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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 uses a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 725 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1000 MHz on this particular model. It features 1440(288x5) SPUs along with 72 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 7970, which has clock speeds of 925 MHz on the GPU, and 1375 MHz on the 3072 MB of GDDR5 RAM. It features 2048 SPUs as well as 128 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

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

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 7970 should be a lot 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 should be a lot (about 127%) faster with regards to texture filtering 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 is a lot (approximately 28%) better at FSAA than the Radeon HD 5850, and also able to handle higher screen resolutions without slowing down too much. (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 4000 MHz 5500 MHz
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 information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface within a second. It is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by the speed of its memory. If it uses DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the better 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 texture map elements (texels) that are processed in one second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the graphics card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the graphics card could possibly record to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the number of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel output rate also depends on many other factors, especially 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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