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GeForce GTX 280 vs Radeon HD 7950

Intro

The GeForce GTX 280 uses a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core frequency at 602 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM is set to run at a speed of 1107 MHz on this specific model. It features 240 SPUs along with 80 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 7950, which makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core speed at 800 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a speed of 1250 MHz on this model. It features 1792 SPUs along with 112 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 7950 200 Watts
GeForce GTX 280 236 Watts
Difference: 36 Watts (18%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the Radeon HD 7950 should perform much faster than the GeForce GTX 280 overall. (explain)

Radeon HD 7950 240000 MB/sec
GeForce GTX 280 141696 MB/sec
Difference: 98304 (69%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7950 is a lot (more or less 86%) more effective at texture filtering than the GeForce GTX 280. (explain)

Radeon HD 7950 89600 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 280 48160 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 41440 (86%)

Pixel Rate

If running with high levels of AA is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7950 is the winner, and very much so. (explain)

Radeon HD 7950 25600 Mpixels/sec
GeForce GTX 280 19264 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 6336 (33%)

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

GeForce GTX 280

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 7950

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

Model GeForce GTX 280 Radeon HD 7950
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 17, 2008 January 2012
Code Name G200 Tahiti Pro
Fab Process 65 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 1024 MB 1536 MB
Core Speed 602 MHz 800 MHz
Shader Speed 1296 MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1107 MHz (2214 MHz effective) 1250 MHz (5000 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 240 1792
Texture Mapping Units 80 112
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 512-bit 384-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.1 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 236 watts 200 watts
Shader Model 4.0 5.0
Bandwidth 141696 MB/sec 240000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 48160 Mtexels/sec 89600 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19264 Mpixels/sec 25600 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface within a second. It is calculated by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total amount of texture units by the core clock 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 processed in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics card could possibly record to its local memory in one 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 - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate also depends on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

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