File this one under 'R' for 'Rumour'.
In news coming out of VideoCardz.com, alleged specs and relative performance for the upcoming AMD 8800-series GPUs have been leaked. The GPU's - codenamed 'Oland' and likely coming in XT and Pro versions relating to the 8870 and 8850 - are known to be based on the next iteration of AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture manufactured on the same 28nm TSMC process as the 7000-series; however these specs would be by far the largest information dump for Oland thus far.
There are no immediate red flags when it comes to these specs, though the claimed improvement in performance and perf/watt are eye-opening. A broad increase in base and boost clock frequencies should be expected as the 28nm process matures, as we have already seen AMD GPUs with 1GHz+ frequencies as standard. We can also give some credence to the improvements in memory bandwidth; NVidia have proved that 6000MHz GDDR5 on a 256-bit bus is not just possible, it can be routine.
A transistor count of 3.4 billion remains significantly below that of the 7970 (4.3 bn), so in theory this shouldn't be the highest end card. Shader counts are rumoured to be 1792/1536 for the 8870 and 8850 respectively, a hefty figure even discounting the incremental improvements these shaders should have undergone.
By far the most dubious claim is the 8870's TDP: 160W, 15W below that of the 7870. AMD have been working extremely hard on making their GPUs more power-efficient, but to remain at the same process whilst increasing transistor count and operating frequencies yet reduce TDP? Without knowing more about the revisions made to 2nd gen GCN it's hard to swallow.
VideoCardz are also sceptical, but value the source as the same one who released Tahiti specs a couple of months before the launch. Included in this information is the theory that certain 7000-series cards will also be rolled into the 8000-series, a fairly safe assumption all things considered. It will be interesting to see how these rumours shake out.
The release date is pencilled in as Januray 2013, a little over a year after the 7970; however the specs of a high-end 8900-series aren't in evidence. If the MSRP of $279/$199 for the 8870 and 8850 turn out to be reality the card would be a bargain compared to the launch pricing for the 7800-series.
Source: VideoCardz.com via TechPowerUp