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Radeon HD 7850 vs Radeon R9 290

Intro

The Radeon HD 7850 makes use of a 28 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 860 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM works at a speed of 1200 MHz on this card. It features 1024 SPUs as well as 64 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specs to the Radeon R9 290, which comes with a GPU core clock speed of 800 MHz, and 4096 MB of GDDR5 memory set to run at 1250 MHz through a 512-bit bus. It also features 2560 SPUs, 160 TAUs, and 64 ROPs.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 7850 130 Watts
Radeon R9 290 300 Watts
Difference: 170 Watts (131%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon R9 290 is 108% faster than the Radeon HD 7850 in general, due to its greater bandwidth. (explain)

Radeon R9 290 320000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 7850 153600 MB/sec
Difference: 166400 (108%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 290 will be quite a bit (about 133%) more effective at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 7850. (explain)

Radeon R9 290 128000 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 7850 55040 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 72960 (133%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon R9 290 is much (about 86%) better at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 7850, and also will be able to handle higher resolutions without losing too much performance. (explain)

Radeon R9 290 51200 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 7850 27520 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 23680 (86%)

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 7850

Amazon.com

Radeon R9 290

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 7850 Radeon R9 290
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year March 2012 November 2013
Code Name Pitcairn Pro Hawaii PRO
Fab Process 28 nm 28 nm
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
Memory 2048 MB 4096 MB
Core Speed 860 MHz 800 MHz
Shader Speed N/A MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1200 MHz (4800 MHz effective) 1250 MHz (5000 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 1024 2560
Texture Mapping Units 64 160
Render Output Units 32 64
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 512-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11.1 DirectX 11.2
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.2 OpenGL 4.3
Power (Max TDP) 130 watts 300 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 320000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 55040 Mtexels/sec 128000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 27520 Mpixels/sec 51200 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of data (in units of megabytes per second) that can be moved past the external memory interface within a second. It is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory clock speed. If it uses DDR RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the card's memory bandwidth, the faster 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 number of texture map elements (texels) that are applied per second. This figure is worked out by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels the graphics card could possibly write to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the amount of ROPs by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate also depends on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

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