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AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review - -
AMD Radeon HD 7990
Reviewed by
James Wright
AMD Radeon HD 7990 Review The AMD HD 7990 definitely gives NVidia a run for its money and games performed exceptionally well on it.

Design 9.5
Features 9.5
Performance 9.5
Value 9.0
Distributor: AMD
Review Date:
Aug 2013
James Wright


AMD Radeon HD 7990

Here it is... one of the world's most powerful dual-core graphics cards, the AMD Radeon HD 7990 that boasts a pair of Tahiti graphics processors which is like two 7970 cards in one. The Tahiti GPU's uses 28nm technology and supports 2048 stream processors, a full 384-bit memory bus width plus 3GB of GDDR5 RAM. It was definitely made for gaming!

However with AMD 7990 HD, it has two of these cards in one which in turn has a core clock of 950Mhz  (1000Mhz with Boost), 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, 1500Mhz Memory Clock plus a wealth of other features. Your gaming will take you to a whole new level that has not been experienced before.

The GPU of the 7990 HD has also made the transition to the Malta and the like Tahiti series allows you to seriously overclock the card. In terms of overclocking, we did manage to push this card to around 1130Mhz with a maximum memory clock of 1640Mhz. That's quite an impressive feat in itself.

This is definitely not your father's gaming card but something far more powerful and superior. It's seriously the next-generation of graphics cards for PC gamers. For those techno junkies... let's have a look at the specifications of the HD 7990 below;


  • 950MHz Engine Clock (Up to 1.0GHz with Boost)4
  • 6GB GDDR5 Memory
  • 1500MHz Memory Clock (6.0 Gbps GDDR5)
  • 288GB/s memory bandwidth (maximum)
  • 8.2 TFLOPs Single Precision compute power
  • GCN Architecture
    • 64 Compute Units (4096 Stream Processors)
    • 256 Texture Units
    • 256 Z/Stencil ROP Units
    • 64 Color ROP Units
    • Quad geometry units
    • Quad Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE)
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 bus interface
  • Full DirectX® 11.1 compatibility
    • 9th generation programmable hardware tessellation units
    • Shader Model 5.0
    • DirectCompute 11
    • Accelerated multi-threading
    • HDR texture compression
    • Order-independent transparency
  • OpenGL 4.2 support
    • Partially Resident Textures (PRT)
      • Ultra-high resolution texture streaming technology
  • Image quality enhancement technology
    • Up to 24x multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing modes
    • Adaptive anti-aliasing
    • Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) 2.0
    • DirectX® 9/10/11 Super Sample Anti-Aliasing (SSAA)
      • Automatic LOD adjustment (Requires AMD Catalyst™ 12.4 or higher)
    • 16x angle independent anisotropic texture filtering
    • 128-bit floating point HDR rendering
  • AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology2
    • Up to 6 displays supported with DisplayPort 1.2 Multi-Stream Transport
    • Independent resolutions, refresh rates, color controls, and video overlays
    • Display grouping
      • Combine multiple displays to behave like a single large display
  • AMD App Acceleration3
    • OpenCL 1.2 Support
    • Microsoft C++ AMP
    • DirectCompute 11
    • Double Precision Floating Point
    • AMD HD Media Accelerator
      • Unified Video Decoder (UVD)
        • H.264
        • VC-1
        • MPEG-2 (SD & HD)
        • MVC (Blu-ray 3D)
        • MPEG-4 Part 2 (DivX/Xvid)
        • Adobe Flash
        • DXVA 1.0 & 2.0 support
      • Video Codec Engine (VCE)
        • Requires AMD Catalyst 12.7 Beta (Or higher)
        • Multi-stream hardware H.264 encoder
        • Full-fixed mode: 1080p @ 60 FPS encoding
        • Hybrid mode: Stream Processor-assisted encoding
      • Enhanced Video Quality features
        • Advanced post-processing and scaling
          • Deblocking
          • Denoising
          • Automatic deinterlacing
          • Mosquito noise reduction
          • Edge enhancement
          • 3:2 pulldown detection
        • Advanced video color correction
          • Brighter whites processing (Blue Stretch)
          • Independent video gamma control
          • Flesh tone correction
          • Color vibrance control
          • Dynamic contrast
          • Dynamic video range control
  • AMD HD3D technology5
    • Stereoscopic 3D display/glasses support
    • Blu-ray 3D support
    • Stereoscopic 3D gaming
    • 3rd party Stereoscopic 3D middleware software support
  • AMD CrossFire™ multi-GPU technology6
    • Dual, triple or quad-GPU scaling
  • Cutting-edge integrated display support
    • DisplayPort 1.2
      • Max resolution: 4096x2160 @ 60 Hz per display
      • Multi-Stream
      • 21.6 Gbps bandwidth (HBR2)
      • High bit-rate audio
      • Quad HD/4K/UHDTV display support
      • 1080p60 Stereoscopic 3D (Frame Sequential Format) 
    • HDMI® (With 4K, 3D, x.v.Color™ and Deep Color)
      • Max resolution: 4096x2160 @ 30 Hz
      • 1080p30 Stereoscopic 3D (Packed Frame Format)
      • Quad HD/4K/UHDTV video display support
    • Dual-link DVI with HDCP
      • Max resolution: 2560x1600
    • VGA
      • Max resolution: 2048x1536
  • Integrated HD audio controller
    • Output protected high bit rate 7.1 channel surround sound over HDMI with no additional cables required
    • Supports AC-3, AAC, Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio formats
  • AMD PowerPlay™ power management technology4
    • Automatic power management with low power idle states
  • AMD PowerTune technology with Boost)4
    • Intelligent TDP management technology
    • Dynamic clockspeed/voltage/performance enhancement for games and applications
  • AMD ZeroCore Power technology4
    • Ultra-low idle power when the system’s display is in suspend
    • Efficient low power mode for desktop work
    • Secondary GPU powers down when graphics card is idle
  • AMD Catalyst™ graphics and HD video configuration software
    • Software support for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8
    • AMD Catalyst™ Control Center - AMD Catalyst™ software application and user interface for setup, configuration, and accessing features of AMD Radeon products.
  • Unified Graphics display driver - AMD Catalyst™ software enabling other PC programs and devices to use advanced graphics, video, and features of AMD Radeon™ products.

Pushing all the above aside and translating this into laymen terms is not an easy feat. The HD 7990 is pure power and when it comes to calculating graphics, it can throw around a whole world of information in nanoseconds, especially its raster operations and texture fill rates. For gaming, this means silky smooth graphics and when you see Tomb Raider on this card, you will fall in love with Lara Croft again, the tessellation on her hair is to die for.

Another interesting element of this card is the power consumption which is quite low and runs at 375 watts. Generally cards this powerful and this power hungry are quite noisy but this is not the case with the HD 7990 and although it has three fans, it is actually very quiet and almost unnoticeable when your games kick into over drive and more importantly, it doesn't sound like a jet engine. The card also supports a ZeroCore mode that improves power consumption of the card when it is not used by high intensity applications such as games.

Given that, the card is quite long 30.48cm (12 inches) and requires two eight-pin power connections, so you need to ensure that your power supply and motherboard are appropriate for this beast.

Amazingly, this card can produce video on up to five display outputs which is divided into four Mini-Display Ports and one Dual-Link DVI port. Then again, if you want to go truly insane, you can connect this card to another HD 7990 via the single crossfire connector. This of course can be used for other cards from this series such as the HD 7970 or 7950.

Test System

Benchmarking is dependent on a whole wealth of options such as memory, hard drive speed, CPU speed and lots of other factors. We tested this card on an Intel based system and for all gaming, we used a FULL HD resolution of 1920 x 1080.

System Specifications

  • Intel Core i7-3770K

  • ASUS Maximum V Gene LGA Intel Z77

  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance Memory DDR4 @ 1600Mhz

  • Crucial m4 SSD 256GB Drive

  • Windows 8 64-bit

This card also supports the following games natively which is quite unprecedented for a graphics card. As you can see, these titles are all AAA gaming titles and BioShock Infinite and Tomb Raider looked amazing on the HD 7990.

  • Crysis 3

  • BioShock Infinite

  • Tomb Raider

  • DeusEx: Human Revolution™

  • Sleeping Dogs™

  • Hitman: Absolution™

  • Far Cry® 3

  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon


Before we got into our gaming tests, we first decided to the test the card with 3DMark 11. This popular benchmarking application makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. It's an essential tool for both gamers and bench markers alike. The card scored over 15,000 with 3DMark which is in the extreme end of high-end graphics cards.


Assassin's Creed 3

In Assassin's Creed 3, you are Connor, warrior son of a Native American mother and British father. As the colonies draw closer to revolution, you will dedicate your life to the freedom of your clan, becoming the spark that ignites the revolution into a full blaze. Although only scoring 42.9 frames per second, the game looked spectacular in FULL HD with all the detailed turned on.

42.9 FPS

Batman Arkham City

Batman: Arkham City builds upon the intense, atmospheric foundation of Batman: Arkham Asylum, sending players soaring into Arkham City – five times larger than the game world in Batman: Arkham Asylum – and the new maximum security “home” for all of Gotham City’s thugs, gangsters and insane criminal masterminds. In this open world game and at FULL HD, it was silky smooth and looked fantastic on our 27" LCD.

84.3 FPS

Battlefield 3

Battlefield 3 leaps ahead of its time with the power of Frostbite 2, the next instalment of DICE's cutting-edge game engine. This state-of-the-art technology is the foundation on which Battlefield 3 is built, delivering enhanced visual quality, a grand sense of scale, massive destruction, dynamic audio and incredibly lifelike character animations. Scoring almost 150 frames per second, this is the speed you need to become a first person shooter hero. I thought this would be the best that this card could produce but I was wrong.

149 FPS

BioShock Infinite

In this first-person shooter set in 1912, the player assumes the role of former Pinkerton agent Booker DeWitt, who is sent to Columbia to rescue Elizabeth, a young woman imprisoned there since childhood. He develops a relationship with Elizabeth, augmenting his abilities with hers so they may escape from a city literally falling from the sky. This time the game averaged at around 160 frames per second and not only looked amazing but was flawless in terms of frame rates.

160.2 FPS

Call of Duty Black Ops

Call of Duty®: Black Ops 2 catapults players to the year 2025 to confront an insidious criminal mastermind named Raul Menendez who has stolen the keys to the U.S. military infrastructure and turned our greatest strengths against us. For another first person shooter, the card really blasted the frame rate out of the sky with an average of 177 frames per second.

177.3 FPS

Crysis 3

Set in 2047, Prophet is on a revenge mission after uncovering the truth behind Cell Corporation’s motives for building the quarantined Nanodomes. The citizens were told that the giant citywide structures were resurrected to protect the population and to cleanse these metropolises of the remnants of Ceph forces. Although Crysis 3 didn't score as impressively as BioShock Infinite or Battlefield 3, at almost 55 frames per second, it is more than ample. Even though it may not be as smooth as the aforementioned games, the graphics are insane and look amazing on the HD 7990.

54.3 FPS

Far Cry 3

Far beyond the limits of civilisation lies an island, a lawless place ruled by violence and human suffering. You're Jason Brody, backpacking with your friends around Asia, looking for fun and adventure. With this holiday gone wrong, the HD 7990 kept the frame rate very steady and respectable at around 71 frames per second.

71.3 FPS

Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is an Action-Adventure game that introduces players to the origin of one of the most identifiable video games icons of all-time, Lara Croft. The game features a blend of survival, stealth, melee and ranged combat, and exploration gameplay as a young Lara Croft is forced to push herself past her know limits to survive and unravel the dark history of a forgotten island. This is how Tomb Raider is meant to be played... at a glorious 160 frames per second. The tessellation looks amazing on this game and was the highlight of our reviewing experience.

159.3 FPS

Final Thoughts

The AMD HD 7990 definitely gives NVidia a run for its money and games performed exceptionally well on it. I was quite impressed with games such as Bioshock Infinity, Call of Duty Black Ops that were silky smooth. The only issue with the card that I had is that the length will not accommodate some cases. With our test case, we needed to remove the hard drive cage to successfully insert the card into our case and motherboard.

Apart from the good power consumption, I really cannot wait to see more DirectX 11 games support this card but with that in mind, this card is quite expensive and currently retails for around $1199AUD. Nonetheless this card is the king of cards at present that we could happily suggest to all those pro gamers around!

Check it out if you have a lazy $1200 lying around!



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