The launch of HD 7970 with its new GCN architecture is aorund the bend and with that it is time for the rumors surrounding the cheaper graphics cards. Radeon HD 7770, with the Cape Verde GPU has been pictured and reveals both bits and pieces.
Cape Verde is the third graphics circuit at 28nm from AMD and will be found in the HD 7700 series and cover the mainstream segment. Cape Verde may not be based on the VLIW4 architecture, but it might be that this more budget oriented circuit will use GCN (Graphics Core Next).
The first nude photo of the card – which looks like an engineering sample – we find some interesting details. The die looks about 150 mm² and we see four memory circuits on the top side of the circuit board. It could be that there is also four underneath, but we’re guessing Cape Verde will bring a memory bus at 128-bit. Also Juniper that is used in HD 5700/6700 has such a bus, but HD 7770 can still get higher bandwidth thanks to higher clock frequencies.
It is hard to draw any real conclusions from the remaining components since the empty space on the PCB speaks of an engineering sample. With a 6-pin connector the card is limited to 150W TDP, and it has only one Crossfire connector, which limits the Crossfire setups to two HD 7770. The monitor outputs are one DVI, and we believe is HDMI 1.4a and DisplayPort 1.2.
The move to 28nm shows much potential from both AMD and NVIDIA. Cape Verde and HD 7700 could be on the same level as HD 6800, but we will have to wait and see what happens. AMD will launch HD 7970 on December 22nd, both Cape Verde and Pitcairn that will cover the HD 7800 series should appear in Q1 next year.