Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) has answered NVIDIA Corp.’s (NVDA) challenge on the high-end. It today made official the launch of the Radeon HD 7990, a $999 USD graphics card which will pound antlers with the identically priced GeForce GTX 690 (and sister Titan card) from NVIDIA.
I. The Answer
The card will start shipping in two weeks and packs a whopping 8 TFLOPS of raw power. Both the GTX 690 and Radeon HD 7990 are amply equipped to handle gaming at a 4K resolution (typically referring to 3840×2160 pixel displays) — although you’ll need a pricey display and a strong CPU, etc. to tap that potential. AMD uses two Tahiti chips (rebranded as Malta processors) in its card.
AMD makes its case presenting internal benchmarks for games that it comes out ahead of NVIDIA, including Crysis 2 and Metro 2033.
Here’s a quick rundown on the device’s spec, versus the GTX 690: A couple of quick notes — while NVIDIA has a smaller stream processor count, its SPs are more powerful, so this is essentially a tie. Second, actual performance numbers (read on) indicate that AMD’s theoretical raw performance “lead” may be nonexistent in the real world.
The two chief areas where the devices are actually different are the memory and power fronts.
II. The Best Card? Hard to Say, But it is Tardy
The card has been benchmarked by Ryan Smith over at AnandTech who reports that it achieves a statistical dead-heat with NVIDIA:
On average the 7990 delivers 100% of the performance of the GTX 690. Of course there aren’t any games where they’re tied, since NVIDIA and AMD exchange the lead on an almost per-game basis.
He concludes that the NVIDIA card wins on power and heat — it consumes approximately 75 less watts, and puts off 75 watts less heat. But he says that the 6 GB of onboard GDDR5 video RAM (compared to the “measly” 4 GB of GDDR5 on the GTX 690) make the AMD card more future-proof. He adds, though, that AMD’s card is tardy — which may hurt AMD in the long term. He writes, “There’s really not a very good way to point this out, but AMD’s 7990 is historically late…The real head scratcher is this: why wasn’t AMD doing this aggressive binning and putting together a card like their 7990 a year ago?”
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