A dual R9 290X card isn't here yet, but the 7990 is the next best thing
The Mission The ongoing war between Nvidia and AMD for supremacy over the PC gaming landscape has been like the Hatfields and the McCoys of enthusiast computing: long, bitter, and deeply entrenched. AMD's Radeon HD 7990 is the company’s biggest salvo yet, combining two HD 7970 GPUs onto one card. It didn't come out until spring 2013, though, which was long after Nvidia's own dual-GPU behemoth, the GeForce GTX 690, had dug in its heels. And it wasn't until mid-summer that AMD began to address the stuttering issues that marred its multi-GPU setups. With AMD's R9 series arriving in October 2013, this crown jewel didn’t really have much time to shine. Today, we'll try and change that, pitting this Cadillac of a card against nothing less than Battlefield 4, with everything maxed out and running at 1920x1080. With the previous Battlefield regularly favoring Nvidia cards, this might seems like enemy territory. But this time, AMD is working closely with the developer to make sure nothing goes awry. And in December, BF4 will be the first game to feature Mantle, which AMD has positioned to replace Microsoft's DirectX API. In the end, the HD 7990 could set the bar.
Note: This article was originally featured in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine.
For a brief time yesterday, we noticed that Newegg had the MSI Radeon HD 7990 (R7990-6GD5) dual-GPU graphics card on sale for $550 after a $30 rebate card. The price has since gone back up to $890, but there are still a few deals to be found, and perhaps more on the way. That's pretty impressive when you consider these cards were hovering around $1,000 just a little while ago.
Nvidia’s GTX 690 finally has some serious competition
Today the embargo is lifting on the AMD Radeon HD 7990 that was teased back at GDC, so here’s the TLDR version; yes it’s just as fast and a tiny bit quieter than theNvidia GTX 690, and it includes a mega bad ass eight-AAA-game bundle and costs the same price as its nemesis, making it quite a tempting package for those with the budget for it. Whether or not that will be enough to convince anyone to actually buy it remains to be seen of course, but at least AMD can no longer be knocked for conceding the $1,000 GPU market to Nvidia. It also signifies somewhat of a resurgence for AMD, who first came off the bench late last year and early this year with its totally righteous Never Settle game bundles, then attacked the midrange recently with the surprisingly powerful and quiet Radeon HD 7790 card, and is now going for the jugular with the dual-slot and triple-fan HD 7990. Whether AMD wins or loses that battle is slightly less important than the overall significance of this introduction, as in our minds its designed to not only beat Nvidia’s offering, but also to send a very clear signal to hardcore PC enthusiasts everywhere — AMD is still in the game, and doesn’t intend to give an inch of ground to Nvidia any time soon.
There are several ways to reconcile why PowerColor named its dual Radeon HD 7970 monstrosity the Devil 13. On the one hand, the card probably got its name from the fact that it’s an unholy abomination of GPU horsepower, combining two already-hot-running GPUs into one massive, inferno-producing card that gets as hot as Hades. On the other hand, perhaps its sinister moniker is due to the fact that this video card shouldn’t really exist, as AMD never produced one (even though we all expected it last summer.) PowerColor must have said, “Screw it, we’ll make it ourselves!” And thus the Card of Darkness was born; a rare, one-off, fire-breathing $1,000 concoction that flies in the face of power, heat, and cost concerns. And since this is Maximum PC, all we can say is, “Hell yes.”
TUL Corporation's PowerColor division just unveiled one hell of a graphics card. It's the Devil 13 HD7990, and this fiery card wages war with dual Tahiti XT GPUs, the same as found in AMD's single GPU Radeon HD 7970 videocard. It's the first to launch out of AMD's much anticipated HD 7990 series, and the card looks every bit as beastly as you would expect from a part that takes up three slots.
A Chinese website has posted a naked picture of AMD's upcoming Radeon HD 7990 graphics card. It's a partial snapshot that shows one of the two GPUs AMD crammed onto this pixel pushing monster, which supposedly consists of a pair of Tahiti XT graphics cores, the same as found on AMD's Radeon HD 7970 videocard. If the information is correct, the card will launch in April, after Nvidia's Kepler rolls into town.
On hindsight, one of the wisest decisions AMD ever made was acquiring ATI Technologies, a costly and controversial move at the time, but one in which the Santa Clara chip designer has been kicking ass with ever since. This point is underscored with AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series (see our Radeon HD 7970 preview here), a killer GPU family that will culminate with the Radeon HD 7990, a monster of a card with two 7970 GPUs and 6GB of total graphics memory.