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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 comes with a clock frequency of 725 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1000 MHz. It also features a 256-bit bus, and uses a 40 nm design. It is comprised of 1440(288x5) SPUs, 72 Texture Address Units, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7970, which has core speeds of 925 MHz on the GPU, and 1375 MHz on the 3072 MB of GDDR5 memory. It features 2048 SPUs along with 128 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Display Graphs

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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

Theoretically, the Radeon HD 7970 should be much faster than the Radeon HD 5850 overall. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 will be quite a bit (about 127%) faster with regards to AF than the Radeon HD 5850. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7970 is the winner, and very much so. (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

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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

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Model Radeon HD 5850 Radeon HD 7970
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 30, 2009 January 2012
Code Name Cypress PRO Tahiti XT
Memory 1024 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 725 MHz 925 MHz
Memory Speed 4000 MHz 5500 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 151 watts 250 watts
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 264000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 52200 Mtexels/sec 118400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 23200 Mpixels/sec 29600 Mpixels/sec
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
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2154 million 4313 million
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.2 OpenGL 4.2

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in a second. It's calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory speed. If it uses DDR memory, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that are processed in one second. This figure is worked out by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the 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 most pixels that the graphics chip can possibly record to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on many other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the maximum fill rate.

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