A Closer Look
The first piece to come off the card is the backplate. It serves no special purpose other than to protect the card from physical damage and spread the heat around a bit. Since there are no memory chips or other important circuitry on this side of the card, there is no need for a backplate to cool them.
The AMD reference cooler uses a big vapor chamber base to transfer heat away quickly from the GPU. In addition to the GPU, you can also see cooling pads for memory and voltage regulation circuitry.
The Radeon HD 6950 uses a 6+6 power input configuration.
AMD has added a small switch near the card that lets you toggle between two VGA BIOSes. The first one is the normal one and can be flashed. The second one acts as backup and is write-protected, so you can not "destroy" it in case of a bad flash. Should you flash your card with the wrong BIOS, you can switch to the backup BIOS to boot the card, then change the switch to the normal BIOS before flashing. This looks like a good system, but I wonder if it's worth the added cost.
The GDDR5 memory chips are made by Hynix, and carry the model number H5GQ2H24MFR-T2C. They are specified to run at 1250 MHz (5000 MHz GDDR5 effective).
The Radeon HD 6900 Series are the first graphics cards to use the Volterra VT1556. It offers extensive voltage control and monitoring via I2C. At this time no software supports this controller yet, but I am sure this will change in the weeks to come.
AMD's new Cayman graphics processor is made on a 40 nm process at TSMC Taiwan. It uses approximately 2.64 billion transistors on a die area of 389 mm².