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Conclusion

The number one rule for choosing a multi-GPU configuration is to make up your mind beforehand about what games you are going to run on it because the performance of any modern multi-GPU solution depends on the graphics driver’s ability to distribute the load among the GPUs effectively in the particular game.

If you’ve got a single Radeon HD 6970 and want to give your computer a dramatic boost by adding an ASUS EAH6990/3DI4S/4GD5 to it, the $699 investment will give you a performance gain of 90% on average and up to 200% in individual tests at 1600x900. Nvidia’s alternative, the 3-way GeForce GTX 570 SLI, is slightly faster than the 3-way CrossFireX tandem on average at this resolution.

The higher display resolution puts the graphics subsystem resources to better use. The ASUS Radeon HD 6990+6970 tandem has excellent results. It is 100% faster than the single Radeon HD 6970 and 30% ahead of the dual-chip Radeon HD 6990. Nvidia's 3-way GeForce GTX 570 SLI delivers the same performance as the 3-way CrossFireX configuration, though.

Of course, it is the resolution of 2560x1600 that’s the most relevant for such premium-class graphics subsystems and the ASUS Radeon HD 6990+6970 tandem enjoys a larger advantage over the junior solutions here. It is 130% faster than the single Radeon HD 6970, for example. The 3-way GeForce GTX 570 SLI loses its ground and falls an average 3% behind the 3-way CrossFireX, losing five out of the 17 tests.

So, which 3-way graphics subsystem is better? It’s hard to answer definitely since the competition is as tough in the premium sector as among much more affordable products. The ASUS Radeon HD 6990+6970 configuration takes less room in the system case, consumes somewhat less power and does not need a heap of power cables.

On the other hand, the 3-way GeForce GTX 570 SLI is almost as fast as the CrossFireX tandem in sheer performance whereas the mentioned benefits are not so crucial after all. If you are ready to spend $1000 for your gaming computer, you will surely buy a roomy system case and a PSU with lots of power cables. In fact, the choice may be made on the basis of your preferences to the particular brand.

So, if you’ve already got bored with your Radeon HD 6970 and want to get new thrills by adding a Radeon HD 6990 to it, you won't be disappointed with the performance of the resulting tandem, especially when you use it together with a high-resolution monitor.

ASUS EAH6990/3DI4S/4GD5: Summary

The ASUS EAH6990/3DI4S/4GD5 is a copy of AMD’s reference card which has already got a reputation of a well-made high-performance product. We don’t think that ASUS engineers might introduce anything to make it even faster or more desirable for some other reason.

Yes, there is no limit to perfection, but sometimes it is more important to stop at a good moment and Asus did exactly that. ASUS EAH6990/3DI4S/4GD5 is going to cope with anything you can throw at it. It even has some overclocking potential in case you need a little extra speed.

Highs:

  • One of the fastest stand-alone graphics cards in the market;
  • Wide range of supported FSAA modes;
  • Best quality of anisotropic filtering in the industry;
  • Supports up to 6 monitors;
  • Fully-fledged hardware HD video decoding, including DivX and 3D;
  • High-quality HD video post-processing with scalability;
  • Integrated sound core with HD support;
  • Sound over HDMI;
  • HDMI 1.4a;
  • DisplayPort 1.2;
  • Acrive DisplayPort 1.2 adapter.

Lows:

  • High price;
  • Large size;
  • Noticeable noise in 3D mode;
  • Low energy-efficiency;
  • Very driver-dependent performance;
  • Supports less GPGPU-accelerated software than the competitors.
 
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