The title of “world’s fastest graphics card” constantly changes hands as AMD and Nvidia, the two major GPU companies, respond to each other. Nvidia has enjoyed the championship title for months with its Titan and GTX 690 graphics cards, but a new challenger has emerged: the Radeon HD 7990.
And what a challenger it is. The HD 7990 combines two high-end graphics cores to create a monster with over 8.6 billion transistors and 8.2 teraflops of compute power. To provide some reference, that’s over four times the performance Sony claims its PlayStation 4 (which also uses an AMD Radeon chip) will offer. This GPU dream team has been paired with 6GB of GDDR5 memory and can output video to five monitors simultaneously.
Raw power is obviously the 7990’s headline feature, but AMD has also paid attention to practical concerns like efficiency and noise. Power draw has been brought down through the use of ZeroCore, which lets one GPU idle when the card’s full might isn’t needed. AMD claims the card’s maximum noise level is a mere 37 decibels.
All of this sounds great, so what’s the catch? Surprise, surprise: it’s the price! This new card will be available from online retailers within two weeks at a staggering MSRP of $999. Some of that cost is recouped, however, by an awesome “Never Settle” software bundle that features new releases like Bioshock: Infinite and Crysis 3.
Remember, this $999 card is just the reference design. As AMD pointed out during its press reveal, the company has a history of working with partners to help them design even more powerful, and more expensive, versions of the reference hardware. Even more outlandish versions of the HD 7990 are likely to be revealed over the coming months.