PowerColor DEVIL13 Radeon HD 7990 6GB Video Card Overclocked

Just recently we checked out the self-made dual GPU HD 7990 from PowerColor. Now we overclock the beast to see what it can do.

Manufacturer: PowerColor
14 minutes & 41 seconds read time

Introduction and Package

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The other day we got the chance to look at the PowerColor DEVIL13 Radeon HD 7990 6GB and found ourselves very impressed with what PowerColor had put together. Today, though, we wanted to see how the overclocking side of things went. When we start to move into these own design cards overclocking can sometimes go one of two ways. The situation is often made worse when you throw two GPUs on a single PCB.

Due to the fact that we've already looked at the card in full detail we won't be going over it again. If you want to have a closer look at the bundle that PowerColor has put together alongside a closer look at the card itself, we recommend you head on over to the standalone review we linked to above.

If you're not interested or you've already seen it then we'll just get into the overclocking side of things to see what exactly we could do with the card today. Once we've covered how we went with overclocking we'll then check out our Test System Setup, cover the cards that you'll see in our graphs today and then get straight into the benchmarking side of things.

First things first, though, we need to fire up MSI Afterburner, adjust some voltages and slowly take the time to increase the core and memory clock of this dual GPU beast before finding out just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the PowerColor DEVIL13 HD 7990 6GB.


Looking at MSI Afterburner we were greeted with the ability to adjust both the core voltage and the memory voltage with the latter not being an option that's always available. With both of those settings maxed out it's time to start bumping the core clock till we find our system is unstable.

Moving from the stock 1000MHz we managed to get just over a 10% increase in core clock with both GPUs coming in at 1125MHz.

As for the 6GB of GDDR5 that managed to get pushed too a nice round sounding 6000MHz QDR. Of course you then have to remember that the core clock increase applies to two cores instead of just the normal one.

We should see some nice increases in performance so let's look at our Test System Setup and see just what we're able to get.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup


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

Looking above you can see our testbed and with no changes. We'll just quickly cover the cards that will be in our graphs today before we get into the performance side of things. On the AMD side we've got our DEVIL13 overclocked and at stock just as you'd expect.

Along with that we've also got three GHz Edition HD 7970's including the reference model, Sapphire's 6GB TOXIC and Vapor-X version overclocked to over 1200MHz on the core.

On the NVIDIA side we've got the 4GB GTX 680 from Palit that falls under the JetStream series along with the Inno3D Black Series card clocked at over 1200MHz on the core.

Let's get started!

The FPS Numbers Explained

When we benchmark our video cards and look at the graphs, we aim to get to a certain level of FPS which we consider playable. While many may argue that the human eye can't see over 24 FPS or 30 FPS, any true gamer will tell you that as we climb higher in Frames Per Seconds (FPS), the overall gameplay feels smoother. There are three numbers we're looking out for when it comes to our benchmarks.

30 FPS - It's the minimum number we aim for when it comes to games. If you're not dropping below 30 FPS during games, you're going to have a nice and smooth gaming experience. The ideal situation is that even in a heavy fire fight, the minimum stays above 30 FPS making sure that you can continue to aim easily or turn the corner with no dramas.

60 FPS - It's the average we look for when we don't have a minimum coming at us. If we're getting an average of 60 FPS, we should have a minimum of 30 FPS or better and as mentioned above, it means we've got some smooth game play happening.

120 FPS - The new number that we've been hunting down over recent months. If you're the owner of a 120 Hz monitor, to get the most out of it you want to get around the 120 FPS mark. Moving from 60 FPS / 60 Hz to 120 FPS / 120 Hz brings with it a certain fluidity that can't really be explained, but instead has to be experienced. Of course, if you're buying a 120 Hz monitor to take advantage of 3D, an average of 120 FPS in our benchmark means that in 3D you will have an average of 60 FPS, which again means you should expect some smooth gameplay.

Benchmarks - 3DMark 11

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.1

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.

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Starting off with 3DMark 11 we get a nice boost in performance and we see the DEVIL13 card separate itself even further from the rest of the pack. We're over the X6000 mark while the Performance score is closing in on 17,000.

Benchmarks - Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Unigine Heaven Benchmark

Version and / or Patch Used: 2.5

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.

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Looking at Heaven numbers we can see in both resolutions a performance increase of about 8% is present. We again see how strong overall performance on the DEVIL13 here is as well with just some fantastic numbers.

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.

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While not needed you can see across the board we've got a bit of a bump in performance. Like we see more often than not, though, the best gains are seen under the most intensive situations which in this case comes at 2560 x 1600.

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.

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Looking at Mafia II performance you can see that the overclock does nothing to performance at 1920 x 1200 and below as we hit a bit of a wall. Moving to 2560 x 1600 we see a slight boost in performance closing in on that 150ish FPS wall that seems to be present on AMD cards.

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."

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Moving into something a bit more intensive we can see that across the board we see some nice gains in performance. We see that the DEVIL13 dominance is able to continue with even larger separation thanks to the overclock.

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.

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Aliens vs. Predator sees a bump in performance across the board and helps cement the dominance of the DEVIL13 again at all resolutions making no game an issue for this card.

Benchmarks - Just Cause 2

Just Cause 2

Version and / or Patch Used:

Timedemo or Level Used: Dark Tower

Developer Homepage: http://www.eidos.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.justcause.com/

Just Cause 2 employs the Avalanche Engine 2.0, an updated version of the engine used in Just Cause. The game is set on the other side of the world from the original Just Cause, on the fictional island of Panau in Southeast Asia. Panau has varied terrain, from desert to alpine to rainforest. Rico Rodriguez returns as the protagonist, aiming to overthrow the evil dictator Pandak "Baby" Panay and confront his former mentor, Tom Sheldon.

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Just Cause 2 continues to show gains, and like we often see with these high-end cards, the best performance increase is seen at the highest resolution as more pressure is placed on the card.

Benchmarks - Metro 2033

Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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The ever intensive Metro 2033 sees a couple of FPS across the board, but nothing too major. We continue to see the DEVIL13 have no issue in our benchmarks again, though, and at the highest resolution we've got some fantastic numbers.

Benchmarks - Dirt 3

Dirt 3

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.codemasters.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.dirt3game.com/

DiRT 3 boasts more cars, more locations, more routes and more events than any other game in the series, including over 50 rally cars representing the very best from five decades of the sport. With more than double the track content of 2009's hit, DiRT 3 will see players start at the top as a professional driver, with a top-flight career in competitive off-road racing complimented by the opportunity to express themselves in Gymkhana-style showpiece driving events.

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At the lower resolutions you can see performance falls back slightly which is something that doesn't come as a huge surprise. When we move to the higher resolution, though, we can see a nice increase in performance of just over 10%.

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 Montréal 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.

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It comes as no surprise that under Far Cry 2 we see really no change in performance as we clearly hit a wall at almost every resolution.

Benchmarks - High Quality AA and AF

High Quality AA and AF

While we test all our games with maximum in-game settings, turning on Anti-Aliasing (AA) and Antistrophic Filtering (AF) helps take the intensity of our testing to another level.

Here we see video cards go from playable FPS to an unplayable FPS and the real power houses continue to help break that 60 FPS mark we always aim for to provide a smooth gaming experience.

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Cranking up the detail we can see a nice boost in performance at both resolutions when it comes to Mafia II.

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Aliens vs. Predator also sees some great performance increases at both resolutions as the DEVIL13 continues to offer fantastic numbers that make for a very playable game.

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Far Cry 2 sees a nice little boost, but with a 90+ FPS minimum at 2560 x 1600, it's not the most needed increase in performance, but it's always nice to see some extra FPS under any situation.

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Metro sees a nice little bump at both resolutions and continues to give us those excellent looking numbers across the board.

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Just Cause 2 sees a slight bump in performance at both resolutions, but nothing too major. The main thing is we continue to see very strong FPS at every setting.

Temperature Test

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.

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With the voltages bumped up and the clocks increased we can see our card runs a bit warmer coming in 10c higher at load when compared to the out of the box numbers and the card running at stock.

Sound Test

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).

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Along with more heat, noise levels also jump up a little. The card is clearly audible at these levels, as you'd expect. Given the performance, though, we're not at all surprised that noise levels jump a little.

Power Consumption Test

Using our 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.

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Normally we don't see power draw jump up that much when overclocking, but here you can see that while idle jumps just over 20 watts, load is up almost 100 watts.

Mid 600 watts isn't a huge number and most high-end quality branded power supplies are going to be fine powering this kind of setup.

Final Thoughts

Overclocking headroom was actually a little surprising on the DEVIL13 as the video card performed better than we thought it would. When you start sticking GPUs this close together you don't always have the best of luck overclocking, but you can see from our results today that overall the performance increase was very strong.

Overclocking, though, for the most part is going to be a non-issue on the DEVIL13. Performance out of the box is just so strong that a lot of people will simply find they just have no need to throw overclocking into the mix. Especially when you consider the added heat and noise that is added to the equation.

Of course that's not to say that overclocking won't happen. It's not going to be the most useful of abilities when it comes to gaming on a single monitor at literally any resolution, any setting and in any game. However, if you're going to go down the path of Eyefinity and don't want to move past the single card solution, it's something that could indeed become handy.

In the most intensive of situations we're seeing gains of around 10% which is a really nice increase. If you're gaming across three monitors and you get an average of around 60 - 65 FPS at stock speeds, when overclocked you're going to see 66 - 72 FPS and that extra 10% comes in extremely handy when we're skirting the 60 FPS average that we aim for to provide a solid gaming experience.

The hardest part when it comes to swallowing the DEVIL13 HD 7990 from PowerColor, though, continues to be that associated $999.99 price tag. Like we said in our original review, this isn't going to be everyone; not only the high price tag, but also the insane amount of performance.

If you're gaming at 1680 x 1050 or even 1920 x 1080, this is simply a video card that is punching way above that weight class. Your money could be better spent while still being able to achieve playable FPS across the board. Moving above those resolutions, though, we get a bit of a different story.

As we get more and more intensive games and increase graphics detail more and more, you can begin to make real use of the power that's on offer. This is seen under something like Metro 2033 with AA and AF on. While it may be an older game, it continues to be one of the most intensive games on the market. Maxed out you can see our averages are in the mid-80 FPS range.

This is still excellent performance, but as games become more and more intensive that number is going to get lower and if you have intensions of holding onto a video card for a few years, that's important to remember. If you've got the money and you can make use of the power that this video card offers, it's a fantastic buy!

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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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