HD 7990 Review; PowerColor’s Devil 13

Author: SKYMTL
Date: September 19, 2012
Product Name: HD 7990 Devil 13
Part Number: AX7990 6GBD5-A2DHJ DEVIL13
Warranty: 3 Years
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A Closer Look at the PowerColor HD 7990 Devil 13

Graphics card packaging is typically boring and anything but noteworthy but this time around, PowerColor has decked the Devil 13 in a box and internal compartmentalized design that befits its massive price tag. There are fold outs, a feature card, warranty information and even enough padding to protect a bottle of Cristal. While the card itself may cost a ton of money, be prepared to pay a king’s ransom in shipping costs for this beast.

The accessories that come alongside the impressive packaging are an eclectic mix of oddball additions and useful tools. First up, there’s a screwdriver kit with a distinctly Asian mechanical influence since it includes adaptors for the rarely used 7-node security head and Torx socket but ignores the Robertson square beloved by so many Canadians. PowerColor has also included their aptly named Power Jack which is supposed to help support heavy graphics cards and avoid unwanted motherboard PCI-E slot strain.

PowerColor has outdone themselves with the HD 7990 Devil 13’s design but we expected no less from such a pricy GPU. Spanning nearly 12 ½” in length, sporting a triple slot maximizing 3” in height and weighing in at nearly four pounds, this is one of the heaviest, largest graphics cards we have come across. But it does look pretty damn good in a black / red outfit that doesn’t have a single bit of plastic in sight.

It is also important to note that the HD 7990 Devil 13 registers as a pair of HD 7970 cards in AMD’s Crossfire X control panel so dual card operation can be disabled.

The most visible item on the Devil 13 is of course the huge heatsink shroud which is made of anodized aluminum that’s been tinted either red or black to give an effect that’s distinctly “devilish” but still true to its AMD roots. Front and center are three fans which consist of a single 80mm until flanked by two 92mm siblings. These push air down onto the internal heatsink but also assure that a large amount of heat is conducted towards your case’s internal components. While the design here may not be optimal for cooling purists, PowerColor does claim their layout is capable of dispersing an impressive 550W of thermal output.

Under the heatsink shroud is a pair of pure copper bases, TEN individual 6mm heatpipes and a huge fin array which all work in tandem to ensure the two cores are adequately cooled. PowerColor has also gone with an ultra high end 12+2+2 all-digital PWM that is up to 90% efficient and utilizes 560uF Super Caps, a unique “PowerIRstage” for quick 1.0MHz switching frequencies and additional MOSFET heatsinks to keep everything operating at optimal levels. This card had to be built to withstand the rigors of long gaming sessions on a pair of overclocked Tahiti XT cores and it looks like PowerColor has done exactly that.

No, you aren’t seeing double. The Devil 13 is indeed equipped with a trio of 8-pin power connectors which –when combined- can deliver up to 450W which should give some indication of the overhead which PowerColor built into their halo product. We’re also told that the power interconnects on this card are designed in such a way that it won’t draw any power from the motherboard’s PCI-E slot unless absolutely necessary.

Rounding out the connector selection is a single Crossfire interconnect should someone have the resources to unload $2000 on two Devil 13s. Meanwhile, the gargantuan rear I/O panel features two DVI-D outputs and plugs for two mini DisplayPorts and a single HDMI 1.4.

There’s also a look-at-me red button which is used to switch between the stock and GHz Edition (or OC) BIOS. Just be aware that in order for the system to register the clock speed increase, you’ll have to reinstall the drivers when switching between BIOS files.

According to PowerColor, the small dots you see above are voltage read points but they aren’t clearly labeled. In addition, while they worked for GPU voltage, we couldn’t find the placement for the GDDR5 voltage measurements. They are also infinitesimally small so actually hitting the correct one is quite hard.

The full-sized backplate on this card is very, very thick which could cause an issue with motherboards that have the top PCI-E slot close to the memory slots. However, its uses are numerous since PowerColor uses it to disperse heat from the rear-mounted GDDR5 memory modules and additional power components which are mounted against it.

What ultra high end card would be complete without a lighting show, right? PowerColor delivers in this respect with a total of six blazingly bright white LEDs which illuminate in parallel with power phase utilization. The effect is slightly distracting by strangely hypnotic.

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