Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AMD Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 Have Arrived

AMD today released the company's twp top dawgs the Radeon HD 6970 and Radeon HD 6950. The two new cards are meant to complete AMD’s Radeon HD 6000 single-GPU card family which was introduced back on October 21st. At that time, only the Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850 were launched.

The Radeon HD 6970 and Radeon HD 6950 are completely identical in shape and size in fact they are essentially the same cards visually. Specifications aside the only major difference is that the 6970 requires one 8-pin and one 6-pin connector, while the 6950 requires two 6-pin connectors. Both cards support dual-link DVI and HDMI 1.4a natively. There is also support for a two miniDP outputs, version 1.2. Eyefinity is also fully supported.

A new feature added to the Radeon HD 6970 and Radeon HD 6950 is a dual-BIOS on board. AMD has implemented this dual-BIOS is so that people flashing their BIOS’s will not brick their video cards. One BIOS on video card contains the factory default which is protected. The other BIOS is open and allows you to flash to it. If you screw up your BIOS flash, all you have to do is switch the video card back (via an actual switch on the side of the card) to the protected BIOS and re-flash the other BIOS. Saving the user from bricking their pricey add-on.

Based on the early reviews the cards perform pretty much as expected with both the Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 showing very fine price-to-performance ratios. The 6970 manages to keep pace with the much pricier NVIDIA GTX 580, but is priced similarly to NVIDIA's GTX 570. The much cheaper HD 6950 seems to have hit the real value price point with a a great price-to-performance ratio making it the new bang-for-the-buck leader.

Radeon HD 6970 Specifications
The AMD Radeon HD 6970 packs 2.64 Billion transistors and 1,536 streaming processors running at 880MHz core clock speed on the 40nm process. There are 96 texture units, 32 ROPs and 128 Z-Stencil. There is 2GB of GDDR5 running at 5.5GHz on a 256-bit memory bus. This provides 176GB/sec of memory bandwidth.

Radeon HD 6950 Specifications
The Radeon HD 6950 is also based on the 40nm process with the same 2.64 Billion transistors. There are 1,408 streaming processors running at 800MHz core clock speed. There are 88 texture units, and the same 32 ROPs and 128 Z-Stencil count. There is also 2GB of 5GHz GDDR5 RAM being used which provides 160GB/sec of bandwidth.

Benchmarks and Reviews

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