Radeon HD 6900 series slides leak

Doesn’t reveal all of the specs

DESPITE SIGNING NDAS it seems like it’s impossible to prevent leaks of upcoming products and a set of slides detailing AMD’s upcoming Radeon HD 6900 series have made its way online. These slides are the real deal, but some details are still missing, as AMD decided to leave some of the important details out of its presentation.

Yours truly didn’t attend the presentation and even the site hosting the slides isn’t the originator. We spotted the slides over at Expreview which is based out of China, although the pictures are said to come from a Polish site called Frazpc. Today was the original NDA expiry date, but as we all know, it’s now been pushed back for whatever reason. However, it seems like Frazpc didn’t get the memo from AMD and thus posted the slides which have since then been pulled.

So what can we make from the slides? Well, for one it’s pretty clear than the 6900 GPUs are much more powerful than the 6800 series and AMD even claims a geometry processing power that’s twice that of the previous generation. That also suggests that we’re looking at something that’s twice as fast as the 6800 series considering it’s about on par with the 5800 series of cards. On problem is that the slides don’t actually feature enough details to verify how fast the new cards will be.

However, AMD is making a big deal out of the 6900 GPU having dual graphics engines and a new VLIW4 core architecture, which looks to be the real Northern Island “new architecture”. Add to this more SIMD engines and texture units, as well as upgraded render back-ends and AMD should’ve managed to get a fair bit of extra performance out of the 6900 series. The 6900 series also features dual 8th generation tessellation units with support for off-chip buffer and AMD claims up to three times the tessellation performance over the 5870.

The product specification slide leaves a lot to be desired, as it only let slip a memory bandwidth in excess of 160GB/s, 128 Z/Stencil ROPs, 32 Colour ROPs and that the new GPUs can process two polygons per clock compared to one of the 5870. As for SIMD engines, Stream processors (shaders) and Texture units, well, they’re all labelled with TBD, but judging by the earlier slides, expect some serious increases here over the 5870.

AMD has also come up with yet a new anti-aliasing technology called EQAA or Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing. This is a new MSAA mode with up to 16 coverage samples per pixel and the ability to manually control the number of colour and coverage samples that should be used. It’s said to be compatible with Adaptive AA, SSAA and AMD’s 6800 series addition, Morphological AA. We have no idea how much better this will look, but in theory at least it should be an improvement over MSAA.

There are also a couple of slides about power containment, as it turns out that the 6970 will use around 300W of power, while the 6950 should end up close to 225W according to the slides. The power is listed as board power rather than TDP, so this should be actual power usage. Due to this AMD has come up with a new integrated power control processor that’s said to monitor power draw every clock cycle and it has the ability to dynamically adjust clocks for various blocks of the GPU to enforce the pre-set TDP value. There’s meant to be some form of user control here via AMD’s OverDrive utility, although it’s not clear as to how much control. AMD also claims that its solution provides direct control over GPU power draw and hints that it’s not like the driver-based solution that Nvidia came up with for its GTX 580.

Finally we should mention something about the cards themselves. Well, they look just like the 6800 series, same connectivity options and same boxy cooling shrouds, although the PCB of the cards appear to be slightly longer. It’s unclear whether or not these cards have one or two CrossFire connectors, although it seems like both the 6950 and 6970 will come with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. As for the rest of the specifications and actual benchmarks it seems like we’ll have to wait until the NDA expires.S|A

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