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Tuesday, 23 November 2010 15:20

AMD Cayman further detailed

Written by Slobodan Simic

More slides, more details

After yesterday's slide that showed all the specs regarding the upcoming Cayman and Antilles GPUs, some other slides have appeared online showing some details regarding the Cayman architecture. New slides show some rather interesting details like the VLIW4 SP design, the new dual graphics engine, and a feature called the "power containment".

After the inital rumours that AMD might switch from VLIW5 to VLIW4 design, came the Barts GPU which still retained the old VLIW5 design, altough it had some neat features regarding the actual design of the chip (individual dispatch processors for each of the SIMD block). The Cayman, on the other hand, feels like a real evolution as this one indeed features the new VLIW4 design which means that it has four stream processing units, as opposed to VLIW5 with four simple and one complex SP unit.

The VLIW4 design should provide similar preformance with a 10 percent reduction in die size, at least according to AMD. Although it looks like all four SM units are equal in size, so it appears that two are assigned with some special functions.

The talk of greater parallelization started with the Barts GPU which had individual dispatch processor for each SIMD Engine Block, something that certainly helped Barts in tessellation. Cayman on the other hand, has two graphics processing engines (GPEs), one for each SIMD engine, which means that it should raise the tessellation performance by up to 3-4x, at least on paper.

Another novelty is the upgraded Render Back-End which in Cayman's case has 128 Z/Stencil ROPs, 32 color ROPs, 2x faster 16-bit integer ops and 2-4x faster 32-bit FP ops.

Last but not least slide shows something called the "power containment feature". This looks quite similar to the thing seen on Nvidia's GTX 580 card as this should keep the TDP at the pre-determined level. It has an integrated power control processor that monitors power draw every clock cycle and should provide direct control over GPU power draw.

On the other hand, the slide promises that it should be user controllable via AMD OverDrive Utility and AMD obviously learned from Nvidia's mistake.

You can find all slides here.
Last modified on Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:26
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+40 #1 Wolfdale 2010-11-24 00:33
id like to see the real benchmarks tbh..

all this number crunching of slides all sounds way too happy, and nvidida makes it sounds like their slides are better...

id like to see those cards preform in an actual use-environment rather than special created demos and slides

nvidia and ati both have a killer card on their hands, and ofc theres gonna be huge discussions about who rocks who's mom

and you know.. there will allways be differences.. even a card that holds the crown cant beat the opponent at EVERY SINGLE game you throw at it..

its all about what YOU want to play on it, and price/preformance..
those 2 decide whos the true winner and at this moment, im not sure at all
+16 #2 Super XP 2010-11-24 01:23
I can't wait to pick one of these up. The HD 6970 should easily be between 50% to 75% performance increase in Real World Gaming over the HD 5870 card. If this has anything to do with Northern Islands original intended design features it should be able to outperform the HD 5870 by as much as 150%. But that most likely will not be the case due to the fact AMD was hampered by the existing 40nm. I like the fact ATI/AMD worked hard and super fast to get this thing working on 40nm all thanks to TMSC screw-up with 32nm process.

Bring on the competition and help drive prices down into the dirt.
+17 #3 Regenweald 2010-11-24 03:54
The thing looks to be a powerhouse! and Antilles is TWO of these on one board. wow :o
+19 #4 Fud_u 2010-11-24 06:16
I will be warm and comfy this December.
+18 #5 BorgOvermind 2010-11-24 07:29
VLIW5 to VLIW4 would give you 20% extra performance at the same number of shaders given the parallelism inefficiency of currently used software (games).
If the card has 1920 instead of 1600, that would add an extra 33%. So 6970 will be at least 43% faster then the 5870. An average estimation would be 53% and the card can go even above 60% if other things are tweaked too (clocks, RBEs, etc).
-56 #6 MATTEEDO 2010-11-24 08:50
Looks like the gtx570 might have some competition.
+22 #7 nECrO 2010-11-24 09:01
Looks like the gtx570 might have some competition.

Surely you meant the GTX580. And I would venture to guess it will actually end up being the GTX580 having something to aspire to.....
+1 #8 stoneeh 2010-11-24 09:33
great predictions here *sarcasm*. keep in mind pixel performance will not be improved and memory bandwidth wont change too much as well. ~50% more shader power wont translate in overall 50% higher performance

that being said, it will still kick the gtx580's ass :D
-34 #9 makaveli 2010-11-24 09:42
well OG HD6970-gtx480, 6970 will be 10-15% faster than gtx480 but 5-10% slower than gtx580,but price will be 330-360eur :D
+1 #10 CRoland 2010-11-24 09:54
The talk of greater parallelization started with the Barts GPU which had individual dispatch processor for each SIMD Engine Block, something that certainly helped Barts in tessellation.

Actually, Cypress already had a dispatch engine for each block. That's not where Barts' improvements came from.

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