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Radeon HD 7870 vs Radeon HD 7970


The Radeon HD 7870 features a GPU core speed of 1000 MHz, and the 2048 MB of GDDR5 RAM is set to run at 1200 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1280 Stream Processors, 80 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 7970, which uses a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 925 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a frequency of 1375 MHz on this model. It features 2048 SPUs along with 128 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

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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 theoretically be much faster than the Radeon HD 7870 overall. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7970 is a lot (more or less 48%) faster with regards to texture filtering than the Radeon HD 7870. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7870 is the winner, though only just barely. (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

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Radeon HD 7870

Radeon HD 7970

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.


Display Specifications

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Model Radeon HD 7870 Radeon HD 7970
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year March 2012 January 2012
Code Name Pitcairn XT Tahiti XT
Memory 2048 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 1000 MHz 925 MHz
Memory Speed 4800 MHz 5500 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 175 watts 250 watts
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 264000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 80000 Mtexels/sec 118400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 32000 Mpixels/sec 29600 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1280 2048
Texture Mapping Units 80 128
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit
Fab Process 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2800 million 4313 million
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11.1 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.2 OpenGL 4.2

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (measured in MB per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface within a second. It's calculated 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 it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels that the graphics chip could possibly write to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of ROPs 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 output rate also depends on quite a few other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.


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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