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Radeon HD 5870 vs Radeon R9 280X

Intro

The Radeon HD 5870 features a core clock speed of 850 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1200 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit memory bus, and uses a 40 nm design. It features 1600(320x5) SPUs, 80 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare all of that to the Radeon R9 280X, which makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core speed at 850 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM works at a speed of 1500 MHz on this model. It features 2048 SPUs as well as 128 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 5870 188 Watts
Radeon R9 280X 250 Watts
Difference: 62 Watts (33%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the Radeon R9 280X should be 88% quicker than the Radeon HD 5870 in general, due to its higher data rate. (explain)

Radeon R9 280X 288000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 5870 153600 MB/sec
Difference: 134400 (88%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 280X should be a lot (more or less 60%) more effective at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 5870. (explain)

Radeon R9 280X 108800 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 5870 68000 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 40800 (60%)

Pixel Rate

Both cards have the exact same pixel fill rate, so theoretically they should perform equally good at at AA, and be capable of handling the same screen resolutions. (explain)

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 5870

Amazon.com

Radeon R9 280X

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 5870 Radeon R9 280X
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 23, 2009 October 2013
Code Name Cypress XT Tahiti XTL
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 1024 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 850 MHz 850 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective) 1500 MHz (6000 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1600(320x5) 2048
Texture Mapping Units 80 128
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.2
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.2 OpenGL 4.3
Power (Max TDP) 188 watts 250 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 288000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 68000 Mtexels/sec 108800 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 27200 Mpixels/sec 27200 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface in one second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory speed. If it uses DDR type RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that can be applied in one second. This number is worked out by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels the graphics card could possibly write to its local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the core speed of the card. 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 lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

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