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Radeon HD 5870 vs Radeon R9 280X

Intro

The Radeon HD 5870 comes with a GPU core speed of 850 MHz, and the 1024 MB of GDDR5 RAM is set to run at 1200 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1600(320x5) SPUs, 80 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare that to the Radeon R9 280X, which makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 850 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM works at a speed of 1500 MHz on this specific card. 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

The Radeon R9 280X should theoretically be much faster than the Radeon HD 5870 in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 280X will be much (approximately 60%) better 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 exactly the same pixel fill rate, so theoretically they should perform equally good at at anti-aliasing, and be able to handle 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 data (counted in megabytes per second) that can be moved past the external memory interface in one second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's interface width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR type RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics card can possibly write to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is calculated by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel output rate also depends on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

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