AMD's HD 6000 Series Reportedly Delayed

The Internet has been buzzing with unoficial information regarding the specs and performance of AMD's upcoming Radeon 6000 cards, but we may have to wait a little longer According to the ever reliable rumor bill, AMD has pushed to launch back a month or so. There's been no mention of why Sunnyvale would delay the launch, particularly given the way NVIDIA's GTS 460 and GTS 450 are hammering the price/performance ratio of the Radeon 5500 and 5700 cards.

We're going to guess that AMD has delayed its launch for one of two reasons:  Last year, AMD's ability to sell Radeon 5000 cards was heavily bound by TSMC's manufacturing problems. As a result, customers who wanted to buy a Radeon 5700 or 5800 part were unable to do so. If AMD's internal testing shows the 6000 cards whomping all over the GeForce products, the company might delay a launch to ensure it could meet any level of demand in what is traditionally a very strong quarter.

The other reason isn't so rosy. AMD and Intel have already warned that Q3 profits will be lower than expected, and no one is talking about an irrationally exuberant Q4. AMD may have delayed its new cards in order to watch how the market performs in the first month of the fourth quarter. The downside to doing so is that the company takes a potential revenue hit from NVIDIA's aggressive pricing. The upside is that AMD could potentially avoid an excessive amount of inventory if the cards don't sell as well as initially predicted.

If you haven't been following the HD 6000 series at all, the (unnofficial) slide below should help sort things out.

Keep in mind, the slide compares the midrange HD 6000 products against current cards in the HD 5000 series. If these specs are accurate, the 6750 is a monster compared to the 5750; the new Barts Pro core has almost double the stream processors, half again as many texture units, twice the ROPs, and nearly twice the memory bandwidth. The 6770 crushes the 5770 and comes within striking distance of the 5870. Given the specs on both cards we'd expect the 5870 to surpass the new midrange part, but not by very much. As an added bonus, AMD has stated that the new 6000 series will improve power consumption and heat, despite being built on the same 40nm technology as the HD 5000 parts.

If these specs are correct, AMD's next generation of midrange cards should win back the ground the company has lost to NVIDIA over the past six months. Presumably, AMD will cut prices of the 5770 and 5750 when it launches the 6000 series, putting those cards in a position to compete more aggressively against NV's GTS 450 and GTS 460. After a year of somnolence the midrange GPU market is heating up again; anyone who has been holding out on a midrange upgrade might be very pleased with upcoming developments.