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Radeon HD 7850 vs Radeon R9 290

Intro

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

Compare that to the Radeon R9 290, which has clock speeds of 800 MHz on the GPU, and 1250 MHz on the 4096 MB of GDDR5 memory. It features 2560 SPUs along with 160 Texture Address Units and 64 Rasterization Operator Units.

Display Graphs

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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

The Radeon R9 290 should theoretically be quite a bit faster than the Radeon HD 7850 overall. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 290 is much (approximately 133%) better 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 a lot (about 86%) faster with regards to anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 7850, and should be able to handle higher screen resolutions without slowing down too much. (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

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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

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Model Radeon HD 7850 Radeon R9 290
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year March 2012 November 2013
Code Name Pitcairn Pro Hawaii PRO
Memory 2048 MB 4096 MB
Core Speed 860 MHz 800 MHz
Memory Speed 4800 MHz 5000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 130 watts 300 watts
Bandwidth 153600 MB/sec 320000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 55040 Mtexels/sec 128000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 27520 Mpixels/sec 51200 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1024 2560
Texture Mapping Units 64 160
Render Output Units 32 64
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 512-bit
Fab Process 28 nm 28 nm
Transistors 2800 million 6200 million
Bus PCIe 3.0 x16 PCIe 3.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11.1 DirectX 11.2
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.2 OpenGL 4.3

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in a second. The number is calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the bandwidth is, the faster 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 processed in one second. This number is worked out by multiplying the total texture units 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 a second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels that the graphics chip can possibly write to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the core 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 rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the maximum fill rate.

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