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.
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.
- TechPowerUp.com - Radeon HD 6950 - Radeon HD 6970