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AMD glitch sees Radeon HD 6790 get a boost

Initial production runs of AMD's Radeon HD 6790 graphics cards appear to be hiding a pleasant surprise: a boost in ROPs from the original specifications.

The ROPs, or 'Raster OPeration' units, are a vital link in the GPU's rendering chain, which is responsible for pushing the rendered pixels out to the screen - and while the quantity of ROPs on offer doesn't have as much of an impact on performance as other GPU units, a free upgrade is nothing to sniff at.

Looking at AMD's official specifications, the Radeon HD 6970's GPU - a Barts design based on a 40nm manufacturing process - comes with 16 ROPs enabled out of 32 physical units on the chip, the rest being unlocked in higher-end boards. Initial indications, however, suggest that AMD forgot to tell its manufacturers - and early models of the cards are apearing with 24 ROPs instead of the intended 16.

According to techPowerUp, which was one of the first sites to pick up on AMD's apparent largesse, boards from multiple manufacturers are displaying a ROP count of 24 - suggesting that it's an 'issue' with the GPU itself.

AMD has, thus far, not responded to our requests for comment on the matter - and it's not yet known whether the ROP boost represents a last-minute change in specifications for the 6790 boards, or if future models will ship with the originally intended 16 ROPs.