The Best 3d Cards

The best 3D cards support multiple monitors and HD output.

Video cards are constantly being upgraded to incorporate new advances in hardware and software. As of March of 2011 some of the most powerful video cards from Nvida and ATI include models from the GeForce GTX 500 and Radeon HD 6000 series. The most powerful models available in these video card families incorporate a pair of graphics processing units to provide significant gains in processing power using existing technology.

HD 6990

The most powerful card currently available from ATI is the Radeon HD 6990. This card uses a pair of Antilles GPUs clocked at 830 megahertz to calculate 5099.52 billion floating point operations per second. This card provides 3,072 shader processors for texture processing and has a GDDR5 memory architecture using a 256-bit data bus clocked at 2500 MHz with an effective clock speed of 5000 MHz. This card is only available with a 4 gigabyte memory configuration that has a maximum memory bandwidth of 320 gigabytes per second. The HD 6990 is compatible with the PCI Express 2.0 x16 graphics interface and requires 375 watts of power.

GTX 590

The GTX 590 is Nvida’s answer to the HD 6990. This card uses a pair of GTX 500 GPUs with a core clock speed of 607 MHz and a shader clock of 1215 MHz. These processors can calculate floating point operations at 2488.32 GFLOPs per second and process textures using 1024 shader processors. The memory included on the GTX 590 is only available in a three gigabyte configuration using GDDR5 memory with a 384-bit memory bus. This provides the GTX 590 with a memory bandwidth of 327.744 gigabytes per second. This card also uses the PCI-Express 2.0 x16 graphics interface but uses slightly less power than the HD 6990 with a maximum power draw of 365 watts.

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HD 5970

The HD 5970 is a dual-GPU video card from the previous generation of ATI video cards. This card was first introduced in November of 2009. It uses the PCI Express 2.0 x16 card interface and is equipped with two RV870 GPUs. These processors have a core clock of 725 MHz and process textures using 3,200 fragment pipelines. The memory used in this card is GDDR5 memory using a 256-bit memory bus. The HD 5970 is available in 2 and 4 gigabyte memory configurations with a memory clock of two GHz and an effective speed of 4 GHz. The memory bandwidth supplied by this card allows it to transfer data at 256 GB per second.

HD 6970

The HD 6970 is a single-GPU video card released by ATI in December of 2010. This card uses the PCI Express 2.0 x16 graphics card interface and uses a single Cayman GPU that has core and shader clock speeds of 880MHz. It uses GDDR5 memory with a 256-bit bus in a 2048 MB configuration. This memory has a clock speed of 2,750 MHz with an effective rate of 5500 MHz. It transfers data at a maximum rate of 176 GB per second and is capable of processing 2703.36 GFLOPs per second. It processes textures using 1,536 shader processors and requires 250 watts of power to run during peak processing.