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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 7870

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 has a core clock speed of 725 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1000 MHz. It also features a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 40 nm design. It is made up of 1440(288x5) SPUs, 72 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 7870, which uses a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 1000 MHz. The GDDR5 memory runs at a speed of 1200 MHz on this model. It features 1280 SPUs as well as 80 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 5850 151 Watts
Radeon HD 7870 175 Watts
Difference: 24 Watts (16%)

Memory Bandwidth

The Radeon HD 7870 should in theory be a little bit faster than the Radeon HD 5850 overall. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 153600 MB/sec
Radeon HD 5850 128000 MB/sec
Difference: 25600 (20%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 7870 will be quite a bit (about 53%) better at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 5850. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 80000 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 5850 52200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 27800 (53%)

Pixel Rate

If using a high screen resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 7870 is superior to the Radeon HD 5850, by a large margin. (explain)

Radeon HD 7870 32000 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 5850 23200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 8800 (38%)

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 5850

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 Radeon HD 5850 Radeon HD 7870
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 30, 2009 March 2012
Code Name Cypress PRO Pitcairn XT
Memory 1024 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 725 MHz 1000 MHz
Memory Speed 4000 MHz 4800 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 151 watts 175 watts
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 52200 Mtexels/sec 80000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 23200 Mpixels/sec 32000 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1440(288x5) 1280
Texture Mapping Units 72 80
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2154 million 2800 million
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.2 OpenGL 4.2

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of information (counted in MB per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface in a second. It's calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory clock speed. In the case of DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the faster 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 texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This is worked out by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed per second.

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

Display Prices

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Radeon HD 5850

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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