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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

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

Compare that to the Radeon HD 7970, which uses a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 925 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a frequency of 1375 MHz on this particular card. It features 2048 SPUs along with 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

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

The Radeon HD 7970 should in theory perform quite a bit 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 a lot (more or less 127%) more effective 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

If running with a high screen resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7970 is superior to the Radeon HD 5850, 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
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: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transported past the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. If it uses DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that can be applied 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 higher the texel rate, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the graphics card can possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

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