Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finally the real AMD Radeon HD7990 comes out!

AMD certainly took all of their sweet time to bring out their dual GPU behemoth – namely the HD7990 (or codenamed Malta). Before this official release, Power Color and Asus had dual HD7970 cards out and they even used the official HD7990 in their product names. But they were not well done. They needed three 8 pin PCI-E power connectors to juice up. That’s a lot of power. The new card – the real thing – needs only two of them. Probably AMD cherry picked the best GPUs coming out of the TSMC (or Global Foundry? or both?) fabs, thus using less power and even overclocking better. The card is rated at 375W TDP, as all the dual GPU cards that have come out in the last couple of years. Nothing surprising there. Perhaps AMD couldn’t fit it into 375W before the process technology matured. Now it is that time.

Not only you are getting pretty much the fastest graphics card in the world (maybe not as fast as the Asus Ares II – but it is the same blood that runs within the veins of both cards), you are getting 8 (you read it right, 8) free games with it. They are not shabby games by any means; most of them, it not all of them are the flagship games that came out in the end of last year and this year so far.

AMD-Radeon-HD-7990

But is anyone interested about it? I am not. Because this card basically runs in Crossfire mode and according to the suite of reviews we’ve seen that come out in the last few months about frame latency and such, Crossfire is doing horribly in most games. You might see higher FPS numbers with this card compared to the GeForce Titan or even the GeForce GTX690, but game play isn’t smooth. Hence the HD7990 couldn’t have come out at a worse time.

Note: I do know how bad Crossfire was because I had a couple of HD6950’s in Crossfire before I moved to a single GTX670. Yes, I know it is slower on paper. But in reality, it is not. The gaming on a single card is so much satisfying. I know what I had was old generation cards, and it is true that I don’t have first hand experience when it comes to HD7000 series cards in Crossfire, but a lot of people are complaining about it. It is about time somebody did something about it, instead of saying that these problems are inherent to multi GPU setups and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

But…there is good news. AMD is actually making progress in fixing this issue. There is already a prototype driver given to the reviewers to test, and it certainly does the trick. There seems to be a small performance penalty – but it is actually not. Because the performance was much worse to begin with – the real performance I mean. And according to preliminary results posted on PCPer.com, it seems AMD have done it. Yes, this is just a prototype driver and there are a lot of things they need to do before pushing it out to the customers. But I like to see that there is some hope. Now that AMD is on right track, I just hope the review sites will show them some respect.

But as of this day, HD7990 is not a good buy. Wait a couple of months and see how things go. I know it cannot get any worse and AMD can only rise up from this mess.

Read W1zaard’s review here.

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