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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 has a GPU clock speed of 725 MHz, and the 1024 MB of GDDR5 RAM is set to run at 1000 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1440(288x5) Stream Processors, 72 TAUs, and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7970, which comes with a core clock speed of 925 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1375 MHz. It also makes use of a 384-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 28 nm design. It is made up of 2048 SPUs, 128 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Display Graphs

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(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

The Radeon HD 7970 should theoretically be a lot faster than the Radeon HD 5850 in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 should be much (about 127%) better at anisotropic filtering 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 a high screen resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7970 is a better choice, by far. (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
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: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in one second. The number is calculated by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and high 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 amount of texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher this number, 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 maximum amount of pixels the graphics card can possibly record to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of ROPs by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

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