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Radeon HD 5870 vs Radeon HD 7850

Intro

The Radeon HD 5870 uses a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 850 MHz. The GDDR5 memory runs at a frequency of 1200 MHz on this particular model. It features 1600(320x5) SPUs as well as 80 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7850, which has core speeds of 860 MHz on the GPU, and 1200 MHz on the 2048 MB of GDDR5 memory. It features 1024 SPUs along with 64 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 7850 130 Watts
Radeon HD 5870 188 Watts
Difference: 58 Watts (45%)

Memory Bandwidth

Both cards have exactly the same bandwidth, so theoretically they should perform exactly the same. (explain)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 5870 should be a lot (about 24%) more effective at AF than the Radeon HD 7850. (explain)

Radeon HD 5870 68000 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 7850 55040 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 12960 (24%)

Pixel Rate

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7850 is the winner, but it probably won't make a huge difference. (explain)

Radeon HD 7850 27520 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 5870 27200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 320 (1%)

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

Radeon HD 5870

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 7850

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 Radeon HD 5870 Radeon HD 7850
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 23, 2009 March 2012
Code Name Cypress XT Pitcairn Pro
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 1024 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 850 MHz 860 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective) 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1600(320x5) 1024
Texture Mapping Units 80 64
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.2 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 188 watts 130 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 68000 Mtexels/sec 55040 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 27200 Mpixels/sec 27520 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (counted in MB per second) that can be transferred past the external memory interface in one second. The number is calculated by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR type RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that are applied per second. This is worked out by multiplying the total texture units by the core speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the video card can possibly record to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the number of ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

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