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Radeon HD 6950 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 6950 uses a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 800 MHz. The GDDR5 memory runs at a frequency of 1250 MHz on this specific card. It features 1408 SPUs as well as 88 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7970, which comes with a core clock speed of 925 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1375 MHz. It also features a 384-bit memory bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It is made up of 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Display Graphs

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 6950 200 Watts
Radeon HD 7970 250 Watts
Difference: 50 Watts (25%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 7970 will be 65% faster than the Radeon HD 6950 overall, because of its higher bandwidth. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 264000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 6950 160000 MB/sec
Difference: 104000 (65%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 is a lot (about 68%) better at AF than the Radeon HD 6950. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 118400 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 6950 70400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 48000 (68%)

Pixel Rate

If running with lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7970 is the winner, though not by far. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 29600 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 6950 25600 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 4000 (16%)

Please note that the above 'benchmarks' are all just theoretical - the results were calculated based on the card's specifications, and real-world performance may (and probably will) vary at least a bit.

Price Comparison

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Radeon HD 6950

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 7970

Amazon.com

Please note that the price comparisons are based on search keywords - sometimes it might show cards with very similar names that are not exactly the same as the one chosen in the comparison. We do try to filter out the wrong results as best we can, though.

Specifications

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Model Radeon HD 6950 Radeon HD 7970
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year December 2010 January 2012
Code Name Cayman Pro Tahiti XT
Memory 1024 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 800 MHz 925 MHz
Memory Speed 5000 MHz 5500 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 200 watts 250 watts
Bandwidth 160000 MB/sec 264000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 70400 Mtexels/sec 118400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 25600 Mpixels/sec 29600 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1408 2048
Texture Mapping Units 88 128
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2640 million 4313 million
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.1 OpenGL 4.2

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory speed. If it uses DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that are applied per second. This is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core clock speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the graphics card could possibly record to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of ROPs by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

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