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AMD Radeon HD 6900 (AMD Cayman) series graphics cards

Specification and architecture review of AMD Radeon HD 6900 (AMD Cayman) series graphics cards

What’s new?

Another important moment — what is so special about AMD Cayman graphics cards? Lots of.

AMD has once again returned to vapor chamber cooling, which is, most likely, affected by NVIDIA’s recent actions in terms of graphics card cooling:

AMD Radeon HD 6900 series graphic card cooling system

However, the list of innovations towards acoustic and temperature feature enhancement is not short.

ATI graphics cards has been using three-step energy efficiency feature, PowerPlay, for quite a long time now. The essence of it is that graphic card sets one of three possible settings profile (memory/GPU clocks and GPU core voltage) in reference with load applied. Now, PowerPlay is replaced with new technology — AMD PowerTune:

AMD PowerTune

The key innovation here is that clocks and vCore voltages are changing smoothly depending on load, heat generated and power drawn. GPU built-in microprocessor controls the status of functional units and card’s power consumption, and alters clocks and voltages if necessary.

Users have an opportunity to change PowerTune modes manually from AMD Catalyst control panel:

AMD PowerTune

Now, you can decide what is currently more important — performance or silence/temperatures — yourselves.

Again, that is not all innovations — AMD Radeon HD 6900 series graphic cards now feature dual-Bios. One of them has a reserved copy of original firmware. In case you got unlucky during BIOS update, you can always restore card’s functionality using a reserved copy. Just push the switch located near the CrossFireX header :

The first switch position enables you to freely update card’s BIOS, while the second one will load card’s default settings and block any changes to that secured BIOS.

Apart from all the sweetness described above, new cards also have:

  • A totally reworked graphics processor architecture
  • New methods of rendering

So let’s examine each one of them in details.

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