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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 725 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a frequency of 1000 MHz on this model. It features 1440(288x5) SPUs along with 72 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 7970, which makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 925 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a speed of 1375 MHz on this particular card. It features 2048 SPUs as well as 128 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 5850 151 Watts
Radeon HD 7970 250 Watts
Difference: 99 Watts (66%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the Radeon HD 7970 will be 106% faster than the Radeon HD 5850 overall, due to its higher data rate. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 264000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 5850 128000 MB/sec
Difference: 136000 (106%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 is quite a bit (about 127%) better at AF than the Radeon HD 5850. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 118400 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 5850 52200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 66200 (127%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 should be much (approximately 28%) more effective at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 5850, and also should be able to handle higher screen resolutions while still performing well. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 29600 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 5850 23200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 6400 (28%)

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 5850

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 5850 Radeon HD 7970
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 30, 2009 January 2012
Code Name Cypress PRO Tahiti XT
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 1024 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 725 MHz 925 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1000 MHz (4000 MHz effective) 1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1440(288x5) 2048
Texture Mapping Units 72 128
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 3.2 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 151 watts 250 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 264000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 52200 Mtexels/sec 118400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 23200 Mpixels/sec 29600 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of data (in units of MB per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface in one second. The number is calculated by multiplying the interface width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that can be applied per second. This is worked out 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 graphics card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics card could possibly write to its local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the amount of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

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