Tuesday, April 9th 2013

Radeon HD 7990 CrossFireX Smiles for the Camera

An anonymous tipster left an interesting picture on our doorsteps. It shows a pair of Radeon HD 7990 "Malta" reference-design graphics cards chugging along inside an enthusiast PC. AMD surprised us late last month, when it showed off a reference-design Radeon HD 7990 dual-GPU graphics card, at the Game Developers' Conference (GDC) event. The cards in this new picture appear to be identical to the one AMD showed. The "Radeon" embossing appears pretty clear on both cards, so one can't mistake them for FirePro S10000.

Bearing a new internal codename "Malta," compared to last year's various dual-HD 7970 contraptions that were codenamed "New Zealand," the new Radeon HD 7990 is being designed to be far more energy efficient, and quiet. While the various "New Zealand" cards often featured three 8-pin PCIe power connectors and triple-slot cooling solutions, "Malta" makes do with just two 8-pin power connectors, and a dual-slot cooler. We've been talking to a lot of reliable sources in the industry, and nobody has any clue about a tentative launch date.
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75 Comments on Radeon HD 7990 CrossFireX Smiles for the Camera

#1
BigMack70
by: Aquinus
We'll see if that is still the case after AND fixes their drivers. It might not be entirely useless If they get it right. I'll reserve judgment until after we have tangible evidence that their efforts have been successful or not.
I understand this point, but I have zero expectations for this and I think anyone with more expectation than that are just asking for disappointment. They don't even have average framerate right (and neither does Nvidia) in 4-way GPU setups, and 2-way CF still doesn't work occasionally.

If they get quadfire to work here, it will be an absolute miracle.
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#2
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: Xzibit
Yup.

Same people harping on those results were to blind to see that SLI when working properly isnt worth the price your paying. Once you go from SLI at 1080p to 1440p the value of the second card drops like a brick and your variance spikes. Which is the whole issues your trying to avoid.

They just got too excited to diminish the competition they didnt care if they were getting screwed aswell.
Atleast with SLI you get close to proper scaling. At this point with CFX the 2nd card is a paper weight. :o
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#3
Xzibit
by: MxPhenom 216
Atleast with SLI you get close to proper scaling. At this point with CFX the 2nd card is a paper weight. :o
I wouldnt even call it close.


@1080p FT 75% decrease / V 25% increase
*Only resolution where SLI scaling comes close as you put it.

@1440p FT 50% decrease / V 50% increase
*In some games FT is spiking to single card levels.

@5760x1080 FT 25% decrease / V 75% increase
*In some of the games FT spikes higher then a single card. Kind of defeats the purpose of buying a second card all together now

Seamse to me its an arguement of who has the better paper weight.
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#4
EarthDog
by: MxPhenom 216
Atleast with SLI you get close to proper scaling. At this point with CFX the 2nd card is a paper weight. :o
I keep hearing that but the testing doesnt show that??? In a lot of titles, you see anywhere from 50-90% scaling with two cards. Clearly close to 2x is best, but Nvidia doesnt consistently get there either. I think you are being dramatic in calling AMD's solution a 'paperweight'.

I know when I reviewed the HIS 7970 X Turbo, I saw some solid scaling (35-99%).

CFx Scaling /= Frametime or Latency!

EDIT: Look at the 7790 scaling. With crap titles is scaled 66%, take those non scaling titles out and its 88%.

7790 results: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/AMD/HD_7790_CrossFire/21.html

Here is the 650 Ti Boost- Looks worse to me: http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_650_Ti_Boost_SLI/21.html
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#5
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: TheHunter
PLX bridge like by GTX690 or regular crossfire bridge?


Imo plx could make a big change.
There's no "regular crossfire bridge." No AMD-reference dual-GPU card since HD 3870 X2 used bridge chip of any other make than PLX.
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#6
drdeathx
by: TheHunter
PLX bridge like by GTX690 or regular crossfire bridge?


Imo plx could make a big change.
PLX chip if thats what your refering too does not make any difference on radeon cards. I thought it would bit on my Z77 UP7 I ran different configs and using the PLX on 2 cards was a tad lower on benchies.
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#7
TheHunter
by: MxPhenom 216
What are you talking about? Linking 2 of the cards together or for the GPUs within the card?

Dual GPU cards like the 7990 and 690 is basically SLI and Crossfire on a stick. There is a chip on them to make the GPUs run in sync like a bridge would do for 2 separate cards.
YES. Check 690GTX its using PLX instead of regular nforce chip, doh.:rolleyes:


And PLX is better then regular crossfire or regular SLI bridge, less latency better sync. 690GTX proved it compared to 590GTX.


Edit: if AMD apparently uses PLX since 3870 x2 then they need a lot more work to do.
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#8
EarthDog
The 590 didnt use a bridge either...

Bridge = that ribbon that goes between TWO cards.

...the 590 is also on ONE PCB so no 'bridge' was used there.
Posted on Reply
#9
TheHunter
yes that onboard bridge chip integrated between two gpu dies, on one PCB.. geez talk about word nitpicking lol
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#10
HumanSmoke
by: EarthDog
I keep hearing that but the testing doesnt show that??? In a lot of titles, you see anywhere from 50-90% scaling with two cards. Clearly close to 2x is best, but Nvidia doesnt consistently get there either. I think you are being dramatic in calling AMD's solution a 'paperweight'.
Not a paperweight, but AMD's Crossfire numbers tend to look better than they actually are because of the range of scaling. It's either excellent or appalling. Take TPU's last comparison for example - I count five games with negative scaling for Crossfire (2 cards) versus one for the SLI -add one apiece if you include a largely CPU bound Star Craft II
While neither solution (CFX/SLI) is anywhere close to ideal, SLI has better consistency at the present time, and while it isn't much of a hardship to disable a card if there isn't a reasonable multi-GPU profile available, that really is less of an option with a duallie card like the 7990....and not something that shows up readily in an aggregated chart:
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#11
EarthDog
Thanks for that info... clearly not a paperweight... at least two anyway. :p

That said, you can still disable CFx on dual GPU cards... at least you can on the 690 and I have to assume so with 7990 as well.
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#12
radrok
by: EarthDog
That said, you can still disable CFx on dual GPU cards... at least you can on the 690 and I have to assume so with 7990 as well.
I could easily disable CFX on my 6990s, you can disable it with profiles.

That being said, SLI works better as control panel implementation.
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#13
EarthDog
by: TheHunter
yes that onboard bridge chip integrated between two gpu dies, on one PCB.. geez talk about word nitpicking lol
LOL no... just making sure you are using the right words. Did you not notice the tone/context of the replies to your post(s)?

I dont call an apple an orange (why? Because its an apple is not an orange!)...just like a CF/SLI bridge is not a PLX chip. :slap: :D

Anyhooo...
Posted on Reply
#14
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: HumanSmoke
Not a paperweight, but AMD's Crossfire numbers tend to look better than they actually are because of the range of scaling. It's either excellent or appalling. Take TPU's last comparison for example - I count five games with negative scaling for Crossfire (2 cards) versus one for the SLI -add one apiece if you include a largely CPU bound Star Craft II
While neither solution (CFX/SLI) is anywhere close to ideal, SLI has better consistency at the present time, and while it isn't much of a hardship to disable a card if there isn't a reasonable multi-GPU profile available, that really is less of an option with a duallie card like the 7990....and not something that shows up readily in an aggregated chart:
http://tpucdn.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GeForce_GTX_Titan_SLI/images/perfrel_2560.gif
That is why i consider it unworking right now (for me). Aa you say, from appaling to excellent. Which brings up the following, and i'm sorta serious:

Whose resposibility is it to make these setups work? Game devs, Microsoft or the amd/nvidia? And why does it work sometimes and other times it juat does not?
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#15
crazyeyesreaper
Chief Broken Rig
whats more interesting is same game engines used over and over and over again by developers, but multi gpu support works in 1 game but is broken in another on the same game engines, or one game has issues with vendor A but none on vendor B yet again switch to a different game on the same game engine and the problems are reversed. lol its all hilarious.
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#16
Mathragh
For all those people saying crossfire will suck with this card, a couple of data points:

First of all: whether you like it or not, AMD's driverteam has been really busy the past half year, and arguably making bigger strides than any other time in the past couple of years
Second: after scott watson from techreport started using frametimes in his reviews, revealing AMD's weakness on that front, AMD has shown it can, and atleast in the near future will improve their drivers a lot when it comes to stuttery behaviour, arguably one of the worst things for crossfire.
Third: recently AMD told the world that it was busy building and improving its drivers in way that is specifically beneficial for crossfire, with a rumored release date somewhere in june.
Fourth: AMD's recent push in the gaming market, by providing all console hardware, supporting game developers, and generally pushing out a strong message about their gaming dedication. This imo says that they regard having a strong card as important.
Fifth: not the strongest argument, but i dont see amd waiting more than a year before they lauch a card like this, only to see it getting burned down by reviewers because of crappy scaling/performance.

Now, none of these reasons give any guarantee that crossfire will get better ever, but i suppose a lot of signs are there that say it will get better, which is of course a win for everybody!

If only tridef supported crossfire, I'd prolly get myself another 7950 this summer!
Posted on Reply
#17
manofthem
Having watched the video on AMD crossfire that cadaveca posted a little bit ago, I can't ignore some of the issues with crossfire. Yet, being a 7970 crossfire user on a single 2560.1440 monitor, I think many have over blown the issue, or over exaggerated.

Example: Crysis 3 on 1 card is low fps, while 2 cards is much much better, extremely playable and enjoyable. There are occasionally dips or a little stutter, it's true. But I can't enjoy the game with single card and I can with crossfire.

So on topic, I'm excited for the 7990, and depending on price, I would be interested in one. Any word on whether it can be crossfired with a 7970?
Posted on Reply
#18
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: TheHunter
yes that onboard bridge chip integrated between two gpu dies, on one PCB.. geez talk about word nitpicking lol
Well choose your words wisely so we don't have too.
Posted on Reply
#19
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: manofthem
Having watched the video on AMD crossfire that cadaveca posted a little bit ago, I can't ignore some of the issues with crossfire. Yet, being a 7970 crossfire user on a single 2560.1440 monitor, I think many have over blown the issue, or over exaggerated.
It's a big enough issue that AMD is addressing it and spending time and resources on driver development to fix it.


The real reason I posted that video was to get the discussing going, honestly. AMD said they'd release a driver in March to partially deal with this(this isn't a new thing, by any means), and didn't. Now we know why.


As to the info and testing into the issue, no one needs to do anything about it but Ryan Shrout over @ PCPerspective. As long as he stays up to date on how things progress, there's no need for anyone else to, unless to verify that he isn't pro-Nvidia-biased.

That said, since AMD IS releasing this card, I am sure that when they do, most of the issues for Crossfire and DX10/11 will be fixed/mitigated. The picture proves AMD is getting this hardware into the hands of developers so that they can help optimize performance for titles individually.
Posted on Reply
#20
BigMack70
There's a big difference between AMD getting a single 7990 setup working well and AMD getting a 7990 x2 setup working well... nobody has yet demonstrated a quad-GPU setup that's actually pleasant for general gaming use
Posted on Reply
#21
manofthem
by: cadaveca
It's a big enough issue that AMD is addressing it and spending time and resources on driver development to fix it.


The real reason I posted that video was to get the discussing going, honestly. AMD said they'd release a driver in March to partially deal with this(this isn't a new thing, by any means), and didn't. Now we know why.


As to the info and testing into the issue, no one needs to do anything about it but Ryan Shrout over @ PCPerspective. As long as he stays up to date on how things progress, there's no need for anyone else to, unless to verify that he isn't pro-Nvidia-biased.

That said, since AMD IS releasing this card, I am sure that when they do, most of the issues for Crossfire and DX10/11 will be fixed/mitigated. The picture proves AMD is getting this hardware into the hands of developers so that they can help optimize performance for titles individually.
No, I appreciate the thread and videos you posted, and I'm not denying the issue.

My comment was more directed to comments like a second card in crossfire is a "paperweight" and the like, which I have seen posted before.
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#22
radrok
by: BigMack70
There's a big difference between AMD getting a single 7990 setup working well and AMD getting a 7990 x2 setup working well... nobody has yet demonstrated a quad-GPU setup that's actually pleasant for general gaming use
Vega has proven that Quad SLI is playable and actually very enjoyable.

Head over his thread on [H] or OCN, he's running quad Titan and he has a youtube channel too with some surround videos.

CallsignVega's channel - YouTube

I've had a lot of quad setups from ATI and they were never playable.

4870x2 CFX / 5970 CFX and 6990 CFX, at a certain point you just stop waiting for those drivers and you jump to the other side.
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#23
EarthDog
by: manofthem
No, I appreciate the thread and videos you posted, and I'm not denying the issue.

My comment was more directed to comments like a second card in crossfire is a "paperweight" and the like, which I have seen posted before.
Its what happens when one makes comments like Dave did in the first post of his thread to people that don't have a clue. If I had a dollar for every post I have seen like that or to avoid it at all costs or its broken here, I would be retired. The tone to me was alarmist at best (crossfirex is "useless"...those that bought a second card "get nothing out of it") and and since Dave has earned people's respect they listen and ended up taking that text too literal imo.
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#24
BigMack70
by: radrok
Vega has proven that Quad SLI is playable and actually very enjoyable.

Head over his thread on [H] or OCN, he's running quad Titan and he has a youtube channel too with some surround videos.

CallsignVega's channel - YouTube

I've had a lot of quad setups from ATI and they were never playable.

4870x2 CFX / 5970 CFX and 6990 CFX, at a certain point you just stop waiting for those drivers and you jump to the other side.
Crap scaling is not a pleasant experience in my opinion, but point taken.
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#25
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: EarthDog
Since Dave has earned people's respect they listen and ended up taking that text too literal imo.
Sure, but me saying that right from the word go, gets it out of the way. I also said "this is why AMD is going to fix it". Can't blame anyone else for the text I wrote, that's all on my head. ;)


Because for me, it is literally as bad as that. I literally explored every possible avenue for why CrossfireX was behaving poorly, visually, to me, when benches said otherwise, and even FPS. Drives, PSUs, boards, memory, CPUs, SDDs/HDDs, blah blah blah, ad naseum. I'm left-handed. To some, that's explain why I'm more sensitive to this issue than most. I also tend to run high-end configs, multi-monitor and such, that few users do.


For me, that second, third and fourth card I have, they are basically useless. I expect, that when this card launches, that will change. Actually, I expect the first WHQL after the card lunches to fix it for all cards, honestly.
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