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Radeon HD 6970 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The Radeon HD 6970 features a clock speed of 880 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1375 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 40 nm design. It is comprised of 1536 SPUs, 96 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7870, which has a clock speed of 1000 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1200 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit memory bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It features 1280 SPUs, 80 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 7870 175 Watts
Radeon HD 6970 250 Watts
Difference: 75 Watts (43%)

Memory Bandwidth

Performance-wise, the Radeon HD 6970 should theoretically be a small bit better than the Radeon HD 7870 overall. (explain)

Radeon HD 6970 176000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 7870 153600 MB/sec
Difference: 22400 (15%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 6970 should be a bit (about 6%) better at texture filtering than the Radeon HD 7870. (explain)

Radeon HD 6970 84480 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 7870 80000 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 4480 (6%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 7870 is a small bit (approximately 14%) more effective at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 6970, and should be able to handle higher resolutions without losing too much performance. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 32000 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 6970 28160 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 3840 (14%)

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 6970

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

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Model Radeon HD 6970 Radeon HD 7870
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year December 2010 March 2012
Code Name Cayman XT Pitcairn XT
Memory 2048 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 880 MHz 1000 MHz
Memory Speed 5500 MHz 4800 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 250 watts 175 watts
Bandwidth 176000 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 84480 Mtexels/sec 80000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 28160 Mpixels/sec 32000 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1536 1280
Texture Mapping Units 96 80
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2640 million 2800 million
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.1 OpenGL 4.2

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be transported across the external memory interface in one second. It's calculated by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory clock speed. In the case of DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that are applied per second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels per second.

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

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