Head on there's nothing too out of the ordinary here when it comes to the overall look of the card. We've got the same kind of fan design we've seen from the previous higher end AMD offerings, and of course Sapphire put their own sticker on top.
Power to the card is offered in the form of two 6-Pin PCI-E power connectors. Nothing too scary looking and most power supplies should handle the card. Of course, we won't know for sure until we check out the power numbers later in the review.
While some people were worried the HD 6900 series wouldn't carry with it support for more than two cards, we can show you here that it does indeed offer support for more than two. This isn't the big bit of news here, though; instead it's that tiny little switch that can be seen to the left of the Crossfire connectors.
We had seen images of this float around the net and there was plenty of speculation as to what this switch would do. Well, today we can tell you; AMD say it's a Dual BIOS option that allows for safer end user updates. Setting 1 is unprotected for user updates; setting 2 is protected as factory defaults. The way it ultimately works is if you flash your card and it goes wrong, you can flick the switch and boot up off the default BIOS. It mainly helps prevent the bricking of cards.
At the moment we're not 100% sure how companies are going to make use of this feature, but we're sure in the coming weeks we'll see companies like Sapphire attack it with models like the TOXIC.
Connectivity is the same as the HD 6870; what that means is we've got two mini-DP connectors, HDMI 1.4a and two DVI connectors, one Dual-Link and the other Single-Link.
Getting onto the actual specifications of the card, here are some of the more serious numbers. Stream Processors come in at 1408 via 22 SIMD; a nice jump up from the 1120 via 14 SIMD which is seen on the HD 6870.
Compared to the HD 6870, ROPs and Z-Stencils are the same at 32 and 128. Texture Units are up to 88 which compares to 56 on the HD 6870. While the memory bus width on both models are the same at 256-bit, the stand out is that the HD 6950 has a default 2GB of GDDR5.
This isn't the first time we've seen an AMD model carry with it 2GB of memory as stock, as the Eyefinity6 and HD 5970 both carried 2GB, but normally 2GB is reserved for more expensive cards. This could translate into the HD 6990, the dual GPU card we should see in 2011 carrying with it 4GB of memory.
On the clock front we've got a default core clock of 800MHz, while that 2GB of GDDR5 carries with it a 5000MHz QDR clock, or a more impressive sounding 5GHz QDR memory clock.
Outside of that stuff, another one of the big features that AMD is pushing is PowerTune which is designed to make sure that only the power you need is being drawn at any one time. For most it's a feature which you won't really use knowingly, but something that will always be working.
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