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Radeon HD 6950 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

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

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 7970, which comes with GPU clock speed of 925 MHz, and 3072 MB of GDDR5 RAM set to run at 1375 MHz through a 384-bit bus. It also is comprised of 2048 Stream Processors, 128 Texture Address Units, 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

As far as performance goes, the Radeon HD 7970 should theoretically be a lot better 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 will be much (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

The Radeon HD 7970 is a bit (more or less 16%) more effective at full screen anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 6950, and will be capable of handling higher resolutions better. (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: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be moved over the external memory interface within a second. It is calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR type memory, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This number is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in one second.

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

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