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According to information posted on Chiphell forums, AMD might possibly have sent out engineering samples of their upcoming Radeon HD 9970 graphics card to manufacturers. The card in talks has been sent out to AMD’s AIC partner Sapphire.

Radeon HD 9970

AMD Radeon HD 9970 Samples Reportedly Sent Out to Manufacturer’s

AMD’s Radeon HD 9970 is the next generation graphics card from the red team. The name isn’t official yet but most sources are pointing that AMD would skip the HD 8000 series branding and just go with the HD 9000 name. The recent AMD FX processors are also branded as FX-9000 series so that could be a reason behind the HD 9000 naming scheme.

AMD’s Volcanic Islands GPU will be based on a completely new architecture making use of process enhancements and increased amount of stream processors. We may see a bigger leap over the HD 7000 series than previously anticipated from the new cards but currently we don’t have any technical or specification details on these cards other than their codenamed which appeared in the leaked catalyst drivers a few weeks ago.

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The AMD Radeon HD 9970 would feature the Hawaii XT core based on the Volcanic Islands architecture that has much more performance improvement compared to the GCN Southern Islands architecture. Some people call it the Titan killer but we may have to wait and see how well the graphic card performs against the might GK110 core from NVIDIA. The card sent out to Sapphire has a 12 layer PCB while the Radeon HD 7970 reference design has a 10 layer PCB. It’s not known whether the PCB is of reference design or its an experimental PCB by Sapphire. Its also mentioned that Sapphire has already planned out a total of 7 custom coolers for the Radeon HD 9970 gpu but how many models would be available at launch remains unknown.

The AMD Radeon HD 9970 and the rest of the HD 9000 series SKUs are reportedly launching in October 2013 or Q4 2013. For the current moment, the HD 9000 series cards would compete against the GeForce 700 series cards and we would see a similar competition as we say when AMD released their HD 7970 at the end of 2011 against the GeForce 500 series. NVIDIA has high hopes that their Kepler GK110 and GK104 based cards would provide competitive performance against the new AMD cards which is the reason why they won’t release any new card till Q4 2013. Their Maxwell cards which are based on the 20nm architecture and feature Denver CPU with Unified memory architecture would arrive in first half of 2014.