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Radeon HD 7850 vs Radeon R9 290

Intro

The Radeon HD 7850 has a GPU core speed of 860 MHz, and the 2048 MB of GDDR5 RAM runs at 1200 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1024 Stream Processors, 64 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare all of that to the Radeon R9 290, which has core speeds of 800 MHz on the GPU, and 1250 MHz on the 4096 MB of GDDR5 RAM. It features 2560 SPUs as well as 160 Texture Address Units 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

As far as performance goes, the Radeon R9 290 should theoretically be quite a bit better than the Radeon HD 7850 in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 290 should be much (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

The Radeon R9 290 will be much (approximately 86%) better at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 7850, and capable of handling higher screen 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: Bandwidth is the max amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface in a second. The number is calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the card's memory bandwidth, the faster 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 number of texture map elements (texels) that are applied per second. This is calculated by multiplying the total texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels that the graphics chip could possibly record to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the number of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate also depends on many other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

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