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GeForce GTX 260 vs Radeon HD 4890 1GB

Intro

The GeForce GTX 260 has core speeds of 576 MHz on the GPU, and 999 MHz on the 896 MB of GDDR3 RAM. It features 192 SPUs along with 64 TAUs and 28 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 4890 1GB, which features a GPU core clock speed of 1000 MHz, and 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory running at 975 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 800(160x5) SPUs, 40 Texture Address Units, and 16 ROPs.

Avatar

Settings: Ultra High Quality
AA: 8x
AF: none
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 36 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 32 FPS
Difference: 4 FPS (13%)

Battlefield Bad Company 2

Settings: High Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 36 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 31 FPS
Difference: 5 FPS (16%)

Crysis

Settings: High Detail
AA: 4x
AF: none
Resolution: 1680x1050
Test Machine: Intel Core i5-750,Windows 7 Ultimate x64,3 x 2GB (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 42 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 34 FPS
Difference: 8 FPS (24%)

F.E.A.R. 2

Settings: Maximum Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Unknown (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 88 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 60 FPS
Difference: 28 FPS (47%)

Fallout 3

Settings: Very High Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1680x1050
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Charts Test Rig (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 80 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 74 FPS
Difference: 6 FPS (8%)

Far Cry 2

Settings: Very High Qualty
AA: none
AF: none
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Intel Core i7-920,3 x 2 GB Ram,Windows Vista Ultimate 32 Bit SP1 (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 69 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 53 FPS
Difference: 16 FPS (30%)

Left4Dead

Settings: Very High Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Charts Test Rig (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 87 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 74 FPS
Difference: 13 FPS (18%)

Left4Dead 2

Settings: Very High
AA: 8x
AF: 16x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 88 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 69 FPS
Difference: 19 FPS (28%)

Mass Effect 2

Settings: Maximum Quality
AA: none
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 107 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 91 FPS
Difference: 16 FPS (18%)

Supreme Commander 2

Settings: High
AA: 8x
AF: 16x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 64 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 34 FPS
Difference: 30 FPS (88%)

Tom Clancy's Endwar

Settings: High Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 30 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 24 FPS
Difference: 6 FPS (25%)

Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X

Settings: High Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1680x1050
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Charts Test Rig (Source)
GeForce GTX 260 47 FPS
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 41 FPS
Difference: 6 FPS (15%)

Radeon HD 4890 1GB wins

(Based entirely on the benchmarks listed above)

When combining all game benchmark scores on this page together, the Radeon HD 4890 1GB wins overall, by 145 FPS. Please note that we do not have the results of every benchmark ever done for these cards, so the results may differ wildly in different games.

Radeon HD 4890 1GB 768 FPS
GeForce GTX 260 623 FPS
Difference: 145 FPS (23%)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

GeForce GTX 260 182 Watts
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 190 Watts
Difference: 8 Watts (4%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the Radeon HD 4890 1GB should be 12% faster than the GeForce GTX 260 in general, because of its greater bandwidth. (explain)

Radeon HD 4890 1GB 124800 MB/sec
GeForce GTX 260 111888 MB/sec
Difference: 12912 (12%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 4890 1GB is a small bit (approximately 9%) more effective at AF than the GeForce GTX 260. (explain)

Radeon HD 4890 1GB 40000 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 260 36864 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 3136 (9%)

Pixel Rate

If using lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the GeForce GTX 260 is the winner, not by a very large margin though. (explain)

GeForce GTX 260 16128 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 4890 1GB 16000 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 128 (1%)

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

GeForce GTX 260

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 4890 1GB

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 GeForce GTX 260 Radeon HD 4890 1GB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 16, 2008 Apr 2, 2009
Code Name G200 RV790 XT
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.0 x16
Memory 896 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 576 MHz 1000 MHz
Shader Speed 1242 MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 999 MHz (1998 MHz effective) 975 MHz (3900 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 192 800(160x5)
Texture Mapping Units 64 40
Render Output Units 28 16
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 448-bit 256-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.1 OpenGL 3.0
Power (Max TDP) 182 watts 190 watts
Shader Model 4.0 4.1
Bandwidth 111888 MB/sec 124800 MB/sec
Texel Rate 36864 Mtexels/sec 40000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 16128 Mpixels/sec 16000 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be transported past the external memory interface within a second. The number is calculated by multiplying the interface width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR type memory, the result 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 texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This is worked out by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied in one second.

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

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