HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX

So you bought a HD 6970 2GB when it launched, and you're now wondering if you should partner it with a HD 6990 4GB? - We tell you if you should!
| Mar 22, 2011 at 9:46 pm CDT
Manufacturer: HIS

Introduction and Package Pictures

Introduction

VIEW GALLERY - 23 IMAGES


I was really looking forward to testing this setup because I think it's something that's very plausible for a lot of people who have got the money to spend. Jump back a few months and we thought we'd see the HD 6990 4GB launch towards the end of last year; December was the date getting thrown around.

Instead, what happened was the HD 6970 which we thought would launch in November launched in December and the HD 6990 became a bit of a quiet card. We knew it existed, we knew it was coming, but a month turned into a much longer wait. So if you're looking for a new video card to get some holiday gaming in, you figure you'll just go down the HD 6970 path and maybe later look at the dual GPU option that AMD offer.

Initially you might have had intentions of selling off your HD 6970 and picking up a HD 6990 in its place, but what about if you bought a HD 6990 and threw that into the mix with your HD 6970? What kind of performance can this triple GPU setup offer you?

Well, that's exactly what we intend to find out. Is it worth holding onto that HD 6970 and throwing in a HD 6990 into the mix? - Priced at a similar level to the GTX 580 SLI setup, it'll indeed be interesting to see the kind of performance we get out of the setup. What will also be interesting is to see the kind of performance we get when compared to the HD 6990 4GB CrossFireX setup that makes use of four GPUs.

Before we get into the performance side of things, though, let's just quickly look at the specifications of the cards we're using today and talk about how we ran the HD 6990 4GB.


Specifications

The first thing we did was run the HIS HD 6990 4GB in AUSUM mode which puts the core in at 880MHz; the same speed as the HIS HD 6970 2GB we're using today. Then the only difference between the HD 6970 and the HD 6990 is the memory speed. So to make sure everything was running at a nice speed, we bumped the memory clock on the HIS HD 6990 4GB to 1375MHz or 5500MHz QDR, which again is the same speed as the HD 6970.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 01 | TweakTown.com


With all three GPUs running at the same speed, it was then just a matter of checking that our setup was running correctly and you can see below in the CrossFire section that indeed 3 GPUs are enabled.

Test System Setup and 3DMark 11

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 99 | TweakTown.com


We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASRock, Kingston, Mittoni, Noctua and Corsair.

We'll be checking out this CrossFireX setup against some of the most powerful setups we've tested here. We've got single card setups covered in the form of the HD 6970, HD 6990 and GTX 580. As for Dual Card setups, we've got the GTX 560 Ti and GTX 580 in SLI along with the HD 6950 and HD 6970 in CrossFire and the HD 6990 in CrossFireX.

Let's get started!


3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/
Buy It Here




3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 20 | TweakTown.com


Very strong performance out the gate from the HIS CrossFireX setup here which sees it fall only second to the HD 6990 CrossFireX setup. There's not much of a difference, though, and a good couple of hundred dollars separating the two setups.

3DMark Vantage

3DMark Vantage

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0.1
Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com
Product Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com/products/3dmarkvantage/
Buy It Here




3DMark Vantage is the new industry standard PC gaming performance benchmark from Futuremark, newly designed for Windows Vista and DirectX10. It includes two new graphics tests, two new CPU tests, several new feature tests, and support for the latest hardware.

3DMark Vantage is based on a completely new rendering engine, developed specifically to take full advantage of DirectX10, the new graphics API from Microsoft.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 21 | TweakTown.com


Just some amazing performance under Vantage and we again see the AMD setup outperform the NVIDIA one at the higher resolution X preset, even though NVIDIA is making use of hardware PhysX.

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2
Developer Homepage: http://www.unigine.com
Product Homepage: http://unigine.com/press-releases/091022-heaven_benchmark//



New benchmark grants the power to unleash the DirectX 11 potential in the gift wrapping of impressively towering graphics capabilities. It reveals the enchanting magic of floating islands with a tiny village hidden in the cloudy skies. With the interactive mode emerging experience of exploring the intricate world is ensured within reach. Through its advanced renderer, Unigine is one of the first to set precedence in showcasing the art assets with tessellation, bringing compelling visual finesse, utilizing the technology to the full extend and exhibiting the possibilities of enriching 3D gaming.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 22 | TweakTown.com


Checking out Heaven performance continues that trend of very strong performance against the other setups here. Compared to the GTX 580 SLI setup as well, this is just some fantastic performance being seen here from the HIS CFX setup we're testing.

Benchmarks - Resident Evil 5

Resident Evil 5

Version and / or Patch Used: Demo Benchmark
Developer Homepage: www.residentevil.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.residentevil.com/




Resident Evil 5 is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the seventh installment in the Resident Evil survival horror series, and was released on September 18. Resident Evil 5 revolves around Chris Redfield and Sheva Alomar as they investigate a terrorist threat in Kijuju, a fictional town in Africa.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 23 | TweakTown.com


RE5 performance went through the roof and just overall went a little crazy. We double checked the results and then proceeded to triple check them, but we continued to see these very strong numbers from the setup.

Benchmarks - Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/UK/default.aspx
Product Homepage: http://www.hawxgame.com/




Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X. 2 is an arcade-style flight action game developed by Ubisoft Romania and published by Ubisoft. The game is the sequel to Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., released in 2009.

The game begins with Colonel David Crenshaw participating in a routine patrol mission in the Middle East. After halting an insurgent attack, a volley of missiles is fired at the Air Force base that Crenshaw was stationed at, with one of the missiles disabling Crenshaw's aircraft, resulting Crenshaw being in enemy captivity. A joint strike force composed of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and a Ghost Recon squad executes an operation to rescue Crenshaw. In Scotland, Royal Navy Pilot Colin Munro encounters an unidentified passenger aircraft that explodes from an on-board bomb when undergoing training exercise. In Russia, an air force squadron led by Colonel Denisov and Captain Dmitri Sokov engages separatist aircraft but is ordered to retreat from the region after numerous Russian military installations have been attacked.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 24 | TweakTown.com


Getting into H.A.W.X. 2, it's clear we hit a wall at around the 270 FPS mark. A lot of these higher end CrossFire and SLI setups seem to hit that at 1680 x 1050 and 1920 x 1200. At 2560 x 1600 the HD 6990 CFX setups are the only ones that manage to hit that wall, although the GTX 580 SLI setup is only a few FPS away from it.

Benchmarks - Mafia II

Mafia II

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.2kczech.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.mafia2game.com/
Buy It Here




Mafia II is a third-person action-adventure video game, the sequel to Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven. It is developed by 2K Czech, previously known as Illusion Softworks, and is published by 2K Games. The game is set from 1943 to 1951 in Empire Bay (the name is a reference to New York's state nickname "The Empire State"), a fictional city based on San Francisco and New York City, with influences from Chicago and Detroit. The game features a completely open-ended game map of 10 square miles. No restrictions are included from the start of the game. There are around 50 vehicles in the game, as well as licensed music from the era.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 25 | TweakTown.com


Mafia II really seems it hit a wall on the AMD cards much earlier than the NVIDIA ones. There's some great performance to be had, but we'd love to see the average get over that 120 FPS mark which is something people are talking about more and more these days since we've seen 120Hz monitors released.

Benchmarks - Lost Planet 2

Lost Planet 2

Version and / or Patch Used: Benchmark Demo
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark - Test A Scene 1
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.lostplanet2game.com/




Lost Planet 2 is a third-person shooter video game developed and published by Capcom. The game is the sequel to Lost Planet: Extreme Condition which is also made by Capcom, taking place ten years after the events of the first game, on the same fictional planet. The story takes place back on E.D.N. III 10 years after the events of the first game. The snow has melted to reveal jungles and more tropical areas that have taken the place of more frozen regions. The plot begins with Mercenaries fighting against Jungle Pirates. After destroying a mine, the Mercenaries continue on to evacuate the area, in which a Category-G Akrid appears and attacks them. After being rescued, they find out their evacuation point (Where the Category-G appeared) was a set-up and no pick up team awaited them. The last words imply possible DLC additions to the game, "There's nothing to be gained by wiping out snow pirates... unless you had some kind of grudge."

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 26 | TweakTown.com


The HD 6990 by itself performs well under Lost Planet 2, but it's not that far over the 60 FPS mark that we aim for at the highest resolution. Throwing a HD 6970 into the mix helps us move a good distance away from that and make sure our gaming is going to be ultra-smooth.

Benchmarks - Aliens vs. Predator

Aliens vs. Predator

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.rebellion.co.uk/
Product Homepage: http://www.sega.com/games/aliens-vs-predator/




Aliens vs. Predator is a science fiction first-person shooter video game, developed by Rebellion Developments, the team behind the 1999 original PC game, and published by Sega for Microsoft Windows, the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. The game is based on the Alien vs. Predator franchise, a combination of the characters and creatures of the Alien franchise and the Predator franchise. There are three campaigns in the game, one for each race/faction (the Predators, the Aliens and the Colonial Marines), that, while separate in terms of individual plot and gameplay, form one overarching storyline.

Following the storyline of the campaign modes comes the multiplayer aspect of the game. In this Multiplayer section of the game, players face off in various different gametypes in various different ways.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 27 | TweakTown.com


We continue to see very strong performance here again from the HIS HD 6990 and HD 6970 CFX setup, but once we get a HD 6990 we can see that performance between those higher end setups are quite similar across the board. Most importantly, though, we've got playable FPS across the board and that's the most important piece of information.

Benchmarks - Street Fighter IV

Street Fighter IV

Version and / or Patch Used: Standalone Benchmark
Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark
Developer Homepage: http://www.capcom.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.streetfighter.com/




While Street Fighter IV features models and backgrounds rendered in 3D, the gameplay remains on a traditional 2D plane, with the camera having freedom to move in 3D at certain times during fights, for dramatic effect. Producer Yoshinori Ono has stated that he wanted to keep the game closer to Street Fighter II. A new system called "Focus Attacks" ("Saving Attack" for the Japanese version) has been introduced, as well as Ultra moves. The traditional six-button control scheme returns, with new features and special moves integrated into the input system, mixing classic gameplay with additional innovations.

All the characters and environments in Street Fighter IV are rendered as 3D models with polygons, similar to the Street Fighter EX sub-series Capcom produced with Arika. However, there are a couple of key differences. Art director and character designer Daigo Ikeno, who previously worked on Street Fighter III 3rd Strike, opted for non-photorealistic rendering to give them a hand-drawn look, with visual effects accented in calligraphic strokes, ink smudges and ink sprays during the fights.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 28 | TweakTown.com


No surprise at the Street Fighter IV numbers with just insane FPS across the board.

Benchmarks - Far Cry 2

Far Cry 2

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.01
Timedemo or Level Used: Ranch Long
Developer Homepage: http://www.ubi.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.farcry2.com/
Buy It Here




The Dunia Engine was built specifically for Far Cry 2 by the award-winning Ubisoft Montreal development team. It delivers the most realistic destructible environments, amazing special effects such as dynamic fire propagation and storm effects, real-time night-and-day cycle, dynamic music system, non-scripted enemy A.I. and so much more.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 29 | TweakTown.com


We see these high end setups hit a bit of a wall around the 130 FPS minimum mark and the HIS CFX setup we're dealing with today has no problems getting there.

Benchmarks - Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham Asylum

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1
Timedemo or Level Used: Built-in Test
Developer Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/
Product Homepage: http://www.batmanarkhamasylum.com/





Batman: Arkham Asylum exposes players to a unique, dark and atmospheric adventure that takes them to the depths of Arkham Asylum - Gotham's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. Gamers will move in the shadows, instigate fear amongst their enemies and confront The Joker and Gotham City's most notorious villains who have taken over the asylum.

Using a wide range of Batman's gadgets and abilities, players will become the invisible predator and attempt to foil The Joker's demented scheme.
Batman: Arkham Asylum features an original story penned exclusively for the game by famous Batman author and five-time Emmy award winner Paul Dini, whose credits include Lost season one and Batman: The Animated Series.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 30 | TweakTown.com


Looking at Batman AA we don't see any surprises at all when it comes to overall performance.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

Our high quality tests let us separate the men from the boys and the ladies from the girls. If the cards weren't struggling before they will start to now.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 31 | TweakTown.com


HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 32 | TweakTown.com


HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 33 | TweakTown.com


HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 34 | TweakTown.com


Cranking the detail right up, we've just got some insane numbers that create very playable scenarios. With a setup like this, maxing in game detail isn't a problem. Kicking it up another level with AA and AF should also yield no issues.

Temperature Test

Temperature Tests



The temperature of the core is pulled from MSI Afterburner with the max reading used after a completed run off 3DMark Vantage and the Performance preset.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 40 | TweakTown.com


The HD 6990 4GB is clearly a warm running card and in this environment that doesn't change. In a case with some structured airflow, though, should see those HD 6990 numbers come down. The HD 6970 on the other hand is getting plenty of air and runs nice and cool.

It will be interesting to see what companies do with aftermarket cooling solutions for the HD 6990 as time goes on. There's clearly some room for improvement.

Sound Test

Sound Tests



Pulling out the TES 1350A Sound Level Meter we find ourselves quickly yelling into the top of it to see how loud we can be.

After five minutes of that we get a bit more serious and place the device two CM away from the fan on the card to find the maximum noise level of the card when idle (2D mode) and in load (3D mode).

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 41 | TweakTown.com


Noise levels aren't too bad, but of course it's the HD 6990 making most of the noise and not the HD 6970.

Power Consumption Tests

Power Consumption Tests



Using our new PROVA Power Analyzer WM-01 or "Power Thingy" as it has become quickly known as to our readers, we are now able to find out what kind of power is being used by our test system and the associated graphics cards installed. Keep in mind; it tests the complete system (minus LCD monitor, which is plugged directly into AC wall socket).

There are a few important notes to remember though; while our maximum power is taken in 3DMark06 at the same exact point, we have seen in particular tests the power being drawn as much as 10% more. We test at the exact same stage every time; therefore tests should be very consistent and accurate.

The other thing to remember is that our test system is bare minimum - only a SSD hard drive is used with a single CD ROM and minimal cooling fans.

So while the system might draw 400 watts in our test system, placing it into your own PC with a number of other items, the draw is going to be higher.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 42 | TweakTown.com


Power draw on the setup is high, but that comes as no surprise. I'd recommend a good 1000 Watt power supply to anyone who was interested in running this kind of setup.

Total Performance Rating (TPR)

Total Performance Rating

The TPR graph is a combination of all our benchmarks in which NVIDIA and AMD are on an even playing field.

The TPR number is a combination of:

3DMark 11, Heaven Benchmark V2, Resident Evil 5, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X.2, Mafia 2 (PhysX Off), Lost Planet 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV, Far Cry 2, Batman: Arkham Asylum (PhysX Off) and our four High Quality tests which include Mafia 2, Aliens vs. Predator, Street Fighter IV and Far Cry 2.

All of the benchmark results achieved are then combined into a single number. As this graph will grow over time and cards won't be re-tested, next to each model you'll find the driver version that was used when the card was benchmarked.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 50 | TweakTown.com


Overall the performance is fantastic and a good chunk faster than even the GTX 580 SLI Overclocked setup which is at a similar price. More importantly, though, its performance isn't far off the HD 6990 CFX setup which costs a good couple of hundred dollars more again.

Total Value Rating (TVR)

Total Value Rating

The TVR graph is the TPR score divided by the price of the video card. The price of the video card is based on the list price of the model on Newegg.com. In the event the card isn't listed, it will be based on the U.S. $ MSRP given to us by the manufacturer.

In the event we can't source a price from either, the product will not receive a TVR rating. As with our TPR graph, the amount of video cards on the list will grow over time and the price of the model won't change from what it was when first reviewed. For this reason the U.S. $ price that the card is based off will be included next to the name of the model.

In the event you want to find the TVR rating yourself based on the current price, all you have to do is simply divide the TPR number by the list price.

TVR numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number; 100.3 will be 100; 100.8 will be 101 and 100.5 will be rounded down to 100.

HIS Radeon HD 6990 4GB and HD 6970 2GB Video Cards in CrossFireX 51 | TweakTown.com


Considering the $1000 price tag associated with this setup, the overall value of it is quite strong. Sure, it's not the best value, but that was never going to happen; it's indeed much better value than the $1400 HD 6990 CFX setup.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

This was a really interesting piece to do as the setup holds more value to a lot of people because there's already a lot of HD 6970s on out there in people's machines. It paints an extremely positive picture for CrossFireX scaling and overall just creates amazing performance.

Achieving the same memory clock as the HD 6970 should be fairly easy and because you're upping the memory and not the core you don't actually need to increase the voltage on the card, which means heat won't be as bad. To be honest, you could almost try running the HD 6990 in its out of the box mode with the core at 830 MHz and lower stock voltage and try to achieve 880MHz without the need for the extra voltage.

What's funny is that doing this after the HD 6990 CFX setup, this one almost seems to have exceptional value; and it does compared to that considering the price difference is 20%, while the performance difference isn't even 10%. Sure, on a whole there's better value setups, but the TPR paints the perfect picture and that tells us that there's only one setup that we've tested in house faster than this one.

You hate to throw the word value around when you're talking about a video card setup that dives into the four figure region, but if you're already the owner of a HD 6970 2GB the setup becomes a little easier to swallow.

What this setup does over other triple GPU setups from both AMD and NVIDIA is continue to offer you some breathing space on your motherboard. To get this much performance and still have room for a sound card or RAID card is just amazing, and I think that's what's going to really appeal to people in the long run.

Sure, the setup is nothing more than a pipedream for some people, but the performance overall is just amazing and if you've got the money to spend this is exactly the kind of setup you should be looking at. A quick tinker with the HD 6990s memory clock and you're going to have some insane performance in no time. Even leaving the card at stock, though, will yield performance very similar.

I'm a little in awe of the amount of power on offer from this two card, three GPU setup. Simply Amazing!

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:30 pm CDT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR -

Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

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