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Radeon HD 6950 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 6950 comes with a GPU core speed of 800 MHz, and the 1024 MB of GDDR5 RAM runs at 1250 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also is comprised of 1408 Stream Processors, 88 Texture Address Units, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7970, which comes with GPU core speed of 925 MHz, and 3072 MB of GDDR5 RAM set to run at 1375 MHz through a 384-bit bus. It also features 2048 Stream Processors, 128 TAUs, and 32 ROPs.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

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

The Radeon HD 7970, in theory, should perform quite a bit faster than the Radeon HD 6950 in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 is quite a bit (about 68%) more effective at anisotropic filtering 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 a better choice, 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

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

Model Radeon HD 6950 Radeon HD 7970
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year December 2010 January 2012
Code Name Cayman Pro Tahiti XT
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 1024 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 800 MHz 925 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1250 MHz (5000 MHz effective) 1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1408 2048
Texture Mapping Units 88 128
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.1 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 200 watts 250 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 160000 MB/sec 264000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 70400 Mtexels/sec 118400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 25600 Mpixels/sec 29600 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of data (counted in MB per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in one second. The number is calculated by multiplying the card's bus width by the speed of its memory. If it uses DDR memory, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and high resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics chip can possibly write to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the number of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate also depends on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.

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