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Radeon HD 6950 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 6950 comes with a core clock frequency of 800 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1250 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit memory bus, and uses a 40 nm design. It is comprised of 1408 SPUs, 88 TAUs, and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7970, which features GPU clock speed of 925 MHz, and 3072 MB of GDDR5 memory set to run at 1375 MHz through a 384-bit bus. It also features 2048 SPUs, 128 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

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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 should be a lot faster than the Radeon HD 6950 overall. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 should be a lot (about 68%) faster with regards to AF than the Radeon HD 6950. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 should be a small bit (more or less 16%) better at full screen anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 6950, and also capable of handling higher resolutions more effectively. (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 largest amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface within a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory clock speed. In the case of DDR type RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels that the graphics chip can possibly write to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the amount of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel fill rate also depends on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

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