AMD outs Cayman-powered HD 6970, 6950

AMD today allowed the wraps to be taken off its new Cayman-powered flagship GPU in the form of the Radeon HD 6900 series

Unusually for AMD, the new chip architecture named Cayman does not come along with a new manufacturing process. This chip is stuck on the previous-generation 40nm line, simply because AMD foundry partner TSMC isn't ready with the 28nm process. This means the chip is the biggest AMD has yet produced.

The Cayman GPU is made up of some 2.64 billion transistors on a die sized about 389mm2. The architecture features a pair of graphics engines on one chip. The GPU powers two graphics cards released today, the Radeon HD 6970 and the Radeon HD 6950.

In its HD6900 incarnation it sports 24 SIMD engines and a total of 1536 stream processors with 96 texture units

Its core clock speed of 880MHz, together with a dedicated high speed interface to 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1375MHz (5.5Gb/s effective) delivers the highest performance in AMD's 6000 series cards. The firm says its new Tesselation engines bring up to three times the performance of the previous generation, and new Enhanced Quality AA and filtering modes bring the highest image quality the firm has yet achieved.

The Cayman chips feature a new dynamic power management feature - AMD PowerTune - which enables the new HD 6970 to deliver maximum performance for demanding applications while operating within its specified rating of 250W. New options in the Catalyst Control Center allow enthusiasts with a big enough power supply to adjust this rating to boost performance. AMD says typical power consumption for gaming is 190W and the card has a low idle power of only 20W.

The lower-specced HD 6950 sports 1408 stream processors and 88 texture processing units and is clocked at speeds of 800MHz for the core and 1250MHz (5 Gb/sec effective) for the memory.

Pictured is Sapphire's HD 6970 series which is launched today