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Radeon HD 6970 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The Radeon HD 6970 comes with a GPU core clock speed of 880 MHz, and the 2048 MB of GDDR5 memory is set to run at 1375 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1536 SPUs, 96 TAUs, and 32 ROPs.

Compare that 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 bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It features 1280 SPUs, 80 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation 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

Performance-wise, the Radeon HD 6970 should in theory be just a bit superior to 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 bit (more or less 6%) faster with regards to AF 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 should be a small bit (about 14%) faster with regards to anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 6970, and should be able to handle higher resolutions while still performing well. (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: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in one second. It is calculated by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. If the card has DDR RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and high resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the graphics card could possibly record to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate also depends on many other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.

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