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PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990 Review

ccokeman    -   September 16, 2012
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Testing:

Testing of the PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990 will consist of running it and comparison cards through the OverclockersClub.com suite of games and synthetic benchmarks. This will test the performance against many popular competitors. Comparisons will be made to cards of a range of capabilities to show where each card falls on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles, which should be able to provide an idea of how the cards perform relative to each other.

The system specifications will remain the same throughout the testing. No adjustment will be made to the respective control panels during the testing, with the exception of the 3DMark 11 testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA Control Panel, if applicable. I will first test the cards at stock speeds, and then overclocked to see the effects of an increase in clock speed. The cards will be placed in order from highest to lowest performance in each graph to show where they fall by comparison. The NVIDIA comparison cards will be using the 306.02 drivers with AMD cards using the Catalyst 12.8 drivers and latest CAP profile.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

 

Overclocking:

  • PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990 1137MHz core 1575MHz memory

Managing the overclocks on a pair of cores is not much harder than overclocking a single core. The one thing to look out for is when one core crashes before the other, then working the overclock to work within the overclocking margins of the pair versus the single core. In essence this card was no harder to overclock than a single HD7970. The maximum stable speeds I could attain on this sample were 1137MHz on the core or 23% higher than the factory set 925MHz base profile and almost 14% higher than the 1000MHz Boost profile. Overclocking the 1500MHz rated memory that is clocked at 1375MHz from PowercColor yielded a decent 200MHz boost to 1575MHz or a close to 15% boost. Overclocking does deliver solid improvements across the board in each of the tests run. Improvement were most evident at a resolution of 5760x1080 where I saw an increase of 14% in CIV V, 25% in BF3, and just under 18% in Batman Arkham City.

I reached these levels of performance by increasing the voltage to the GPU cores to 1200mv, bumped the power tune setting to +20 and set the fan speed to 90% to see where the clock speeds fell. Any higher on the core voltage would only add additional heat without the associated boost in clock speed one would expect so I stayed with 1200mv. Temperatures were surprisingly low for a dual core card at 62 °C under load when overclocked with the boosted fan speed. The ten 6mm heat pipes and massive airflow on the cooling solution have a lot to do with keeping the thermals in check. Make no mistake that in operation this card will make some noise with three fans. As they ramped up when controlled by the Devil 13 you could tell when the load increased on the GPU cores as the fans would ramp up to add cooling capacity.

The fans do make noise but when you listen it is not the same as many of the blower style fans on similar cards. The HD 6990 is a card that comes to mind with the load noise that lets you know the cooler is working as it should. When comparing the two, the Devil 13 is much quieter as the tonal differences are huge making the sound from the Devil 13 the more appealing of the two. Compared to the GTX 690, the Devil 13 is going to be noticeably louder. But there is always a cost for cooling performance when overclocked.

As far as overclocking utilities go pretty much all of the ones that work with AMD HD 79XX series cards are going to work with the Devil 13; it's how they work that is the key. PowerColor has its own overclocking utility utility called Powerup Tuner that allows the end user to have the ability to tweak the voltages, clock speeds on the core and memory, as well as tune the fan speed. The option to save specific settings to a profile is available and proves valuable when it comes to keeping a set "Safe" profile.

 

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

Testing for the maximum clock speed consists of looping Unigine 3.0 for 30 minutes each to see where the clock speeds fail when pushed. If the clock speed adjustment fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass a full hour of testing.

 

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Metro 2033
  2. Batman: Arkham City
  3. Battlefield 3
  4. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  5. Sid Meier's Civilization V
  6. DiRT 3
  7. Mafia II
  8. 3DMark 11

 

  • Usage:

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: PowerColor Devil 13
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Metro 2033
  6. Testing: Batman: Arkham City
  7. Testing: Battlefield 3
  8. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0
  9. Testing: Sid Meier's Civilization V
  10. Testing: DiRT 3
  11. Testing: Mafia II
  12. Testing: 3DMark 11
  13. Testing: Temperatures
  14. Testing: Power Consumption
  15. Conclusion
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