The big talk during the holiday break was AMD’s release of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics card – the new single-GPU performance leader. I gave the card our Editor’s Choice award for simply impressing the hell out of us, all while keeping power consumption in check thanks to the TSMC 28nm process technology it is built on. Being the first card to support the upcoming DX11.1 and PCI Express 3.0 are just a bit of icing on the fruitcake.
During our talks with AMD they teased a dual-GPU version of Southern Islands they were calling "New Zealand". According to a report from Softpedia that card might be available sooner than we thought – sometime in the first quarter of 2012. Because the new Tahiti GPU is actually more power efficient than Cayman, seeing the pending Radeon HD 7990 with two full powered GPUs isn’t out the question though we would expect to see slightly lower clock speeds.
Because of the ZeroCore Technology implemented this generation of GPU from AMD, the HD 7990 will be able to run at basically the same power levels as the Radeon HD 7970 at idle and at the Windows desktop.
The most interesting part? This would give the HD 7990 a 6GB frame buffer, 3GB per GPU as we see today on the HD 7970. Chances are this would give the graphics card more memory than many of our readers primary computer…
If you are interested in this type of card, start saving your pennies now. When the Radeon HD 6990 launched (the Cayman-based dual-GPU card) it was priced at $699 and never went any lower. With the price of a single Southern Islands GPU curently at $549, expect to see even higher numbers than the HD 6990 has. I hope we don’t see the same availability issues with the pending HD 7990 release but you can’t be sure.