Rumor mill offers new Radeon HD 7990 details

The rumor mill has fresh details on New Zealand. No, James Cameron hasn't bought another farm. I'm referring to the New Zealand codename that's part of AMD's Southern Islands line of next-gen graphics products. Otherwise known as the Radeon HD 7990, this card is expected to sport two of the Tahiti graphic chips that underpin the Radeon HD 7970.

With only one GPU per card, the Radeon HD 7970 clocks Tahiti at 925MHz and pairs it with 3GB of memory running at 5500 MT/s. According to a report from China echoed by CPU-World, the Radeon HD 7990 will run its GPUs at 850MHz with 5000 MT/s memory. Each GPU will purportedly have all of its functional units enabled and be paired with 3GB of video memory, bringing the total for the card up to 6GB.

If those numbers are correct, AMD will be dialing back Tahiti a little more than it did Cayman, the GPU behind the Radeon HD 6900 series. That chip is clocked at 880MHz in the Radeon HD 6970 and 830MHz in the dually 6990, a drop of 50MHz. Shaving 75MHz off what appears to be a much more power-efficient chip suggests that AMD may be looking to make the 7990 available in greater volume than its predecessor, which has been notoriously difficult to find in stock online. Cooling a pair of high-end GPUs with only a dual-slot blower will always be challenge, but it's surely easier to accomplish with lower-power chips running at slower speeds.

The Radeon HD 7990 is expected to arrive after Nvidia introduces Kepler, its own next-gen graphics processor. Google's translation of the original story is pretty rough, but April seems to be mentioned as a possibility.

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