AMD “Previews” Radeon HD 7990 Graphics Card, a Year Later Than Expected

AMD Teases Reference Design of Dual-Chip Radeon HD 7990 Graphics Adapter for Hardcore Gamers

by Anton Shilov
03/28/2013 | 11:55 PM

For the first time ever, Advanced Micro Devices showcased the reference design of its dual-chip Radeon HD 7990 graphics card at the Game Developers Conference this week. Despite of the fact that a number of AMD’s partners, including Asustek Computer and PowerColor, have been shipping dual-chip boards based on Radeon HD 7970 chips for a while now, AMD pretended that the 7990 is a major innovation.


AMD Radeon HD 7990 graphics card (code-named Malta) is expected to carry two Tahiti XT (Radeon HD 7970) graphics processing units (GPUs) and 6GB of GDDR5 memory onboard. Thanks to two AMD Tahiti XT graphics chips, the dual-chip graphics solution will have 4096 stream processors, 256 texture units, 64 render back ends and so on. The novelty will have some kind of Turbo mode that will clock the chips higher when thermal design power allows. Besides, the reference design of 7990 will have four mDP display connectors as well as two dual-link DVI connectors to support up to six displays at once, something that Nvidia's GeForce GTX 690 cannot.

Asustek Computer introduced its Ares II graphics card with two Radeon HD 7970 chips onboard earlier this year, whereas PowerColor has been shipping its Devil13 HD 7990 for over half of year now. But, perhaps, the more important thing is not what AMD demonstrated, but how. The company teamed up with DICE and the two showcased not only the HD 7990, but also Battlefield 4 in action.

“AMD and EA DICE are proud partners in gaming, with a recent history that includes the award-winning Battlefield 3 in 2011. That relationship continues today with the world’s first public demonstration of Battlefield 4, powered by the AMD Radeon HD 7990 – the world’s fastest graphics card! Today’s unveiling not only demonstrates the commitment EA DICE makes to state-of-the-art PC graphics, it stands as further proof that the critically-acclaimed graphics core next (GCN) architecture in the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series is the best choice for truly advanced PC games,” the statement by AMD reads.

Image by PCWorld web-site. Click to Enlarge.

AMD was supposed to release its dual-chip flagship graphics card, the Radeon HD 7990, sometime in April or May, 2012, in order to compete with Nvidia’s dual-chip GeForce GTX 690. However, back then the company decided to wait, then delay the product, then worked on a 12GB version of the HD 7990 and then just okayed proprietary multi-GPU designs by its add-in-board partners.

The Radeon HD 7990 graphics card from AMD is nothing exactly new. The company demonstrated a dual-chip FirePro board with triple-fan cooling system back at Siggraph 2012 in June, so the design has existed for quite some time. Given that AMD claims the product is whisper quite, it can be expected that the cooling system is very efficient, which implies on usage of vapor chambers with extensive amount of heatpipes (they can be observed on the picture above). The board has two 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which means that it is power hungry, yet is designed to be overclockable.  

After showing the graphics card, AMD again did not reveal any particular details about it. We still do not know when it hits the market and how much it will cost. But the most intriguing question is whether there are a lot of potential buyers for the product that was supposed to be launched in mid-2012…