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AMD HD7990 Malta Review

Rating: 9.0.

The battle for the title of ‘world’s fastest graphics card’ has been hotly contested for as long as I can remember. This week AMD are releasing their official HD7990 ‘Malta’ graphics card – a dual GPU solution comprising 8.6 billion transistors, 4096 stream processors … capable of 8.2 TFLOPS of compute power.

Today we test the HD7990 against the two fastest graphics cards from Nvidia, the GTX690 and the GTX Titan.

AMD are making no hardware compromises with this HD7990 Malta graphics card, it ships with 6GB of GDDR5 memory and can support 5 monitors simultaneously. It has 48 lanes to give 96GB/s of intergpu bandwidth.

This is a card designed from the ground up to cope with the very highest image quality settings and resolutions and today we will test a variety of Direct X 11 games at 2560×1600 and 5760×1080 resolutions.

Regular readers may remember our multiple reviews of the VTX3D HD7990 back at the end of 2012, but this is a completely new, official design by AMD. The clock speeds are significantly higher as well.
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Before we go any further, I need to comment on AMD’s reference coolers.

I have lost count of how many times I have asked AMD to shift their reliance on a small, single fan to cool their high end reference graphics solutions. Partners such as Sapphire generally fix these cooler concerns shortly after launch, but it always frustrates me. Why go to all the effort of launching an ultra fast, ultra expensive graphics card then outfit it with a shoddy, noisy cooler?

Thankfully AMD have apparently listened to critical feedback and the new HD7990 Malta is equipped with three, large axial fans, spanning the full width of the PCB. When we take the card apart later in the review we will see if AMD have incorporated a high grade heatsink implementation to partner with the quality fans.

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Above, a reference graph lifted from one of the AMD slides. We can see that the new HD7990 is basically two HD7970 GHZ Edition cards crammed into a single card. It is built around the 28nm manufacturing process with 8.6 billion transistors on the card. It is clocked at 1GHZ and has 4,096 stream processors. There are 256 Texture units and 64 ROP’s with a dual 384 bit memory interface. The memory is clocked at 1,500mhz (6.0Gbps effective).

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