AMD Radeon HD 6990 4 GB Review: Antilles Makes (Too Much) Noise

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Stickywulf

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65dBA can cause hearing damage (according to the OHS meetings I attend each month).
AMD isn't too far away from requiring safety warnings on their video cards warning consumers of the danger. No joke.
 

cinergy

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Chris's AMD hate can be clearly seen from the conclusion. Always emphasizing all the (minor) negative things. Never thought the after-market coolers can negate all noise disadvantage? And why add DX9 game (WoW) that has recommended system setup as "NVIDIA GeForce FX or ATI Radeon 9500" to test fastest card on the planet if not just find a special case game where AMD card performs poorly?
 

youssef 2010

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Great article.

Though, in my humble opinion,AMD made a mistake by placing the fan in the middle of the card. I think we need something like a modded thermalright shaman if they want to keep noise and temperature down.

[citation][nom]Article[/nom]I'm not going to take "buy a Cooler Master HAF 932" as the only acceptable solution for integrating hardware that could have been engineered to cope with thermal output more intelligently.[/citation]

Why not? I think the person who's packing enough money to buy this card can certainly spare a few extra to buy a decent case.

If AMD with it's far smaller GPU die space couldn't keep it's cards cool, then I am very interested to see how Nvidia will so knowing that their cards consume more power than AMD's solutions.If I have to guess, the "GTX 590" will be a GTX 570 SLI on a single board.
 

legacy-za

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I think the best option is:

Buy 2x 6950's for $280 each, unlock only the shaders from 1408 to 1536. Remember to use the default 6950 clock speeds and overclock slowly to the following frequencies after you have flashed:

GPU to 840Mhz
Memory to 1300Mhz

You will be running cooler, quieter and draw less power. I am curious if someone out there would try this 6950's setup and compare it to the 6990, because in my opinion, that is exactly what the 6990 is.

Think about it $460 vs $700 for more or less the same performance
 
[citation][nom]cangelini[/nom]I love the sound of a Veyron. That doesn't mean I want to hear it in my office all day long.[/citation]

Good thing you only use it to travel then and not all the time. It's not like the 6990 comes with the 60db+ all the time and I'll assume most people don't game THAT long or use headphones while gaming (I need the headset, so i have my ears covered while gaming).

Besides, using 40nm, keeping it inside 375W and flooring the 5970 in the process is fine tech IMO. But yes, I agree that this is a "brute force" approach from AMD. Still delivers though and we have to wait for aftermarket cooling.

Also, this is a CF in one PCB, so why not telling us the actual power draw of other SLI setups? The GTX570's come to mind. Like someone said, watt per frame could be a very good metric.

Cheers!
 

perryra1968

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DAAAANG! That's like having your stereo system speaker up against your face. But the right case and set up just might make the noise bareable. Either way, I could only dream of having one and would only want it for bragging rights because solitaire doesn't need dual GPU. Man, I could only dream.
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]youssef 2010[/nom]Great article.Though, in my humble opinion,AMD made a mistake by placing the fan in the middle of the card. I think we need something like a modded thermalright shaman if they want to keep noise and temperature down.Why not? I think the person who's packing enough money to buy this card can certainly spare a few extra to buy a decent case.If AMD with it's far smaller GPU die space couldn't keep it's cards cool, then I am very interested to see how Nvidia will so knowing that their cards consume more power than AMD's solutions.If I have to guess, the "GTX 590" will be a GTX 570 SLI on a single board.[/citation]

Youssef,

Thanks for the feedback. My point there was that we as enthusiasts should have our choice of case for high-end hardware. I don't want to be told I can only buy one certain model to cope with a poorly-engineered thermal implementation. Hope that clarifies!

Chris
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]cinergy[/nom]Chris's AMD hate can be clearly seen from the conclusion. Always emphasizing all the (minor) negative things. Never thought the after-market coolers can negate all noise disadvantage? And why add DX9 game (WoW) that has recommended system setup as "NVIDIA GeForce FX or ATI Radeon 9500" to test fastest card on the planet if not just find a special case game where AMD card performs poorly?[/citation]

Hi Cinergy!

I appreciate the feedback, but you do realize I recommend another AMD product as the alternative to this one, right? ;-)

Chris
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]the_krasno[/nom]If you have the money to buy such a card you have the money to not worry about power draw. I'm just saying.[/citation]

I'm worried a lot less about the power than I am the noise that it takes to dissipate that power ;-)
 

robwright

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[citation][nom]cinergy[/nom]Chris's AMD hate can be clearly seen from the conclusion. Always emphasizing all the (minor) negative things. Never thought the after-market coolers can negate all noise disadvantage? And why add DX9 game (WoW) that has recommended system setup as "NVIDIA GeForce FX or ATI Radeon 9500" to test fastest card on the planet if not just find a special case game where AMD card performs poorly?[/citation]

Actually, I heat my home in the winter from Chris' AMD hatred. Keeps the house toasty warm, and it's cheaper than oil!

But seriously...minor things? Really? Come on, bro. He clearly recommends what he judges as better AMD cards over the 6990, so...how is that exactly anti-AMD?

 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]evga_fan[/nom]Thank you for your input and I totally agree.As for CF, I was referring to the fact that (according to the article) 6990 in CF wasn't really showing good scaling which of course isn't really a fair representation of what CF can do these days. However, can you shed som light on what you mean by "NV is out of the chipset game". Sure, CF mobos have become more readily available but wouldn't you agree that when it comes to performance, both companies are pretty much neck and neck?Thanks in advance.[/citation]

Hi evga_fan,

The quad-GPU numbers should really be taken as exhibition. I have no indication that the 6990 has really been optimized for that mode yet, so there might be additional performance AMD enables down the road.

My NV comment stems from the days when SLI was a real differentiator that required you to buy an Nvidia chipset if you wanted to run in SLI. Now, CrossFire is pretty much ubiquitous, so you don't have to worry about finding a CrossFire-capable board. You can buy one 6990 or two 6970s--it doesn't matter--your platform will support it, so long as you're not hard-up for expansion slots.

Beyond compatibility, for the most part I do think both companies effectively address the most important and similar price/performance points, yes.

Best!
Chris
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]robwright[/nom]Actually, I heat my home in the winter from Chris' AMD hatred. Keeps the house toasty warm, and it's cheaper than oil!But seriously...minor things? Really? Come on, bro. He clearly recommends what he judges as better AMD cards over the 6990, so...how is that exactly anti-AMD?[/citation]

LOL, it burns free and unlimited, like cold...FUSION. OMG. We've come full circle!!!

/wave Rob
 

cangelini

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Folks,

Please do feel free to weigh in constructively on how you'd like to see the 6990 compared to whatever might show up in the next couple of weeks as an answer to this board. Any regular reader knows that I'm as accommodating as possible to requests for new data =)

Take care,
Chris
 

masterofevil22

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Charlie Sheen F-18 mode
LMAO

Ahhh, it's supposed to get hot and loud. It's got the fastest graphics card in the WORLD!! Also, this is a pre-retail release, reference design, with early-early drivers and software support. It will only get better from here. Kudos for all the test. Now, can we get a couple Sandy Bridge i7's at 5ghz so this thing can stretch its legs a bit please:)
 

buzznut

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I can see this card being used by benchmark busters. Most of these dual GPU cards have limited retail potential, its more of an exercise in "how powerful can we make a single video card?"
In that case bravo!
 

alidan

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[citation][nom]cangelini[/nom]Alidan,BF BC2 is in the list of tested games. WoW is pretty old too now these days Don't have the other ones, but any other specific requests?[/citation]

well wow is still being developed, and graphically, its completely different that its launch, or so i have been told.

as for any other game, lets go anything id tech 3 pre 2003, anything post 2003 will be modified to run on todays systems, and anything unreal engine 1

im asking this mainly because i have had problems getting old games to run on newer hardware, kotor is an example, and others would include sacred 1, anything before that that i play would be dos based, but there is a gap between dos and win 98+ where some games ran like absolute crap with newer hardware.

this card specifically, knowing the best can also play older games would be a gigantic plus.
 

silverblue

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[citation][nom]lradunovic77[/nom]Compared to single gpu GTX580, this card is joke. I will take SLI GTX580 over this any time because Crossfire sucks. It takes AMD/ATI usually two months (two driver releases) to get shit working propertly. Not worth a dollar in my book. You know benchmarks are one story, but real time gaming is completely another story.[/citation]

It's already been proven that Crossfire on the 6xxx cards is a different story to previous generations. There really is no disparity between AMD and nVidia cards anymore.

Benchmarks are usually stress tests which are more like worst case scenarios than the real-time gaming you're mentioning, and you might do well to check other reviews, say, those at Anandtech or Guru3d.
 

xenorage

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6990 Welcome to the Global Warming Card Division (slide over Fermi)!!!

Thanks Chris for the review, you do know I would love to hear this card at full rev when this thing is running hard... Do you have some mp3's or a video you could share???

I will say that I think this is a release more for chart position and name placement than anything. I seriously don't see AMD making more than a few thousands of these cards. Most people will do a SLI or CF setup instead, but there will be those that want the bragging rights and it will be there.

As you were stating CF is much easier to setup now a days (CF driver updates aside), I only have one board out of seven new systems at home with SLI. That said I pulled my GTX460 out of my case this week and gave it to my wife. New Egg had a shell-shocker special about a week ago for the "old" 5870 at $179 dollars. I bought two and I can say that while it may not be as nice as the new 6990 or as elegant as the 6970 CF, it only cost me $358. I still think that bang for the buck is the best deal.
 

cangelini

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Very welcome Xeno--I didn't set up any mics for this story, but I'll work to make this happen for "the next big high-end story," coming soon. I have some nice Sennheiser units that'd probably do the trick, if I can dial them in without tons of clipping :)
 

xenorage

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Very welcome Xeno--I didn't set up any mics for this story, but I'll work to make this happen for "the next big high-end story," coming soon. I have some nice Sennheiser units that'd probably do the trick, if I can dial them in without tons of clipping :)
Thanks again Chris, I will be looking forward to it. I am just having a hard time comprehending on how much louder this card is than a Scythe "ULTRA KAZE" running at 3000rpm.
 
G

Guest

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The card is a beast in performance the issue is with the noise because the fan needs to cool 2 monster gpu's if u keep a good gpu cooler then idon't see any problem with this card and by far of power consumption it should be expected if u overclock this it will consume upto 450watts but it will bring down any cards even in sli to its knees and not to mention overclocking is not mentioned in this review and it is mentiond that 6970 crossfire is faster i agree with that but they r not cooler nor quiter than 6990 in section of power consumption their crossfire nor the sli is mentioned pls post all things in the review according to me its a beast go get it
 
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