AMD made it clear that the ATI brand was living on borrowed time, and with the introduction of AMD's Radeon HD 6800 series, we figured ATI was officially dead. We may have been wrong.
Credit goes to Fudzilla for spotting a page in AMD's Developer Central portal outlining six upcoming Radeon 6000 series cards, and unlike the 6800 series, these new parts carry the ATI label. They include the ATI Radeon HD 6230, ATI Radeon HD 6250, ATI Radeon HG 6290, ATI Radeon HD 6390, ATI Radeon HD 6510, and ATI Radeon HD 6750 cards.
These are all Evergreen parts and may end up being renamed before all is said and done, or as OEM cards, but at least for now it appears the ATI label may live on a little longer.
Turns out the rumors are true, AMD's Cayman card (Radeon HD 6970) really is delayed. Originally scheduled to launch later this month, AMD says it's pushing back the release date to December 13, 2010, Fudzilla reports.
"Demand for the ATI Radeon HD 5800 series continues to be very strong, the ATI Radeon HD 5970 remains the fastest graphics card in the world and the newest members of the AMD graphics family, the AMD Radeon HD 6850 and HD 6870, have set new standards for performance at their respective price points, and are available in volume," AMD said in a PR statement.
"With that in mind, we are going to take a bit more time before shipping the AMD Radeon HD 6900 series. As of today, the NDA lift for information relating to the AMD Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970 will be week 50. We will be providing additional information on these products, including the exact date and time of the NDA lift, in the weeks prior to launch."
That essentially boils down to a three-week delay, which leads us to believe there's more to the story than what AMD is willing to divulge. We don't doubt that current parts are selling well, but if AMD was able to release Cayman in time for the holiday shopping spree, it seems to us they'd want to do that. Fudzilla reckons that the Cayman part might not be quite up to par with Nvidia's GTX 580 videocard and so AMD is simply buying a little time to tweak things, while past reports suggest Texas Instruments has been slow to ship a crucial part used in building the upcoming card.
The gang over at VR-Zone believe they have it on good authority that AMD's upcoming Cayman card, otherwise known as the Radeon HD 6970, is being delayed, but not because of yield issues as some have speculated. Citing an "insider," VR-Zone says the problem has to do with a shortage of a specific piece of hardware from Texas Instruments.
Specifically, TI is having trouble supplying an integrated driver-MOSFET (DrMOS) that was introduced on AMD's HD 6800 series. Because it's such a new part, there isn't much info floating around cyberspace, only that current supply is limited.
Since the same part is used in current 6800 series cards and because the 6800 and 6900 series use the same VRM design, there just aren't enough parts to go around. That's good news for Nvidia, which just stole back the single-GPU performance crown with its GeForce GTX 580 videocard.
There's still a chance AMD will launch Cayman on November 22nd as originally planned, but if it does, supply will likely be limited.
Following the recent release of the Catalyst 10.10 driver suite, AMD has made available the Catalyst 10.10a hotfix aimed specifically at HD 6870 and HD 6850 videocard owners. The hotfix adds the following:
Support for the new Morphological Anti-Aliasing feature
Performance optimizations for systems with an AMD Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850 series of graphics products installed
On that second bullet point, AMD promises performance enhancements in Aliens versus Predator and Star Craft 2, as well as OpenGL performance boosts in Prey, Quake Wars: Enemy Territories, and Heaven V2.
As rumored, Nvidia slashed the price of its GeForce GTX 470 videocard today, and did so by more than 25 percent, at least in terms of MSRP. The GTX 470, which was originally marked at $349, can now be found for as little as $260.
That's about $20 more expensive than the lowest priced AMD Radeon HD 6870 videocards (you can read our review of the XFX HD 6870 here, and the HD 6850 here), all without any mail-in-rebate shenanigans.
So out of the two, which should you get? You could flip a piece-of-eight and be happy with the result no matter how it lands. The GTX 470 is slightly faster than the HD 6870, while the latter costs a little less. If a warranty is what matters most, out of the $260 and under cards, only the EVGA GTX 470 comes with a lifetime backing (provided you register the card within 30 days). XFX also offers a lifetime backing on its cards, which one-ups EVGA's by being transferable to a second owner, but the XFX HD 6870 runs for $280.
Are you planning to upgrade to one of these new cards? If so, which one? Even if you're not, which do you think is the better buy out of these: HD 6870, HD 6850, GTX 470, GTX 460.
As we explained in our introduction to AMD’s brand-new Radeon HD 6000-series, which you can read here, the Radeon HD 6870 is the second in a series of new GPUs optimized for DirectX 11 games.
Despite the naming scheme, however, the 6870 is not AMD’s new top-shelf GPU: The 6870 is more comparable to the older 5850, but it’s much cheaper and consumes considerably less power. The real targets AMD is gunning for here are Nvidia’s mid-priced 768MB and 1GB GeForce 460 GPUs.
AMD shipped its first DirectX 11 GPU, the Radeon HD 5870, in late 2009. Despite supporting Microsoft’s latest 3D API, the new GPU was built on an architectural foundation based on the earlier Radeon HD 4000 series. AMD is now launching its second-generation DX11 product, code-named Northern Islands, but these new processors are based on an architecture that’s a from-the-ground-up new design.
The company also approaching this launch a little differently: Instead of pushing out a new, high-end product, AMD is launching two GPUs—collectively code-named Barts—that will be aimed squarely at the midrange market, where cards sell for less than $250. AMD will ship a new high-end product later this year, but the bread-and-butter of the gaming market is in cheaper cards.
As we explained in our introduction to AMD’s brand-new Radeon HD series, which you can read here, the Radeon HD 6850 is based on an entirely new GPU architecture optimized for DirectX 11 games. But don’t be confused by AMD’s branding: The Radeon HD 6850 will replace the Radeon HD 5830, not the Radeon HD 5850 and certainly not the company’s top-shelf GPU, the Radeon HD 5870.
Recent rumors suggest AMD has settled on calling its upcoming Barts XT and Barts PRO videocards the Radeon HD 6870 and 6850, respectively. That would make sense, except for one not-so-minor detail: these cards are intended to replace AMD's Radeon HD 5700 series, not the 5800 series.
That won't affect Maximum PC readers, but for gamers who don't have the time or desire to keep up with such things are likely to end up confused thinking the 6870 and 6850 trump the 5870 and 5850. That's not going to be the case.
Now we're hearing chatter that AMD plans to dub its Cayman XT and Cayman PRO variants Radeon HD 6970 and 6950, respectively. These will be AMD's top-end graphics cards, but unlike the Radeon HD 5970, these are both single-GPU parts.
The Cayman parts are expected to launch in late November.
By hanging out at the rumor mill, we recently learned AMD plans to ship its next-generation HD 6870 and HD 6850 graphics cards on October 22nd, just over a week from today. Before we left, we heard some more interesting chatter.
Keep in mind that none of this is coming from AMD, but it appears the company who killed off the ATI brand is playing shenanigans with the upcoming cards' model numbers. At a glance, you would expect the 6870 and 6850 to replace the 5870 and 5850, but you'd be wrong, through no fault of your own. Placing logic in a burlap sack, beating it senseless, and throwing it into a river, AMD's 6870 and 6850 will reportedly replace the Radeon 5700 series.
Chinese-language website XFastest.com has the skinny on the new parts. According to XFastest, the 6870 has a 900MHz core clock, 960 stream processors, a 256-bit memory bus, and GDDR5 cranked up to 4200MHz (effective). This one will likely end up selling for $250.
As for the 6850, this one features a 775MHz core clock, 800 stream processors, and GDDR5 clocked at 4000MHz (effective), as well as the same 256-bit memory bus.
XFastest has the 6870 scoring below a 5870 in 3DMark Vantage (P17,924 versus P16,270), while the 6850 scored below a 5850 (P15,593 versus P14,872).