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Wednesday, December 15, 2010
AMD Launches The Radeon HD 6970 and Radeon HD 6950 Graphics Cards


Launching today are the Radeon HD 6970 and Radeon HD 6950, AMD's top single-GPU products. The cards are utilizing AMD's new Cayman GPU, which has a redesigned microarchitecture and are positioned to compete with Nvidia's Fermi-based GTX 500 series (GTX 570/480 ).

The Radeon HD 6970 is featuring a complete Cayman GPU, it has 1536 stream processors, 96 texture units, and 32 ROPs. It is clocked at 880MHz for the core clock and 1375MHz for its 2GB of GDDR5 RAM. TDP is 250W.

The Radeon HD 6950 has 1408 stream processors, 88 texture units, and still all 32 ROPs attached to the same 2GB of GDDR5. The core clock is set to 800MHz, while the memory clock is 1250MHz . TDP is 200W, while idle power is the same as with the 6970 at 20W.

  AMD Radeon HD 6970 AMD Radeon HD 6950 AMD Radeon HD 6870 AMD Radeon HD 6850 AMD Radeon HD 5870
Stream Processors 1536 1408 1120 960 1600
Texture Units 96 88 56 48 80
ROPs 32 32 32 32 32
Core Clock 880MHz 800MHz 900MHz 775MHz 850MHz
Memory Clock 1.375GHz (5.5GHz effective) GDDR5 1.25GHz (5.0GHz effective) GDDR5 1.05GHz (4.2GHz effective) GDDR5 1GHz (4GHz effective) GDDR5 1.2GHz (4.8GHz effective) GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
Frame Buffer 2GB 2GB 1GB 1GB 1GB
FP64 1/4 1/4 N/A N/A 1/5
Transistor Count 2.64B 2.64B 1.7B 1.7B 2.15B
Manufacturing Process TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm TSMC 40nm
Price $369 $299 $239 $179 ~$349




In the biggest change to AMD's core GPU architecture. AMD is moving to the VLIW4 architecture, which allows better utilization than the pervious VLIW5 design, according to AMD. With AMD Radeon HD 6900 series graphics, AMD has further enhanced its GPU design efficiency, realizing a 10 percent improvement in performance/mm2.



Cayman implements AMD's 8th generation tessellator, which implies is the 7th generation tessellator with even further enhancements. The dual 8th generation tessellation units deliver up to 2.9x tessellation performance compared to ATI Radeon HD 5870 graphics. It also features a refined texture filtering engine and supports the DisplayPort 1.2 standard, which doubles DisplayPort's bandwidth to 21.6Gbps, giving DisplayPort a significant bandwidth lead over dual-link DVI. This means that it's now possible to drive multiple monitors off of a single root DisplayPort. The 6900 series also comes with an HDMI 1.4a output.

The AMD PowerTune technology automatically adjusts GPU power draw by dynamically controlling clock speeds, allowing gamers advanced performance inside of the power envelope they specify.

The AMD Radeon HD 6900 series also enables an exceptional game play experience in DirectX 9, DirectX 10, DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL titles in single card or multi-card AMD CrossFireX configurations.

Enhanced anti-aliasing features enable dramatically improved image quality and enhanced visual quality features . New features include Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA), which uses a new sampling technique to help improve visual quality, Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA), compatible with any DirectX 9, DirectX 10, or DirectX 11 application, and improved anisotropic filtering.

The cards also feature AMD HD3D technology, backed by our open 3D initiative for stereo 3D gaming and movies, AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) technology and the Unified Video Decoder 3 (UVD3), a dedicated video playback accelerator that helps users get the most out of HD video, online video and Blu-ray 3D, while enjoying a video quality improvements such as advanced post-processing and scaling, dynamic contrast enhancement, color correction and more.



In terms of physical dimensions, the new 6900 series is nearly identical with the the 6800 series. Power is provided by a set of 6+8pin PCIe power sockets at the top of the card, necessary as the 6970's 250W TDP is in excess of the 225W 6+6 limit. The 6950 on the other hand does use 6+6 PCIe power sockets in the same location. AMD already used a vapor chamber last year on the dual-GPU 5970, while this year both AMD and NVIDIA are using them on their high-end single-GPU products.



As for I/O we?re looking at AMD's new port layout as seen on the 6800 series: 2x DVI, 1x HDMI 1.4, and 2x mini-DP.

The 6970 is expected to perform very close to the GTX 570/480 on average, while the 6950 is possibly positioned between the the 5870/470 and the 6970/570. The 6970 will be launching slightly above the 570 at $379, while the 6950 will be launching at the $299 spot.



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