Articles: Graphics

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In late 2011 AMD tried to find some profitable use for defective Cayman chips that were collecting dust at warehouses. How else can we explain the limited release of the Radeon HD 6930 graphics card in not one but two versions, with 1 and 2 gigabytes of onboard memory? It wasn't easy to fit the new product into AMD's tight lineup as the closest models, Radeon HD 6950 2GB and Radeon HD 6870 1GB, are priced at $239 and $189, respectively.

Let’s see how the new Radeon HD 6930 compares with them from a technical standpoint:

So, the Radeon HD 6930 has 128 unified shader processors and 8 texture-mapping units less than the Radeon HD 6950 and its GPU clock rate is 50 MHz lower. Comparing the Cayman CE with the Barts XT based product, we can see that, besides architectural differences, the former’s GPU clock rate is 250 MHz lower but memory clock rate is 600 MHz higher. The three cards seem to have no other serious differences.

It would be logical for the Radeon HD 6930 to be positioned somewhere in between the other two. However, its 1GB version comes at a recommended price of $175 while the 2GB version, a mere $20 more. And the actual Radeon HD 6930 prices are indeed close to the recommended one, which makes the new card a very attractive buy, especially compared to the HD 6870.

Besides limiting the period of production (presumably the first quarter of 2012), AMD restricted the geography of the Radeon HD 6930. It comes to Russian and Chinese markets and will only be produced by three companies: PowerColor, Sapphire and Hightech Information System. It is the latter's Radeon HD 6930 IceQ X 1GB that we are going to talk about today.

Packaging and Accessories

The new graphics card is packed into a small nice-looking white-and-blue box.


The frosty letters “IceQ X” refer to HIS's exclusive cooling system, suggesting that it is highly efficient. Key product features are indicated at the top and bottom of the box with icons. The same information is detailed on the back of the box.

The HIS Radeon HD 6930 IceQ X can be found in the central compartment of the box. The following accessories lie on top of it:

There is a minimum of accessories here: a DVI->D-Sub adapter, a DiRT 3 coupon, and a CD with drivers and utilities.

The HIS Radeon HD 6930 IceQ X 1GB comes to retail at $180. Its warranty period is 2 years.

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