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Radeon HD 7850 vs Radeon R9 290

Intro

The Radeon HD 7850 features a core clock speed of 860 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1200 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit bus, and makes use of a 28 nm design. It features 1024 SPUs, 64 Texture Address Units, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare that to the Radeon R9 290, which uses a 28 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 800 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a frequency of 1250 MHz on this specific card. It features 2560 SPUs as well as 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

In theory, the Radeon R9 290 is 108% faster than the Radeon HD 7850 overall, because of its higher data rate. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon R9 290 is quite a bit (approximately 133%) more effective at AF 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 quite a bit (about 86%) better at FSAA than the Radeon HD 7850, and also should be able to handle higher screen resolutions better. (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: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of information (measured in megabytes per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface in a second. The number is calculated by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR memory, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics chip can possibly write to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on quite a few 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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