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Radeon HD 5870 vs Radeon HD 7850

Intro

The Radeon HD 5870 makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 850 MHz. The GDDR5 memory runs at a frequency of 1200 MHz on this specific card. It features 1600(320x5) SPUs along with 80 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 7850, which makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 860 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM is set to run at a speed of 1200 MHz on this particular model. It features 1024 SPUs as well as 64 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

(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 the exact same bandwidth, so theoretically they should perform exactly the same. (explain)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 5870 is much (approximately 24%) better at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 7850. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If running with a high screen resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7850 is the winner, not by a very large margin though. (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 (in units of MB per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in one second. The number is worked out by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR type memory, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that are applied per second. This number is worked out by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the card will be at handling 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 that the graphics chip could possibly record to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the number of Render Output Units by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel rate also depends on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

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