IT SEEMS LIKE AMD is a leaking ship when it comes to its upcoming Northern Islands graphics cards and with pictures of two models already leaked, what difference is a third one going to make? Well, not too much, although this upper mid-range card does look quite different compared to the Radeon HD 5700-series as it seems to have more in common with the Radeon HD 5800-series, at least design wise.
It’s highly unlikely that the cooler in the leaked pictures will remain on final cards as it looks more like something that’s easy to fit than something that would appear on a final retail product. The next thing you’ll notice is that ATI, sorry AMD, has changed the layout of the PCB in its entirety compared to the current series of cards. The PWM circuitry is located at the front of the PCB, just behind the connectors, rather than at the rear. This should hopefully allow for better cooling and it’s also been suggested that ATI, sorry AMD, has moved to a digital PWM design on the 6000-series cards, which could at least in part help explain the changes.
The memory appears to consist of eight chips; all located on the front of the PCB and this suggests that the card uses a 256-bit bus. This should put the Barts XT at the same level as the 5800-series in terms of memory bandwidth which makes this a seriously interesting card if it arrives at a similar price level as the 5770. The card also has a pair of 6-pin power connectors, again suggesting a significant change, not only in power usage, but most likely in processing power as well.
In terms of ports we’re looking at the same setup as the Cayman XT, two DVI ports, an HDMI port and two mini DisplayPort connectors. The rear of the card is pretty empty which again suggests that Barts XT is more similar to the 5800-series than the 5700-series. One last change is the CrossFire connector as the Barts XT only has a single connector rather than the two connectors we’re used to see on ATI, sorry AMD, cards. We’re not sure why this is the case, but obviously something has changed, or ATI, sorry AMD, has decided to limit this card to two-way CrossFire.S|A
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