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Radeon HD 5870 vs Radeon R9 280X

Intro

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

Compare those specs to the Radeon R9 280X, which has GPU clock speed of 850 MHz, and 3072 MB of GDDR5 RAM set to run at 1500 MHz through a 384-bit bus. It also is made up of 2048 Stream Processors, 128 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation 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 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 quite a bit (about 60%) more effective at AF 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 be equally good at at anti-aliasing, 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: Bandwidth is the max amount of data (counted in megabytes per second) that can be moved past the external memory interface within a second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that are processed in one second. This is worked out by multiplying the total texture units by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the graphics 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 number of pixels that the graphics chip could possibly record to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the amount of ROPs by the the core speed of the card. 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 is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

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