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GeForce GTX 580 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The GeForce GTX 580 makes use of a 40 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core frequency at 772 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1002 MHz on this card. It features 512 SPUs as well as 64 Texture Address Units and 48 ROPs.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 7870, which has a clock frequency of 1000 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1200 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It is made up of 1280 SPUs, 80 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
GeForce GTX 580 244 Watts
Difference: 69 Watts (39%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the GeForce GTX 580 should be 25% faster than the Radeon HD 7870 overall, because of its greater bandwidth. (explain)

GeForce GTX 580 192384 MB/sec
Radeon HD 7870 153600 MB/sec
Difference: 38784 (25%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7870 will be a lot (about 62%) faster with regards to texture filtering than the GeForce GTX 580. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 80000 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 580 49408 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 30592 (62%)

Pixel Rate

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the GeForce GTX 580 is a better choice, but only just. (explain)

GeForce GTX 580 37056 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 7870 32000 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 5056 (16%)

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 580

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 7870

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 580 Radeon HD 7870
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year November 2010 March 2012
Code Name GF110 Pitcairn XT
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 1536 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 772 MHz 1000 MHz
Shader Speed 1544 MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1002 MHz (4008 MHz effective) 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 512 1280
Texture Mapping Units 64 80
Render Output Units 48 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.1 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 244 watts 175 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 192384 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 49408 Mtexels/sec 80000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 37056 Mpixels/sec 32000 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of data (counted in MB per second) that can be transferred past the external memory interface in one second. It is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the card's 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 number is worked out by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the graphics card could possibly write to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes 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, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

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