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Radeon HD 7870 vs Radeon HD 7970

Intro

The Radeon HD 7870 uses a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 1000 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a speed of 1200 MHz on this specific model. It features 1280 SPUs along with 80 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7970, which comes with core clock speeds of 925 MHz on the GPU, and 1375 MHz on the 3072 MB of GDDR5 memory. It features 2048 SPUs along with 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 7870 175 Watts
Radeon HD 7970 250 Watts
Difference: 75 Watts (43%)

Memory Bandwidth

The Radeon HD 7970 should in theory be much faster than the Radeon HD 7870 in general. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 264000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 7870 153600 MB/sec
Difference: 110400 (72%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 will be a lot (approximately 48%) better at AF than the Radeon HD 7870. (explain)

Radeon HD 7970 118400 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 7870 80000 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 38400 (48%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 7870 will be a little bit (about 8%) better at FSAA than the Radeon HD 7970, and also should be able to handle higher screen resolutions without slowing down too much. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 32000 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 7970 29600 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 2400 (8%)

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 7870

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

Model Radeon HD 7870 Radeon HD 7970
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year March 2012 January 2012
Code Name Pitcairn XT Tahiti XT
Fab Process 28 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 2048 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 1000 MHz 925 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective) 1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1280 2048
Texture Mapping Units 80 128
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11.1 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.2 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 175 watts 250 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 264000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 80000 Mtexels/sec 118400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 32000 Mpixels/sec 29600 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of information (in units of MB per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in one second. It's worked out by multiplying the interface width by its memory clock speed. If the card has DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, 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 number of texture map elements (texels) that are applied in one second. This figure is worked out by multiplying the total amount of 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 in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the video card can possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

Comments

3 Responses to “Radeon HD 7870 vs Radeon HD 7970”
andrew says:
people at hardware compare do you mind telling me how the 7970 is better then the 7870 at everything else but the 7870 is better at handling higher resolutions? makes no sense
Richard says:
Has a higher pixel rate
Prized says:
The reason the 7870 only has the advantage of handling higher resolutions easier than the 7970 is probably due to the fact that the video decoder inside the 7970 has been downgraded slightly. I try to run dual monitors and I end up with an increase of 10 degrees on my video card as well as the decoder potentially giving up and starting to display a horribly, HORRIBLY distorted signal.

Whoever thought downgrading the decoder for more performance was a good idea was obviously not quite thinking...however, I still appreciate how powerful this video card is even by today's standards.

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