Continuing our AMD GDC 2013 coverage, the other bit of major AMD news coming out of GDC 2013 involves a consumer product after all. But not strictly as a product announcement. Rather this is more of a product tease coming out of AMD. That tease? The Radeon HD 7990.

Since the latter half of 2012, AMD partners such as PowerColor and Asus have been offering what we’ve been calling “officially unofficial” Radeon HD 7990 cards. Officially, AMD doesn’t have a 7990 SKU, but at the same time AMD will approve multi-GPU Tahiti designs, and bless them with the right to be called a 7990. So officially the 7990 doesn’t exist yet, and yet unofficially it’s been offered for months now.

With that in mind, the 7990 will be moving from officially unofficial status to just outright official status. Ending their GDC presentation, AMD’s final item was a tease of their official Radeon HD 7990 design, with word that it’s coming soon. Real soon in fact, as we later found out DICE had been using some of these 7990 cards to power their Battlefield 4 demo elsewhere at GDC.

As this is a teaser AMD isn’t saying anything about the card beyond the fact that it’s a dual Tahiti card just as the unofficially official 7990s were. But even from the few pictures they’ve strategically provided we can infer a few things.

First and foremost, it’s a complete open-air cooler. AMD’s previous dual-GPU cards have all employed some kind of blower; up through the 300W 5970 they were full blowers, and the 375W 6990 was a split blower. Open air coolers have generally high performance, but they do require a breezy case since they’re not very capable of pushing hot air out on their own. The design essentially punts cooling off to the case, which is not always a bad thing since this affords much larger – and thereby slower and quieter – cooling fans.


Second of all, we can see something about the power delivery system. Two 8pin PCIe connectors are visible, which would put power at or under 375W. AMD has always shipped their cards with the proper connectivity to pull their rated power at stock, so as long as they’re holding to that this puts an upper-limit on where the 7990’s TDP would be at stock. This would be notably lower than the unofficial cards, which are closer to 500W (though admittedly also designed for liberal overclocking). Meanwhile we can also just see the edge of the VRM circuitry; the Volterra ‘C’ is visible on the edge of what appears to be a Volterra multi-phase inductor. Volterra is widely considered to offer some of the best VRM circuitry in the industry, and has been found on previous generation AMD dual-GPU cards.

In any case, we’ll be following this up as AMD releases more information. The fact that an official 7990 is appearing now makes it hard to argue that AMD isn’t late to the party – we’re coming up on a full year since the GeForce GTX 690 – but with AMD keeping Tahiti through Q4 there’s really no reason not to do it. So we’ll have to see just what AMD comes up with, and how their design differs from the unofficial cards that have come before it.

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  • Torrijos - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    After seeing the results of AMD CrossFire performances with the new GOOD performance analysis tools I wouldn't touch an AMD card for a while, they have a lot of issues.

    I would wait to see if these type of card behave better than CrossFire solution since CrossFire some time even performs lower than one of its composing cards alone.
  • tviceman - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    Agreed. Their single card solutions and bundles are top notch. Mutli-GPU setups are just rife with problems, though.
  • B3an - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    I have 2x 6970's so i'm not bias against AMD or anything, but even i will say that AMD's Crossfire sucks. You don't need the new frame interval tools to see frame rate issues/micro stuttering, and what annoys me is that no one ever seems to point it out in reviews when you can see it with your own eyes. Typical USELESS reviewers.

    AMD should be releasing a single high-end GPU like Titan to avoid bad press about how much you can see Crossfire sucking with these new tools. Or preferably just release a new GPU. I hate that GPU releases have slowed down, we should have 8970 and GTX 780 by now.
  • StevoLincolnite - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - link

    I've got a couple of 6950's unlocked into 6970's. They have been perfectly fine for me in every game I play/played except for Skyrim on launch.
    Not everyone has issues.
  • BMNify - Sunday, March 31, 2013 - link

    "Not everyone has issues" is sometimes indistinguishable from "not everyone notices issues". The FCAT setup is expensive, but Fraps combined with FRAFS Bench Viewer can give you an inkling if there is something funky stuttering presents going into the front end of the graphics pipe. That is, if you really want to know. Sometimes blissful ignorance is preferred.
  • B3an - Monday, April 1, 2013 - link

    FCAT proves without a doubt that they DO have issues, and certain people like yourself just don't notice it for some reason. When it's pretty obvious to myself.

    And i can also write a list of games they definitely have/had issues with Crossfire, for everyone, as they're known issues which AMD has also fixed or has not got round to fixing yet. I've also built over a hundred PC's in the last 2 years, which are affected by the same problems. You either just don't seem to play many games, or have something wrong with your eyes, or you're a fanboy.
  • Araemo - Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - link

    Of course, if you read the linked article, if you're running vsync and playing certain games, there AREN'T any issues.

    That being said, there are definitely a lot of areas that could be improved with vsync off, and some that could still use improvement even with vsync on.

    Realistically though, if minor glitches bug you, you're probably running with vsync on to avoid tearing, so the AMD users in this class probably didn't notice problems as much as the nVidia users in this class (As the linked article shows, vsync basically 'fixes' the crossfire scenario in some games, while not really helping the SLI scenario much at all, in any games... so while SLI starts out better with vsync off, it doesn't get much better with vsync on either, while the crossfire setup gets a big boost from vsync)
  • JoshButterballs - Sunday, April 7, 2013 - link

    Your a fanboy also dipshit. No fuck they have issues is Nvidia's drivers perfect? No are they more stable? yes in some cases. Some games run better with AMD cards and some with Nvidia. So its just a matter of preference.
  • twtech - Saturday, April 13, 2013 - link

    On the plus side, now that AMD has seen those results as well, I would expect them to address them in future driver updates.

    I have a triple-monitor setup with 3x 30" monitors, but one of them is a 3007WFP, while the other two are U3011s. That means that nVidia surround doesn't want to work with my setup. I have to modify monitor drivers and mess with sync polarity, and it still doesn't want to work.

    Eyefinity on the other hand doesn't have these restrictions, and has other nice features for multi-monitor setups. Odds are I will switch to AMD for the next round of videocards - possibly buying one or two of these.
  • jko831 - Friday, March 29, 2013 - link

    That's basically a FirePro S10000.

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