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Radeon HD 6970 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The Radeon HD 6970 uses a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 880 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a frequency of 1375 MHz on this card. It features 1536 SPUs as well as 96 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 7870, which makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 1000 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1200 MHz on this specific model. It features 1280 SPUs as well as 80 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

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

The Radeon HD 6970 should theoretically be a bit faster than the Radeon HD 7870 in general. (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 small bit (more or less 6%) more effective at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 7870. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If running with a high resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7870 is the winner, but it probably won't make a huge difference. (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

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

Model Radeon HD 6970 Radeon HD 7870
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year December 2010 March 2012
Code Name Cayman XT Pitcairn XT
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 2048 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 880 MHz 1000 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective) 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1536 1280
Texture Mapping Units 96 80
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 4.1 OpenGL 4.2
Power (Max TDP) 250 watts 175 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 176000 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 84480 Mtexels/sec 80000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 28160 Mpixels/sec 32000 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface within a second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. In the case of DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This figure is worked out by multiplying the total number of 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 handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels the graphics card could possibly record to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of Render Output Units 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 fill rate also depends on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

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