AMD provides a sneak peek at its Radeon HD 7990

AMD took the wraps off a new high-end reference-design video card at the end of the company’s GDC press briefing Tuesday night: the dual-GPU Radeon 7990.

Details are exceedingly sparse: Matt Skynner, general manager of AMD’s graphics business unit, simply held up the card for the audience to see. “This is the first public showing,” Skynner said. “We’re not saying much about it other than it’s two series-7900 GPUs on a single card, and it’s whisper quiet.”

AMD
Little is known about AMD's Radeon HD 7990, other than it will have two 7900-series GPUs and three cooling fans.

As you can see from this slide taken from AMD’s presentation, it’s a full-size, dual-slot card. A heat sink runs the length of the board, and there are three cooling fans. AMD had previously mentioned that the Radeon 7990, code-named Malta, at the CeBit trade show in Germany, but this is the first time the card has been shown.

The Radeon HD 7990 will compete with Nvidia’s Titan for fastest video card on the planet when the card ships (unless Nvidia manages to come out with a dual-Titan card). Expect to see cards like this at retail before the end of the first half of the year, because AMD is expected to ship its Radeon HD 8000 series GPUs in the second half.

Earlier in the presentation, AMD’s general manager of professional graphics, David Cummings, announced a new series of specialized video cards designed for use in data centers. The AMD Radeon Sky series cards are passively cooled cards that will run in servers streaming games in real time from the cloud to client devices such as PCs and set-top boxes. Think OnLive, but better executed.

“Data and services are moving the cloud, and so is gaming,” Cummings said. “What do gamers want from the cloud? They want the experience to be easy to install, easy to use, and available from on any device at any location.”

“AMD intends to support the whole cloud: The home cloud and the public cloud,” Cummings continued. “Cloud gaming requires HD gaming at 30 frames per second, outstanding compression, optimal density—meaning the best performance per watt and the most users per GPU—minimal latency, and enterprise-grade hardware.”

AMD
The AMD Radeon Sky series video cards are designed to power servers for cloud-based gaming.

To that end, Cummings said AMD will ship three cards in the Radeon Sky series that will be dedicated to cloud gaming: The Radeon Sky 900 will be outfitted with two Radeon GPUs (3584 stream processors in total) and 3GB of GDDR5 memory for each GPU. The Radeon Sky 700 will feature 1792 stream processors and 6GB of GDDR5 memory, and the Radeon Sky 500 will deliver 1280 stream processors and 4GB of memory.

We'll have more news on these products as it becomes available.

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