We woke into an early Monday morning with leaked slides
that AMD is using to brief their favorite press and analysts regarding the upcoming GPUs: Cayman and Antilles parts from the Radeon HD 6900 Series. Cayman powers Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970, to be followed by HD 6930 once the number of non-functional ASICs reach a sufficient level to launch a "filler-part". According to our sources, usually the number of QA failed cores need to reach 30,000 units, but we've seen both companies launching filler-parts even with 12,000 weaker ASICs on stock [inventory clean-up actions].
In any case, HD 6900 Series Family will have two guaranteed parts at launch - HD 6950 and HD 6970, with dual-GPU Antilles will follow in the first quarter of 2011 - the launch should happen at CES 2011 timeframe [conveniently, nVidia is also preparing an event at CES 2011].
Getting back to the topic, suspected specifications for two upcoming graphics chips from AMD are as follows: Cayman XT will feature 1536 cores, while dual-GPU Antilles will carry 3072 cores. According to our sources, Cayman Pro [HD 6950] is somewhere in the 1600 core range - on par with previous top single GPU part, Radeon HD 5870.
Cayman GPU features 32 ROP units and is capable of outputting 32 pixels per clock, which is less than GTX 580 and their 48 pixels/clock. The number of texture units is set at 96, up from 80 on Evergreen and 64 on GTX 480 and GTX 580. As far as memory clock goes, HD 6970 will ship with 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 1.25GHz in QDR mode [5000 MT/s] for a video memory bandwidth total of 160GB/s [HD5870: 1.20GHz QDR, 153.6GB/s].
When it comes to computing power, 1536 cores mean serious business - AMD is citing 3TFLOPS in single-precision and 0.75 TFLOPS in double-precision. While this is only a small performance upgrade from its predecessor, the Cypress GPU [2.72 TFLOPS SP, 0.54 TFLOPS DP], bear in mind that both Cayman and Antilles represent an architectural refresh of Evergreen, not a completely new architecture.
All in all, we will see what the performance will look like not just against the GeForce GTX 580, but against GTX 570 as well, given that the parts are scheduled to debut in third week of December. Our sources informed us that HD 6950 and HD 6970 are scheduled to debut on December 15, at 12:01AM EST. We're working hard on securing a sample for launch review, but it is not easy given that we were taken off the press list with no particular reason.
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