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Radeon HD 6970 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The Radeon HD 6970 comes with core speeds of 880 MHz on the GPU, and 1375 MHz on the 2048 MB of GDDR5 RAM. It features 1536 SPUs along with 96 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 7870, which uses a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 1000 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM works at a speed of 1200 MHz on this particular card. It features 1280 SPUs along with 80 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

(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

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 6970 should perform 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 will 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

If using a high screen resolution 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 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 max amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in a second. It is worked out by multiplying the interface width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be applied 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 this number, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the graphics card could possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum fill rate.

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