AMD HD 7990 Review; Malta Arrives

Author: SKYMTL
Date: April 23, 2013
Product Name: Radeon HD 7990
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Postscript: AMDís Frame Pacing Driver Benchmarked

Only a few hours before this review went live, we were told that AMD had something special for us. Well aware of their issues with frame times, and dropped / partially rendered frames, the Catalyst driver team has been hard at work, developing what they call a ďFrame Pacing DriverĒ which is supposed to monitor frame production more accurately in order to reduce stutter and essentially increase onscreen performance. Lo and behold, waiting in our inbox was an early alpha stage driver which is one of the first steps in a lengthy process towards making this goal a reality.

Before we go on, thereís a few things that have to be laid out on the table. First and foremost, this is a prototype driver and as such, it is not meant for public consumption as there are a number of significant bugs that still have to be ironed out. In addition, AMD isnít giving any firm timeline for the inclusion of so-called ďframe pacingĒ into their beta drivers.

So letís see what the alchemists in AMDís driver team have been up to.

First up we have Crysis 3 and the effect of this new driver is simply stunning. Prototype it may be but the onscreen framerate increase is impressive and the amount of stutter has been drastically reduced. If anything, we would now term the overall experience buttery smooth.

There really is a lot to like here considering the stuttering mess Crysis 3 is with the launch drivers.

Tomb Raider shows very much the same positive impact as within Crysis 3. Stutter has been drastically reduced and the number of partially rendered / dropped frames has been reduced significantly. While stutter hasnít been completely eliminated, this leads to better framerates.

Unfortunately we had to stop benchmarking there since a few hours with the driver didnít allow for much more but this should give you a tantalizing glimpse into what AMD has in store.

Now, this doesnít change our conclusion one bit since the HD 7990 will still be launched with the 13.5 betas which were used in all of the other benchmarks within this review. AMD isnít anywhere close to releasing this driver to the public so buyers of the HD 7990 will likely face weeks if not months of reduced performance and stuttering. This card is simply a missed opportunity to truly showcase what will become a major boost for all HD 7000-series users. But if the results above are any indication, the HD 7990 could very well become the fastest graphics card on the planet. It will just have to wait a while to get there.

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