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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 frequency of 1000 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit memory bus, and uses a 40 nm design. It features 1440(288x5) SPUs, 72 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 7970, which features a GPU core clock speed of 925 MHz, and 3072 MB of GDDR5 memory running at 1375 MHz through a 384-bit bus. It also is made up of 2048 SPUs, 128 Texture Address Units, and 32 Raster Operation 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 speaking, the Radeon HD 7970 is 106% faster than the Radeon HD 5850 in general, because of its higher bandwidth. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 will be much (about 127%) more effective 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

The Radeon HD 7970 is a lot (more or less 28%) more effective at full screen anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 5850, and will be able to handle higher screen resolutions more effectively. (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 largest amount of information (measured in megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface within a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR type memory, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that are applied in one second. This is calculated by multiplying the total texture units by the core clock speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels that 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 core clock speed. 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 is also dependant on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum fill rate.

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