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Wednesday, 15 December 2010 14:50

AMD Cayman reviews mixed

Written by Slobodan Simic
radeon_logo_newhwroundup

Roundup: Bitter-sweet rhapsody
AMD has officially launched its own Cayman based HD 6900 series graphics cards featureing enhanced second generation architecture, DirectX 11 support, new image quality features and AMD's Eyefinity multi-display support. AMD's official press release is of course full of praise but the actual launch leaves a bitter taste since AMD didn't manage to outrun the GTX 580 in the king of the single-GPU king-of-the-hill race.

Don't get us wrong as the HD 6970 and HD 6950 are rather good cards considering the price/performance ratio. AMD also took time to officially explain, once again, that the new architecture (the VLIW4 design) is the key in gaining the 10 percent improvement in performance/mm2. The Cayman is also first GPU that has AMD's PowerTune technology that automatically adjusts GPU power draw by controlling clock speeds, and despite the fact that it does saw a couple of Watts, it also keeps the GPU inside the predetermined TDP.

HD-6900

The suggested price tag was the most surprising information concerning the Cayman launch and at US $369.99 for the HD 6970 and US $299.99 for the HD 6950, AMD pulled the Cayman down into a completely different battle, the one for the enthusiast market segment. The HD 6950 on the other hand doesn't have a competitor yet, but it is rather a card that has to deal with the HD 5870, at least until this one "mysteriously dissapears" from the market.

Nvidia's GTX 570 is breathing heavily down the HD 6970's neck and we are sure that we'll see a price adjustment coming from Nvidia pretty soon. Although the reviews are mixed, most reviewers agree on the same thing, AMD's Cayman is a decent card considering price/performance ratio, but we just can't shake off the previous battle for the fastest single card expectations. Bitter or not, AMD's Cayman cards are here to stay and at least the availability looks decent.

You can find our review here, while some of the reviews from other sites can be found below.

- Anandtech.com
- TechPowerUp.com - Radeon HD 6950 - Radeon HD 6970
- PCPerspective.com
- HotHardware.com
- HardOCP.com
- NeoSeeker.com
- PCEkspert.com



Last modified on Wednesday, 15 December 2010 18:20
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Comments  

 
-101 #1 Super XP 2010-12-15 16:05
There's no way the HD 6970 is losing against the GTX580 in real world gaming. Just wait for the newer drivers...

AMD does good with "PRICE / PERFORMANCE". that said, finally we understand the GTX 580 is way too overpriced...

The secret of the AMD 6900's second switch!
What does it do? Easy enough, it swaps the shader count. The 'normal' count is 1920 for a 205W 6970 card, and the switch opens up the full force of all 2520 shaders. The reason this switch is set to 'low' is that between the clock speed advances, 730MHz/1920 shaders to 920MHz/2520 shaders, it blows the card through the 300W cap for PCIe cards.

This switch is an elegant way of going from sub-GTX570 performance to way way way over GTX580 performance, and still getting PCIe certification.
 
 
+64 #2 thetruth 2010-12-15 16:21
Quoting Super XP:
There's no way the HD 6970 is losing against the GTX580 in real world gaming. Just wait for the newer drivers...


I never expected it to beat Nvidia's 580. I don't think that AMD has outpaced Nvidia's cards for several generations. The 480 beat the 5000 series (Though it did come out later), the 280 beat the 4000 series... but who cares?

Nvidia can continue to go for the fastest, hottest, most power thirsty card. I- and most other people- would rather have a decent, cheaper and more efficient card.
 
 
-32 #3 GhostOfSparta 2010-12-15 16:28
Told you so! I said: "6950/6970 disappoint". And they did.

Now there's whining and moaning going on. You hear ATI/AMD fanboys everywhere: "Wait for new drivers - they will make them 50% faster".

Just have the decency and admit that Nvidia once more has beaten ATI. Or have you no balls?
 
 
-63 #4 GhostOfSparta 2010-12-15 16:31
Quoting thetruth:
Nvidia can continue to go for the fastest, hottest, most power thirsty card.



TDP Nvidia GTX 580: 244 Watt
TDP AMD HD 6970: 250 Watt

Temperature under Furmark:
HD6970: 92°C
GTX480: 91°C
GTX580: 90°C
GTX570: 84°C

ATI/AMD is slower AND needs more power plus gets hotter. What a disappointment!
(source: http://ht4u.net/reviews/2010/amd_radeon_hd_6970_6950_cayman_test/index18.php)
 
 
+42 #5 NateMo1980 2010-12-15 16:35
"I never expected it to beat Nvidia's 580. I don't think that AMD has outpaced Nvidia's cards for several generations. The 480 beat the 5000 series (Though it did come out later), the 280 beat the 4000 series... but who cares?"

"Nvidia can continue to go for the fastest, hottest, most power thirsty card. I- and most other people- would rather have a decent, cheaper and more efficient card."

Exactly. With the way gfx cards get outdated what does it matter if you spend an extra 150+ dollars for something that is roughly 10% faster than a 69XX series card. Fanboys of either brand would hurt badly if only one competitor existed.It would be a no game condition If either one snuffed the other out. We need both to keep prices good. I lol at diehard fanboy's mentality.
 
 
+36 #6 bono 2010-12-15 16:44
Quoting GhostOfSparta:
Quoting thetruth:
Nvidia can continue to go for the fastest, hottest, most power thirsty card.



TDP Nvidia GTX 580: 244 Watt
TDP AMD HD 6970: 250 Watt

ATI/AMD is slower AND needs more power. What a disappointment!

And yet in gaming 6970 consumes almost 50W less than 580.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph4061/34663.png
In furmark that difference increases to 130W.
http://images.anandtech.com/graphs/graph4061/34664.png
 
 
-60 #7 0M3G4 2010-12-15 16:45
Quoting GhostOfSparta:
Quoting thetruth:
Nvidia can continue to go for the fastest, hottest, most power thirsty card.



TDP Nvidia GTX 580: 244 Watt
TDP AMD HD 6970: 250 Watt

ATI/AMD is slower AND needs more power. What a disappointment!


I don't understand why you guys are voting Ghost of Sparta down. His wattage figures are correct!
 
 
0 #8 63jax 2010-12-15 16:48
to buy the fastest gpu available someone has to be extremely extremely stupid. in just 3 months is absolutely outdated but the price difference is not ''outdated''. i'd better buy a hi-end cpu it don't fall off so quickly as gpu does.
 
 
-33 #9 Warrior24_7 2010-12-15 17:16
I've been saying it and now its "OFFICIAL", the 6970 IS NOT faster than the 580 no matter how much you "wish" it was! Gayman has failed in its expectations so hear come the avalanche of excuses, and the so called "value", less is more $h!t from AM-DUNG! They delayed the launch, went back to the drawing board, and copied Nvidia as much as they could and STILL could not match the 580!
 
 
+13 #10 jonelsorel 2010-12-15 17:52
@ Fudzilla (fanboys avoid)

Bittersweet why? The reviews are so far clear: the 580 has a marginal fps advantage in most games tested. And on that note what exactly were the amd video drivers you were using in your benchmark again?

Prices from Newegg (you should try it, Fuad): cheapest 580 gtx: 509$, cheapest 6970: 369$.

That being said, the 5-10 fps average advantage for the 580 over 6970 with existing drivers is pretty low, considering the 140$ price difference and the 70w higher consumption.

Can't wait to see the dual chip offering from nvidia, honestly. They didn't even bother with generation 4xx. Talk about "king" then.
 

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