Not too long ago, we were all salivating at the release of NVIDIA's GTX 580 graphics card and scrambling to make the most of the world's fastest Direct X GPU. Now AMD has bounced back with the announcement that its new Radeon HD 6990 card has beaten NVIDIA's 3DMark 11 performance score in industry standard benchmark testing for a single graphics card. AMD says that its new powerhouse GPU is able to automatically unlock higher clock speeds, features technology aimed at giving gamers the best possible visual experience, and supports a number of different display options, including expanding the field of view over five monitors with Eyefinity technology.

AMD beat NVIDIA's single card HWBOT benchmark score using a passively-cooled AMD Radeon HD 6990 graphics card with Catalyst 11.4 drivers on a machine using Windows 7 64-bit operating system, an Intel Core i7 Extreme 990X, a Rampage III Extreme Motherboard and DDR3 memory. The company has now claimed the title of the fastest graphics card in the world. The new GPU packs "more raw performance than any consumer graphics card ever created," according to AMD's Matt Skynner.

Built on AMD's second-generation, Microsoft DirectX 11-capable architecture and including AMD PowerTune technology for on-the-fly, intelligent power management which automatically dials in higher clock speeds and faster performance, the new dual GPU Radeon HD 6990 also boasts native support for up to five displays via AMD's Eyefinity technology. This capability can be bumped up to six displays, possible through support for DisplayPort 1.2 components, which will be made available later this year. Even more stereoscopic and high definition movie and gaming options are possible with the inclusion of HDMI 1.4a.

There's 4GB of GDDR5 memory for improved image quality, and gamers will appreciate the ability to step on the gas and unlock clocks and voltages for improved performance, thanks to the inclusion of a dual-BIOS toggle switch.

Visual quality is given a dramatic boost thanks to Enhanced-Quality Anti-Aliasing, which uses a newly developed sampling technique, while DirectCompute acceleration is used by Morphological Anti-Aliasing for anti-aliasing on any DirectX 9 through 11 applications. Clearer and more vibrant video is promised with the inclusion of AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration technology, and the Unified Video Decoder 3 should help get the most out of HD and 3D playback.

The Radeon HD 6990 graphics card is available now, with prices starting at a recommended retail of US$699.