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GeForce GTX 280 vs Radeon HD 7950

Intro

The GeForce GTX 280 makes use of a 65 nm design. nVidia has set the core frequency at 602 MHz. The GDDR3 memory runs at a speed of 1107 MHz on this card. It features 240 SPUs as well as 80 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 7950, which has a core clock frequency of 800 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1250 MHz. It also makes use of a 384-bit bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It is made up of 1792 SPUs, 112 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

(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 is 69% faster than the GeForce GTX 280 overall, due to its higher data rate. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7950 will be much (approximately 86%) more effective at AF than the GeForce GTX 280. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If using a high resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7950 is superior to the GeForce GTX 280, 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: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (in units of MB per second) that can be moved over the external memory interface within a second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by the speed of its memory. If it uses DDR memory, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the graphics card can possibly record to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the number of Render Output Units by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the maximum fill rate.

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