. The new cooler uses a pair of propeller-bladed fans that turn more slowly than the paddle wheel fan in the reference cooling system.
Hot on the heels of AMD’s Radeon HD 6990 dual-GPU monster, Nvidia is putting the pedal to the metal with its own dual GPU video card. The GTX 590 implements a pair of full GF110 CPUs, each with its own 1.5GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory, all 1,024 shader units and a custom cooler.
Can Asus' implementation of the GTX 590 beat AMD's dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990? Click 'Read More' for the full story!
AMD just announced the Radeon HD 6990 video card, which combines the guts of two Radeon HD 6970s on a single board. We've got a preview of the card, including hands-on benchmarks. Spoiler: It's fast. Really, really fast.
Palit’s high-end cards tend to be exercises in extravagance. That’s certainly true with its GTX 570 Sonic Platinum. At first, we thought Palit shipped the wrong card, given the 8-pin power connector nestled adjacent to the 6-pin connector, just like a GTX 580. However, it’s really a GTX 570—albeit with a core clock of 800MHz (versus the stock 742MHz) and the GDDR5 frame buffer clocking an even 1GHz (versus the reference 950MHz.)
A new generation of GPUs from Nvidia and AMD has hit the streets. Both camps are offering incredible performance and the widest array of features ever before seen in graphics cards. But, inevitably, each side brings its own unique strengths and weaknesses. What better way to determine the performance champ than by letting this season’s new crop of cards duke it out in the various price categories?