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AMD Radeon HD 6990: Cool'n'Quiet Monster

If you are into old-school American muscle cars then you probably know that V8 power and looks are sometimes second to how it sounds. The same can be applied to graphics cards, except they should be as powerful as a HEMI V8 but as quiet as Toyota Prius.

The days of small square metal plates on top of a graphics chip are long gone. Modern graphics cards have quite ingenious, but, nevertheless, large cooling solutions. You might ask why a given graphics card is so heavy and bulky, but take a look at the CPU cooler and keep in mind that it has to dissipate 50-75 W on average. Now increase the requirement by 6-8 times (and the size accordingly) and you'll end up with a proportional cooling solution for your 350 W graphics card. This is precisely why we are talking about a genius being behind contemporary graphics card cooling solutions.

In their latest Radeon HD 6990 product engineers decided to split the cooling system into four major components. The back of the board is enclosed in a shroud which effectively increases the effective heat dissipating surface area. The second improvement is on the PCB itself and with the help of phase-change TIM it allows up to 8% better thermal performance in comparison to previous thermal management solutions used by AMD. The third and most important part is the cooler itself. A single blower fan combined with dual vapor chamber design in theory operates quietly and provides efficient cooling at the same time. And finally the last piece of the puzzle is the fan casing which is about the same size as the one used on ATI Radeon HD 5970 but is designed to deliver 20% more airflow.

AMD Radeon HD 6990: Six-Eyed Monster

If Fusion is the driving marketing force for CPU or rather APU market, then AMD Eyefinity is a certain graphics card market appeal. AMD is adamant that in the near future a significant amount of users will be required to power between 3 to 6 displays from a single computer.

Standards come and go and it seems that the days of the DVI port are at their end. AMD decided to install four mini-DisplayPorts and only one DVI port as a legacy device support. This doesn't necessarily mean that you won’t be able to connect two or three monitors, which only support DVI interface. Every Radeon HD 6990 is bundled with a pair of miniDP→DVI adapters and one miniDP→HDMI converter.

This is a very interesting technology which allows for a very adaptive display configuration, as you can arrange three, four, five or even six monitors in order to achieve the best gaming experience possible. The feature is fully supported by the AAA titles coming out this year, such as Dragon Age II, Total War: SHOGUN 2, DiRT 3 and Deus Ex: Human Evolution. The only question is: whose car stays outside the garage, as such setup is quite bulky and occupies a lot of space.

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