AMD’s behemoth takes the crown, yet again.
With so much power onboard already, I wasn’t expecting much room for overclocking in the HD 6990, so it came as no surprise that the maximum stable overclock I achieved was 920Mhz on the Core, up from 830Mhz stock while Memory speeds remained the same at 5000Mhz.
Not such a huge jump, but still impressive considering that temperatures remained relatively same at 79°C under load and 40°C while idling. Of course, this nicely takes me to the biggest issue of the HD 6990, the noise. On idle and under medium stress (running benchmarks like Far Cry 2 and StarCraft II) the HD 6990 was hardly loud. Under full stress (running benchmarks like Unigine and Just Cause 2) the HD 6990 got really loud, but not louder than two GTX 580s in SLI or HD 6870s in CrossFire. On our open testbed the HD 6990 got very annoying, but inside a PC case tucked under a table, your mileage may vary.
The AMD HD 6990 occupies a very niche market segment, whereby it’s outperformed by the GTX 580 in SLI, but will also cost about $300 less. It provides an all-in-one solution for those with a dual or triple monitor setup with stable frame rates, but a little noisy. Yes, for $700 you can easily go for a HD 6970 CrossFire setup, which may actually beat the HD 6990 in some benchmarks as it scales better, but you’re talking about more space and power being used up. The noise argument becomes moot at that point. At the end of the day, the HD 6990 is still the most powerful single graphics card on Earth today, and that alone maybe enough for many to pay the high (but not too high) price.