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Report: graphics cards and thermal characteristics
by Damien Triolet
Published on April 20, 2010

Radeon HD 6990
The Radeon HD 6990 is in the same format as the Radeon HD 5970: the PCB measures 29cm and the cooler casing sticks out another centimetre, taking the total length of the card to 30cm, which means it won’t fit in all casings. A particularity of its cooling system is that a central fan expels half of the hot air out of the casing and the other half towards the back of the card and the hard drive bay.

There are two bios’ available for the Radeon HD 6990, one with an energy consumption limit of 375W and the other of 450W.




Infrared thermography

System at idle.


System in load, 375W.


System in load, 450W.


Graphics card at idle.


Graphics card in load, 375W.


Graphics card in load, 450W.

While the system remains very cool at idle, this is obviously not the case in load and all the components suffer as a result, especially in 450W mode.


Temperature and noise readings

This Radeon HD 6990 sends a lot of heat towards the CPU, chipset and hard drive when in load. In contrast to what you see on many systems, here it would be a good move to put an extraction fan at the front of the casing so as to deal with the hot air expelled by the Radeon HD 6990.

Unfortunately noise levels are also very high on this machine, beating all previous records. Note however that noise varies between 52.8 and 59.4 dB in 375W mode and by optimising cooling of the casing, it should be possible to stay at the lower end of this range.

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