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Radeon HD 5870 vs Radeon R9 280X

Intro

The Radeon HD 5870 features a GPU clock speed of 850 MHz, and the 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory runs at 1200 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also is comprised of 1600(320x5) Stream Processors, 80 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare that to the Radeon R9 280X, which uses a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 850 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a speed of 1500 MHz on this card. It features 2048 SPUs as well as 128 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

Display Graphs

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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 in theory perform quite a bit 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 a lot (approximately 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 rate, so theoretically they should be equally good at at anti-aliasing, and be capable of handling the same 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

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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

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Model Radeon HD 5870 Radeon R9 280X
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 23, 2009 October 2013
Code Name Cypress XT Tahiti XTL
Memory 1024 MB 3072 MB
Core Speed 850 MHz 850 MHz
Memory Speed 4800 MHz 6000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 188 watts 250 watts
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 288000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 68000 Mtexels/sec 108800 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 27200 Mpixels/sec 27200 Mpixels/sec
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
Fab Process 40 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2154 million 4313 million
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11.2
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.2 OpenGL 4.3

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface within a second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR type memory, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, 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 per second. This is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics chip can possibly write to its local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the number of Render Output Units 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 fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

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