You know we're building up for a big new hardware release when the leaked benchmark results start rolling in, and a mysterious screenshot of a 3DMark Vantage score from a Radeon HD 6800 card has just bobbed above the surface.
The screenshot was recently posted on the Chinese-speaking PCInLife forums (Google translation), showing a 3DMark Vantage score and a GPU-Z screenshot. As you would expect, the latest version of GPU-Z (0.4.5) hasn't detected all the GPU's details, but it has come up with some goodies.
The most important one is the GPU code number 6718 at the top, which corresponds with the code numbers the chaps at VR-Zone recently fished out of the innards of AMD's new Catalyst 10.8 driver. According to VR-Zone's list of code numbers, 6718 is a Cayman XT chip.
You might remember the name Cayman from earlier this week, when rumours appeared about a few of AMD's new Radeon HD 6000-series chips. According to previous reports, Cayman is going to be based on AMD's Cypress core and is designed to replace the Radeon HD 5800-series. Again, this tidily corresponds with the GPU-Z screenshot, where the GPU's name is detected as a Radeon HD 6800-series chip.
If the screenshots are to be believed, then this Radeon HD 6800-series card (probably the 6870) has the same 850MHz GPU clock speed as the Radeon HD 5870, but has much faster memory.
According to the GPU-Z snap, the card's GDDR5 memory is running at a scorching 1.6GHz (6.4GHz effective), making it a good 400MHz quicker than the 1.2GHz (4.8GHz effective) RAM on the Radeon HD 5870. However, as with the 5870, the card in the GPU-Z screenshot also has a 256-bit memory interface.
It's the 3DMark Vantage score that's really interesting, though. The overall score of X11963 is impressive stuff, but it's the GPU score that's important, seeing as we don't know the specs of the test rig. If the screenshot is genuine, the GPU clocked up an amazing score of 11634 in the benchmark's Extreme mode.
As a point of comparison, a standard Radeon HD 5870 gets a GPU score of just 8900, and a GeForce GTX 480 gets 10138. Both scores are convincingly hammered by the Radeon HD 6800 card.
Previous reports have stated the Radeon HD 6000-series will be a 'refresh' of the current GPU line-up, rather than a brand new architecture, with the focus on efficiency improvements rather than adding more stream processors. However, that's a pretty serious efficiency improvement if the result is genuine.
Of course, screenshots such as these are easy enough to fake, so it's always worth treating rumours such as these with a healthy dose of scepticism. However, there's enough information (such as the GPU code number) in the screenshot that looks like it could be on the money to us.