The company has released the first official photos of the Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850. Barts PRO and XT parts feature a 255mm2 die size. This is quite good as Radeon HD 5850 and 5870 had 334mm2 size. The chip is almost 30 percent smaller and the new one consumes up to 151W in the XT version, which is less than the Radeon HD 5850 series. Radeon HD 5850 had 2.15 billion transistors while the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 have 1.8 billion.
Thanks to generally refined DirectX 11 architecture, 256-bit GDDR5 memory controller, increased clock-speed (despite of decreased amount of stream processors and texture units) as well as improvements like better tessellation module amid smaller die size hence lower price, the new Radeon HD 6870 seems to be generally more competitive than the previous-generation Radeon HD 5850. It is especially notable that now both models 6850 and 6870 support up to six monitors, not a mainstream feature that will be sported by $179 and $239 graphics cards.
In the new generation Northern Islands processor - when it comes to the Radeon HD 6800 - several improvements to the tessellation unit was made. In particular, the company improved thread management for domain shaders and re-sized some queues and buffers to achieve significantly higher peak throughput, particularly at lower tessellation levels. Even though the changes had negligible impact on transistor count or power consumption, two times higher the tessellation rate in synthetic tests is declared by AMD.
The AMD Radeon HD 6800 series graphics cards are the first in the industry to offer support for both DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a, providing PC users with expanded options for multi-monitor configurations, display selection, and new DisplayPort audio features. Thanks to new drivers, the new graphics boards also feature better support for third-party stereo-3D (S3D) middleware.
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