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Radeon HD 7850 vs Radeon R9 290

Intro

The Radeon HD 7850 comes with a GPU core clock speed of 860 MHz, and the 2048 MB of GDDR5 memory is set to run at 1200 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1024 Stream Processors, 64 TAUs, and 32 ROPs.

Compare all of that to the Radeon R9 290, which comes with a clock speed of 800 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1250 MHz. It also uses a 512-bit memory bus, and uses a 28 nm design. It is comprised of 2560 SPUs, 160 Texture Address Units, and 64 Raster Operation Units.

(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, the Radeon R9 290 should perform 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 should be quite a bit (more or less 133%) faster with regards to texture filtering than the Radeon HD 7850. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If running with a high resolution is important to you, then the Radeon R9 290 is the winner, by far. (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 (measured in MB per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the interface width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR memory, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels the video card can possibly write to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the number of colour ROPs by the the core 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 rate also depends on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum fill rate.

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