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Sapphire Radeon HD 6990 Review

ccokeman    -   March 13, 2011
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Testing:

Testing of the Sapphire Radeon HD 6990 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 equal and greater capabilities to show where they fall on the performance ladder. The games used are some of today's newest and most popular titles to give you 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 Vantage testing, where PhysX will be disabled in the NVIDIA control panel. I will test the cards at stock speeds, then overclocked in order to see the effects of any increases in clock speed. The cards are placed in order from highest to lowest performing in the graphs to show where the cards fall by comparison.

 

 

Comparison Video Cards:

 

Overclocking:

  • Sapphire HD 6990 940MHz 1473MHz

Overclocking on the HD 6990 is a simple as flicking a switch. Although you may not like the ramifications of flipping this switch if the card goes belly up as one of my GTX 570s did after a quick batch of testing for this article. By using the AUSUM switch on the spine of the card you can take the card from its default 830MHz clocks to the overdriven 880MHz at 1.175v. AMD gives the enthusiast/overclocker the ability to see a speed bump with nothing more than flicking a switch. Truth be told it works and shows a slight FPS increase when you need it. On the other hand we have the way we normally do things and used a combination of tools including Sapphire's TRIXX utility to bump the clocks up. The core was bumped up to an aggressive 950MHz to start with and was a bit to much for the card and voltage capabilities of 1.175v. Reducing the clock speed to 940Mhz was met with success and is the final clock speed I was able to achieve. This is an increase of 110MHz over the 830Mhz base speed on the cores. The GDDR5 memory scaled quite well and was able to reach a lofty 1473MHz before causing issues in the gaming tests. 1500Mhz was my target as the 6970 seems to reach these speeds at will but a 223MHz improvement is well worth the effort. To reach these speeds I left the AUSUM switch in the overclocked mode and bumped up the fan speed to 80% as that's all I could really stand for the duration of my testing. AMD just cannot get the airflow vs. noise problem solved on its last few releases and seem to be taking steps backwards. Bumping up the fan has advantages but the noise penalty may not be worth the improved cooling.

 

Maximum Clock Speeds:

In the past, I had used MSI's Kombuster utility to check for stability coupled with the ability to run through the entire test suite. I have found that some game tests would still fail with this utility, so I have moved to testing with several games at maximum settings through several resolutions to verify the clock speeds that are listed below. Why the change? I have found some cards will play fine at a 4xAA setting, but fail when using 8xAA due to the increased graphics load. If it fails, then the clock speeds and tests are rerun until they pass.

   

 

  • Gaming Tests:
  1. Aliens vs. Predator
  2. Metro 2033
  3. Crysis Warhead
  4. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  5. Just Cause 2
  6. Unigine Heaven Benchmark 2.1
  7. Batman: Arkham Asylum
  8. Battlefield: Bad Company 2
  9. 3DMark 11
  10. 3DMark Vantage
  • Usage:
  1. Temperature
  2. Power Consumption



  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Closer Look: The Video Card
  3. Specifications & Features
  4. Testing: Setup & Overclocking
  5. Testing: Aliens vs Predator
  6. Testing: Metro 2033
  7. Testing: Crysis Warhead
  8. Testing: Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2
  9. Testing: Just Cause 2
  10. Testing: Unigine Heaven Benchamrk 2.1
  11. Testing: Batman Arkham Asylum
  12. Testing: Battlefield Bad Company 2
  13. Testing: 3DMark 11
  14. Testing: 3DMark Vantage
  15. Testing: Temperatures
  16. Testing: Power Consumption
  17. Conclusion:
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