PowerColor Devil 13 HD 7990 Review

ccokeman - 2012-08-08 05:51:33 in Video Cards
Category: Video Cards
Reviewed by: ccokeman   
Reviewed on: September 16, 2012
Price: $999

Introduction:

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.

Closer Look:

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?

Closer Look:

The first glance of the Devil 13 is impressive. The card is absolutely massive for a video card, measuring just over twelve inches in length, just over five inches high, and just over two inches from front to back. The front view shows the three fans that are used to provide airflow over the large copper and aluminum heat pipe cooling solution. A pair of 92mm and a single 80mm fans are used in this configuration. The fans are circled in red as part of the design element of the card and fit well with the black PCB. The shroud is made from aluminum and is fairly robust. The back side of the card has a back plate with the Devil 13 logo in the center as an identifier so that you can show off the card through your chassis window. The back plate serves two purposes: to act as a brace to keep the PCB from bending and to help dissipate the thermal load from the memory on the back of the PCB. Viewing the bottom and top of the Devil 13 it looks like PowerColor has managed to keep all ten of the U-shaped heat pipes inside the shroud for a clean look. When you compare this card to the GTX 690 the actual size of it is clearly evident as the GTX 690 is no slouch in the size department.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visible through the cutouts in the back plate are a series of LEDs that provide a visual indication of how heavily loaded each of the Tahiti XT cores are loaded. One strip covers the back GPU and and one the front. The enthusiast is thought of with this card as PowerColor provided a series of voltage check points on the PCB right in front of the forward most 8-pin PCIe connection. You can check voltages from the front and back side of the PCB.

 

 

Connectivity options on the Devil 13 are not quite standard for the HD 79XX series cards from AMD. Included are both a Single Link DVI and Dual Link DVI output, a single HDMI 1.4a output that supports Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and a pair of Mini Display port 1.2 connections that support daisy chaining and the use of an MST hub to support Eyefinity configurations of up to six monitors. Eyefinity 2.0 brings along added functionality with independent audio streams for each video stream, allowing that audio stream to follow the video to each specific monitor. The big red button in the middle of the I/O bracket is connected to the PCB and functions as a dual BIOS switch changing the core clock from 925MHz to 1000MHz. The memory clock speed is unchanged at 1375MHz. Airflow out of the chassis is managed with the rest of the available space used as a vent for the thermal load. The back end of the Devil 13 is vented to allow airflow out of the shroud. The fan connection is at the bottom of the back end of the PCB and leads to all three fans.

 

 

Along the top of the PCB are additional connections that include the single CrossfireX bridge connection, which allows a connection to another HD 7990 or HD 7970 for four or three-way CrossfireX configurations. The power needs for this card are significant with three 150 watt 8-pin PCIe power connections required to deliver the current needs for this card. The minimum power supply requirement comes in at a hefty 850 watts. That's just the minimum requirement so the optimum solution will be rated higher.

 

 

The massive cooling solution comes in several parts: the shroud, the three fans, the ten heat pipe-based cooler, and a back plate that adds stability as well as cooling for the GDDR5 memory on the back of the black PCB. The heat sink sits above most of the board when installed so the VRM component heat sinks and memory on the front side of the PCB only get airflow through the cooler as the only means of temperature control. The heat sink's base is a large copper plate that has a pedestal that contacts the Tahiti XT cores. There are a total of ten 6mm copper heat pipes that are employed to move the thermal load from the GPU cores and copper base to the aluminum fins to be carried away by airflow from the three PWM controlled fans. This cooling solution design as it sits is rated to disperse 550 watts of thermal energy.

 

 

 

The fan layout on the Devil 13 is as unconventional as the rest of the video card with a pair of 92mm fans flanking a single 80mm fan handling the airflow requirements of the cooling solution. The ability to remove 550 watts of thermal energy means that airflow is crucial to the survival of the card and the three fans from ApisteK seem to do the job. Little information is available on these fans but they are PWM controlled and run on 12vdc -.46a. Three fans singing at full song are going to be loud; surprisingly though a pair of reference cooled HD 7970s at 100% fan speed is much louder than the Devil 13 HD 7990. The fans excel at the job of cooing this beast down to the tune of a 72 °C average under load at stock speeds. The delta between the cores is right at 5 °C with the back core running warmer, most likely due to being in close proximity to the 12+2+2 VRM circuit.

 

Pulled apart so that the PCB is laid bare you can get a good glimpse of the PCB layout. The back end of the PCB has the digital 12+2+2 power circuit that uses PowIRstage chokes and "Super" Capacitors as labeled on the cards breakdown. The MOSFETs are covered with extruded aluminum heat sinks. The heat sink in between the cores is over a PLX bridge chip to provide 16 PCIe lanes for each GPU core to the PCIe bus. The dual BIOS button is connected to the PCB by a short wire harness plugged in just above a part of the VRM package.

 

 

 

At the heart of the Devil 13 HD 7990 are a pair of AMD's 28nm Tahiti XT cores and 2 x 3GB of GDDR5 memory on dual 384-bit bus. Each of the GCN architecture cores has a transistor count of 4.31 billion, stream processor count at 2048, texture unit count of 128, and the ROP count of 32 just like on every HD 7970 core on the market. On the Devil 13, GDDR5 memory is used with a total of 6GB on board running through a pair of 384-bit buses. Hynix GDDR5 part number H5GQ2H24MFR-R0C rated at 1500MHz is used on the Devil 13 HD 7990. Rated clock speeds from the factory are 925MHz on the GCN core and 1375MHz on the memory. A Boost clock is available at the touch of a button to increase the core speed to 1000MHz for improved performance in games. A Chil CHL8228 digital controller is used to enable software monitoring and voltage control on the Devil 13 HD 7990. A pair of these are used, one for each GPU core.

 

 

As the first to make the leap to designing a custom card it looks like PowerColor had its work cut out. Running at the default clock speeds it should match up well with the GTX 690. But with three 8-pin PCIe power connections the power consumed may well be higher. On just looks and size alone this card is a beast, so let's see if the performance can match the looks and packaging.

Specifications:

Graphics Engine
RADEON HD7990
Video Memory
6GB GDDR5
Engine Clock
925MHz / 1000MHz
Memory Clock
1375MHz x 4 (5.5Gbps)
Memory Interface
384bit X2
DirectX® Support
11.1
Bus Standard
PCIE 3.0
Standard Display Connectors
DL DVI-I / SL DVI-D / HDMI / 2 X mini DisplayPort
Feature Support
OpenGL
Support
CrossFireX™ Technology
Support
ATI Stream Technology
Support
ATI Eyefinity Technology
Support
ATI Hypermemory Technology
 
Display Support
VGA Output
Yes, By DVI to VGA converter
DVI Output
DL-DVI-I/ SL-DVI-D
DisplayPort
On Board(mini DP) x2
HDMI
On Board
TV Output
 
HDTV Output
 
HDCP Support
Support
Maximum Resolution
 
VGA
2048x1536
DVI
2560x1600
DisplayPort
4096x2160
HDMI
4096x2160
Power Specs + Board Dimensions
Board Dimensions
315mmx140mmx60mm
Minimum System Power requirement (W)
850W
Extension Power Connector
three 8-pin PCI Express Power connectors

 

Features:

 

 

 

 

 

Allinformation courtesy of PowerColor @ http://www.powercolor.com/us/products_features.asp?id=423#Specification

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:

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.

 

 

  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

 

  1. Temperatures
  2. Power Consumption

Testing:

Part first-person shooter, part survival horror, Metro 2033 is based on the novel of the same name, written by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. You play as Artyom in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where you'll spend most of your time traversing the metro system, with occasional trips to the surface. Despite the dark atmosphere and bleak future for mankind, the visuals are anything but bleak. Powered by the 4A Engine, with support for DirectX 11, NVIDIA PhysX, and NVIDIA 3D Vision, the tunnels are extremely varied – in your travels, you'll come across human outposts, bandit settlements, and even half-eaten corpses. Ensuring you feel all the tension, there is no map and no health meter. Get lost without enough gas mask filters and adrenaline shots and you may soon wind up as one of those half-eaten corpses, chewed up by some horrifying manner of irradiated beast that hides in the shadows just waiting for some hapless soul to wander by.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Metro 2033, PowerColor's HD 7990 Devil 13 is faster at each resolution both stock and overclocked than the GTX 690. A pair of Black Edition HD 7970s in Crossfire is even faster still with higher clock speeds.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to Batman: Arkham Asylum released in 2009. This action adventure game based on DC Comics' Batman super hero was developed by Rocksteady Studios and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Batman: Arkham City uses the Unreal 3 engine.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whereas the Devil 13 HD 7990 was faster than the GTX 690 in Metro 2033, the tables are turned in Batman: Arkham City.

Testing:

Battlefield 3 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE and published by Electronic Arts. Battlefield 3 uses the Frostbyte 2 game engine and is the direct successor to Battlefield 2. Released in North America on October 25, 2011, the game supports DirectX 10 and 11.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In BF3 the Devil 13 is slower than the GTX 690 at 1920x1080 using the stock speeds and delivers identical results when the two cards are overclocked. At 5760x1080, the Devil 13 is the higher performing card when overclocked yet both the GTX 690 and Devil 13 offer the same performance at their respective base clock speeds.

Testing:

Unigine Heaven Benchmark 3.0 is a DirectX 11 GPU benchmark based on the Unigine engine. This was the first DX 11 benchmark to allow testing of DX 11 features. What sets the Heaven Benchmark apart is the addition of hardware tessellation, available in three modes – Moderate, Normal and Extreme. Although tessellation requires a video card with DirectX 11 support and Windows Vista/7, the Heaven Benchmark also supports DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0. Visually, it features beautiful floating islands that contain a tiny village and extremely detailed architecture.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1920x1080, the performance delta between the Devil 13 and GTX 690 come in at 3FPS. When the resolution is scaled up to a three panel setup, the Devil 13 is the highest performing single card by a large margin.

Testing:

Civilization V is a turn-based strategy game. The premise is to play as one of 18 civilizations and lead the civilization from the "dawn of man" up to the space age. This latest iteration of the Civilization series uses a new game engine and massive changes to the way the AI is used throughout the game. Civilization V is developed by Firaxis Games and is published by 2K games and was released for Windows in September of 2010. Testing will be done using actual game play with FPS measured by Fraps through a series of five turns, 150 turns into the game.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At over 200FPS at 1920x1080, the HD 7990 Devil 13 and GTX 690 are going to deliver fluid fast paced game play. When moving to a three panel 5760x1080 setup, the HD 7990 Devil 13 delivers 20+FPS margins over the GTX 690.

Testing:

DiRT 3 is the third iteration of this series. Published and developed by Codemasters, this game uses the EGO 2.0 game engine and was released in the US on PC in May of 2011.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a game that AMD supports, the HD 7990 does well as expected in this game at both 1920x1080 and 5760x1080 with double digit increases over the GTX 690.

Testing:

Mafia II is a third-person shooter that puts you into the shoes of a poor, Sicilian immigrant, Vito Scarletta. Vito has just returned home from serving overseas in the liberation of fascist Italy, to avoiding his jail sentence, to finding his family in debt. The debt must be repaid by the end of the week, and his childhood friend, Joe Barbaro, conveniently happens to have questionable connections that he assures will help Vito clear the debt by that time. As such, Vito is sucked into a world of quick cash. Released in North America for PC in August of 2010, the game was developed by 2K Czech, published by 2K, and uses the Illusion 1.3 game engine.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Mafia II the GTX 690 is significantly faster than the HD 7990 Devil 13. The larger margins are to be expected with this game as it is one of the NVIDIA supported titles in the suite.

Testing:

3DMark 11 is the next installment in Futuremark’s 3DMark series, with Vantage as its predecessor. The name implies that this benchmark is for Microsoft DirectX 11 and with an unintended coincidence, the name matches the year proceeding its release (which was the naming scheme to some prior versions of 3DMark nonetheless). 3DMark 11 is designed solely for DirectX 11, so Windows Vista or 7 are required along with a DirectX 11 graphics card in order to run this test. The Basic Edition has unlimited free tests on performance mode, whereas Vantage is only allowed for a single test run. The advanced edition costs $19.95 and unlocks nearly all of the features of the benchmark, while the professional edition runs $995.00 and is mainly suited for corporate use. The new benchmark contains six tests, four of which are aimed only at graphical testing; one to test for physics handling and one to combine graphics and physics testing together. The open source Bullet Physics library is used for physics simulation and although not as mainstream as Havok or PhysX, it still seems to be a popular choice.

With the new benchmark, comes two new demos that can be watched, both based on the tests. Unlike the tests, however, these contain basic audio. The first demo is titled "Deep Sea" and involves a few vessels exploring what looks to be a sunken U-Boat. The second demo is titled "High Temple" and presents a location similar to South American tribal ruins with statues and the occasional vehicle around. The demos are simple in that they have no story – they are really just a demonstration of what the testing will be like. The vehicles have the logos of the sponsors MSI and Antec on their sides – the sponsorships helping to make the basic edition free. The four graphics tests are slight variants of the demos. I will use the three benchmark test preset levels to test the performance of each card. The presets are used as they are comparable to what can be run with the free version, so that results can be compared across more than just a custom set of test parameters.

 

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 3DMark 11 the GTX 690 is still king of the hill leading the results in all of the tests, stock and overclocked.

Testing:

Temperature testing will be accomplished by loading the video card to 100% using Unigine's Heaven Benchmark Version 3.0, with MSI's Afterburner overclocking utility for temperature monitoring. I will be using a resolution of 1920x1200 using 8xAA and a five-run sequence to run the test, ensuring that the maximum thermal threshold is reached. The fan speed will be left in the control of the driver package and video card's BIOS for the stock load test, with the fan moved to 100% to see the best possible cooling scenario for the overclocked load test. The idle test will involve a 20-minute cool-down, with the fan speeds left on automatic in the stock speed testing and bumped up to 100% when running overclocked.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Temperature wise I was impressed with how cool the Devil 13 HD 7990 ran under load in both the stock and overclocked testing. Average temperatures of 72 °C under load at stock speeds and using the default fan profile is a significant improvement over the last generation HD 6990, even with its capacity to shed 400+ watts. The 550+ watt capacity of the cooling solution on the Devil 13 means you won't be cooking your card playing the latest games. Against the GTX 690 it is better on both counts, however the noise penalty at 100% fan speed is going to make the difference for some users.

Testing:

Power consumption of the system will be measured at both idle and loaded states, taking into account the peak voltage of the system with each video card installed. I will use Unigine's Heaven Benchmark version 2.5 to put a load onto the GPU using the settings below. A 15-minute load test will be used to heat up the GPU, with the highest measured temperature recorded as the result. The idle results will be measured after 15 minutes of inactivity on the system. With dual-GPU setups, the two core temperatures will be averaged.

Settings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at the comparison between a pair of HD 7970s in Crossfire and what the Devil 13 draws current wise, the Devil 13 comes up smelling like roses drawing 75 watts less under load than the pair of HD 7970s. Against the GTX 690, the Devil 13 draws 90+ watts more in the same test.

Conclusion:

And here we are with the results of the card AMD chose not to build but let its partners take the best shot at delivering what is in any shape or form a niche card; much like the HD 6870X2 that PowerColor built. As the first out of the gate PowerColor has put together a card that performs well at the as delivered clock speeds of 925MHz on the pair of Tahiti XT cores and 1375MHz on the 3GB x 2 GDDR5 memory. Does the Devil 13 HD 7990 hit a home run in terms of performance? When compared to similar cards including AMD's HD 6990 and NVIDIA's GTX 690 and GTX 590 it delivers excellent performance characteristics with wins and losses usually following along with which manufacturer supported the game. The largest performance deltas are seen at the 5760x1080 resolution where the additional memory on board the Devil 13 HD 7990 pays off handsomely. However for those who look at 3DMark 11 as the ultimate benchmark, NVIDIA still has a strangle hold at the top of the charts with the GTX 690 by a significant margin.

If the performance at stock speeds is not enough there is the option of enabling the dual BIOS switch that boosts the core clock speed to a cool 1000MHz for that next level of performance at the push of a button. Overclocking the Devil 13 HD 7990 even further by manually tweaking the card allowed the performance to scale to yet another level. I was able to pull just over 210MHz more out of the pair of cores and another 200MHz out of the 6GB of GDDR5 memory at 1575MHz. The largest boost in performance from overclocking came in Battlefield 3 with a 19FPS boost at 1920x1080. The realities of the Devil 13 HD 7990 is that you can play just about any game with the eye candy turned on at 1920x1080 and 5760x1080 without worry. Running in Crossfire mode with a HD 7970 was possible although I was not able to see the same level of scaling I see with a three card HD 7970 setup. However increases in several games were as high as 10FPS in Batman: Arkham City just by adding the additional card. A board with more PCIe lanes in the second slot might show better results in this configuration.

To deliver this kind of performance, PowerColor delivers a custom built card with a robust 12+2+2 phase power circuit using a digital PWM design with an up to 90% efficiency rating. Voltage measure points are put on board next to the power connections for those looking to accurately measure the voltage applied to the core and components. All of the gaming chops that the Devil 13 has come in a large by huge package. The Devil 13 is not the card you will want to use in a small form factor build as it covers up to three slots and measures 315mm x 140mm x 60mm or just over 12 x 5 x 2.25 inches.

The impressive size is due to the custom PCB and cooling solution employed by PowerColor. While huge it does handle the the job of keeping the Devil 13 outside the range of the flames of hell. The ten heat pipe dual copper plate solution is built to dissipate up to 550 watts of thermal energy. This it does with incredible efficiency keeping the Devil 13 below 70 °C when overclocked. To reach this level I did raise the fan speeds on the three fans to 100%. This does generate some noise but even as loud as it is at full throttle, the HD 6990's blower fan is significantly louder. At stock speeds the Devil 13 is still quite cool running at 72 °C. As cool as the Devil 13 runs it uses power at a higher level than the GTX 690 by almost 100 watts at stock speeds and right at 100 watts when overclocked, making the thermal performance all that more impressive. To run the Devil 13, an 850 watt power supply is required as you will need three PCIe 8-pin power connections. If you do not have them a trio of 6-pin to 8-pin PCIe adapters are included in the bundle.

As a decidedly niche card that is going to commend a premium based on the build characteristics, unique bundle (which includes a Wiha tool kit), and the impressive packaging used for the Devil 13. Pricing is expected in the $999 range with a thousand or so cards being built. Availability should be by the time you read this article as there have been a couple issues holding up delivery. At $999 you have the option of buying a pair of HD 7970 cards and running them in a CrossfireX configuration for about $100 less than the $999 asking price for the Devil 13 HD 7990. If you pick up a pair of factory overclocked cards like the XFX Black Edition cards used for the Crossfire test results you can expect to see a slightly better level of performance to go along with the dual card configuration.

As a single PCIe slot video card the PowerColor HD 7990 Devil 13 delivers excellent results both in terms of cooling and gaming performance, especially when you move to an Eyefinity setup. It has looks that kill, a good design, and the ability to run it all with a single card.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: