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In a world of 96-core servers, it takes a lot to wow us. And 3,072 stream processors comes close. That's what's inside the Radeon HD 6990, the latest video card from AMD that's known in some circles as "the best video card you can buy."
And it ought to be. With not just one, but two DirectX 11-capable GPUs, 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory, 64 dedicated color raster operators (ROPs), another 256 z/Stencil ROPs (for shadowing) and an 830-MHz clock speed, this board would win the prize for the most densely-packed video card available, if such a prize existed.
If you're familiar with the Radeon 6970, the 6990 doubles that spec. In fact, the board even has two BIOSes, permitting power-hungry users to toggle between a standard (factory-supported) BIOS of 375 watts of thermal design power (TDP) and 450 watts TDP and higher clock speeds.
For all those video-game tweakers out there, it even lets you crank up the core speed to 880 MHz. A dedicated video playback accelerator keeps the MPEG and Flash video action fast and furious, and support for dual-stream 1080p playback and HD3D, Blu-ray 3D and active shutter technology are just the beginning of its full immersion capability.
What's all that hardware doing? For one thing, it's slinging pixels and texture maps around at speeds of up to 320 GBps, and at resolutions up to 2560 x 1600. At that resolution, we were able to get a sustained rate of 60 frames per per second when running DIRT 3, the latest version of a driving game from Codemasters Software.