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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GX2 uses a 65 nm design. nVidia has set the core frequency at 600 MHz. The GDDR3 memory is set to run at a speed of 1000 MHz on this specific model. It features 128 SPUs along with 64 Texture Address Units and 16 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 7870, which features a clock speed of 1000 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1200 MHz. It also features a 256-bit bus, and makes use of a 28 nm design. It is made up of 1280 SPUs, 80 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 7870 175 Watts
GeForce 9800 GX2 197 Watts
Difference: 22 Watts (13%)

Memory Bandwidth

The Radeon HD 7870, in theory, should perform a small bit faster than the GeForce 9800 GX2 overall. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 153600 MB/sec
GeForce 9800 GX2 128000 MB/sec
Difference: 25600 (20%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7870 should be a little bit (more or less 4%) more effective at AF than the GeForce 9800 GX2. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 80000 Mtexels/sec
GeForce 9800 GX2 76800 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 3200 (4%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 7870 should be quite a bit (about 67%) more effective at AA than the GeForce 9800 GX2, and also will be capable of handling higher resolutions better. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 32000 Mpixels/sec
GeForce 9800 GX2 19200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 12800 (67%)

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.

One or more cards in this comparison are multi-core. This means that their bandwidth, texel and pixel rates are theoretically doubled - this does not mean the card will actually perform twice as fast, but only that it should in theory be able to. Actual game benchmarks will give a more accurate idea of what it's capable of.

Price Comparison

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GeForce 9800 GX2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 7870

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

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 GeForce 9800 GX2 Radeon HD 7870
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year Mar 2008 March 2012
Code Name G92 Pitcairn XT
Memory 512 MB (x2) 2048 MB
Core Speed 600 MHz (x2) 1000 MHz
Memory Speed 2000 MHz (x2) 4800 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 197 watts 175 watts
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 76800 Mtexels/sec 80000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19200 Mpixels/sec 32000 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 128 (x2) 1280
Texture Mapping Units 64 (x2) 80
Render Output Units 16 (x2) 32
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit (x2) 256-bit
Fab Process 65 nm 28 nm
Transistors 754 million 2800 million
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 4.2

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface in one second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. 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 bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that are applied in one 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 video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the graphics card can possibly record to its local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the amount of Raster Operations Pipelines 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 is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the maximum fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce 9800 GX2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 7870

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

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.

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