AMD’s Dual 290x Graphics Card Is Just A Rumor, But Here’s Why It Definitely … – Forbes

The rumor mill is spinning once again, and this time the focus is on AMD and its Hawaii XT GPU used in their flagship Radeon 290x card. These rumors strongly suggest that “Vesuvius” — allegedly AMD’s codename for a dual-GPU graphics card — is real, and that its release is imminent.

Whispers of Vesuvius reach back to November 2013 when notorious (but not always accurate) Chinese website VR-Zone reported that it was indeed on AMD’s roadmap. Vesuvius would essentially be a followup to the Radeon 7990, sporting two Hawaii XT GPUs. In simpler terms: a dual 290x card in a single SKU.

Then, earlier this week. VR-Zone again claimed that Vesuvius was real, and pointed to the existence of a customized card called ARES III by Asus (Ares is Asus’ line for dual NVIDIA NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards). As translated by WCCFTech, VR-Zone asserts that the ARES III will release in the 2nd quarter of 2014.

AMD's 7990 was effectively dual 7970s in a single SKU. Are you ready for a dual-290x release?

AMD’s 7990 was effectively dual 7970s in a single SKU. Are you ready for a dual-290x Hawaii XT release?

The technical details continue, with the site explaining that ARES III — and the reference card AMD has designed — will require three 8-pin PCI-E connectors, a rated TDP of about 500W, and 8GB of GDDR5 memory (4GB on each GPU).

Now before you stock up on fire extinguishers, take solace in knowing that the ARES III will feature a hybrid air and water cooled setup.

Why am I positive this will shake out as more than a rumor? AMD’s product history offers a compelling dose of proof. The 5990, 6990, and 7990 have set a fairly consistent, years-long precedent, and this elite battle of dual-GPU releases has been waged between Nvidia and AMD for some time. In the middle of 2011, we saw the GTX 590 from Team Green. Middle of 2012? The GTX 690.

Nvidia skipped 2013, and AMD took advantage by releasing the Radeon 7990. While it was an absolute beast at benchmarks, it was derided for its noise and thermal inadequacies. This means two things: 1) Nvidia’s GTX 790 is long overdue and 2) AMD’s engineers have something to prove, and you can bet AMD won’t let Nvidia release the GTX 790 uncontested.

An argument can be made that Nvidia's 790 is long overdue...

An argument can be made that Nvidia’s 790 is long overdue…

As my audience is aware, I’m a gamer and a cryptocurrency miner, so my heart started racing when I estimated what kind of hashrate a dual 290x would kick out. And very briefly, my wallet ached at the prospect of mining farms snatching this up en masse, resulting in more price inflation and product scarcity. I don’t believe that will happen.

Mining farms and people with massive deployments of GPUs will have zero interest in the work involved in setting up a ton of liquid-cooled cards. I see this dual 290x release (what will they call it, by the way? 290x-x2?) as a way to get back in the good graces of enthusiasts and hardcore PC gamers.

Just to cover the bases, I did reach out to AMD and they opted not to offer a comment. I then spoke with my rep at Asus, who gave me this response: “The ARES III is in the rumor mill but there is no official confirmation if we will do a dual Hawaii card or not.”

Graphics card releases are always a bit of a chess game. Is AMD waiting for Nvidia to unveil their latest dual-GPU solution at Nvidia’s own GPU Technology Conference later this month, or is Nvidia waiting for AMD to fire the first shot? While officially neither of these products exist, their release is only a matter of time, and PC gamers are in for a thrilling next few months.

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