PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990 Reviewccokeman - September 16, 2012
Category: Video Cards
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The long rumored HD 7990 that has been off and on for the past few months looks to be off directly from AMD, even though marketing slides had a dual GPU card shown in the future timeline. On the other hand board partners have been given the green light to put together their own version of the dual GPU HD 7990 / 7970X2. PowerColor is the first to step up and deliver what is going to be a niche card for the gaming enthusiast looking for a ton of graphics power in a single card form factor. NVIDIA already has beaten AMD and its partners to the punch with the GTX 690 a solid three months ago. Packing a pair of Tahiti cores onto a single PCB with a total of 6GB of GDDR5 memory onboard, the Devil 13 is essentially two HD 7970s packed onto just one PCB running at the factory HD 7970 non-GHz edition clock speeds of 925MHz on each core and 1375MHz on the memory. Both are conservative numbers with the glut of GHz edition cards clocking upwards of 1100MHz/1500MHz right out of the box. That's not to say another option is not available as the dual BIOS button on this card boosts the core clock speed to 1000MHz.
Cooling two GPU cores on a single PCB is always a challenge but PowerColor has included a large ten heat pipe, three fan triple slot cooling solution solution to keep the thermals in check. Priced at $999 there is going to be a limited market for this card and in turn there will be a limited supply of this card from PowerColor. As the first to make a dual GPU card based on AMD's Tahiti XT core, the spot light is shining brightly on PowerColor. Let's see if it has succeeded or failed in the implementation of the design; on looks alone it's a success.
From a packaging standpoint the PowerColor Devil 13 comes in a very unique package. The top of the package has what looks like a wax seal over the two halves of the lid. In the simulated pool of wax is the Devil 13 logo. The front has the name and additional art work as added eye candy. Opening the covers of the box you have a pair of "chambers" that hold the accessory bundle for the Devil 13 HD 7990. Under this box is the beast in its glory hidden deep in the bowels of the package, much like in vampire stories that are so popular now. On top of the accessory box is a card that illustrates many of the features on the PCB of the Devil 13 and is a great tool to let the end user know exactly what makes this card tick.
Pulling all the accessories out of the "chambers" shows that the bundle is stout indeed with all of the parts needed to get this card installed and running. What you get ranges from a trio of 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe power adapters, a DVI to VGA adapter, a pair of Mini DP to DVI adapters (one for a SL DVI interface and one to a DL DVI interface), a single Crossfire bridge connection, PowerColor PowerJack, Wiha tool kit, documentation, driver disk, and a unique way of talking about the warranty information on this limited edition video card. PowerColor put together an interesting way to illustrate the three-year warranty with a series of three skull shaped cutouts with part of the message on each "card." By stacking them together the message is clear that users who purchase the Devil 13 will get an exclusive three-year warranty.
What we have with the PowerColor Devil 13 is a well thought out package that includes all the accessories that one will need as well as add in value with the tool kit and PCB support system. With a $1,000 price tag though, added value is the expectation. Even more so is the performance the card is capable of delivering and what the expectations are. Will it be enough to dethrone the GTX 690?