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Radeon HD 3870 1GB vs Radeon HD 4850 512MB

Intro

The Radeon HD 3870 1GB features a clock frequency of 775 MHz and a GDDR4 memory speed of 1125 MHz. It also features a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 55 nm design. It features 320(64x5) SPUs, 16 Texture Address Units, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 4850 512MB, which has GPU core speed of 625 MHz, and 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM set to run at 993 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also is comprised of 800(160x5) SPUs, 40 TAUs, and 16 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 106 Watts
Radeon HD 4850 512MB 110 Watts
Difference: 4 Watts (4%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 3870 1GB will be 13% faster than the Radeon HD 4850 512MB in general, due to its higher bandwidth. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 72000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 4850 512MB 63552 MB/sec
Difference: 8448 (13%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 4850 512MB will be much (approximately 102%) more effective at texture filtering than the Radeon HD 3870 1GB. (explain)

Radeon HD 4850 512MB 25000 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 3870 1GB 12400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 12600 (102%)

Pixel Rate

If running with lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 3870 1GB is the winner, by far. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 12400 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 4850 512MB 10000 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 2400 (24%)

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 3870 1GB

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 4850 512MB

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

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 3870 1GB Radeon HD 4850 512MB
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year Nov 19, 2007 Jun 25, 2008
Code Name RV670 XT RV770 PRO
Memory 1024 MB 512 MB
Core Speed 775 MHz 625 MHz
Memory Speed 2250 MHz 1986 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 106 watts 110 watts
Bandwidth 72000 MB/sec 63552 MB/sec
Texel Rate 12400 Mtexels/sec 25000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 12400 Mpixels/sec 10000 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 320(64x5) 800(160x5)
Texture Mapping Units 16 40
Render Output Units 16 16
Bus Type GDDR4 GDDR3
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 55 nm 55 nm
Transistors (Unknown) million 956 million
Bus PCIe 2.0 x16/AGP 8x PCIe 2.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 10.1 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of information (counted in MB per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface within a second. It's calculated by multiplying the bus width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the 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 in one second. This number is calculated by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the video card could possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on many other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum fill rate.

Display Prices

Hide Prices

Radeon HD 3870 1GB

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 4850 512MB

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

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.

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