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GeForce 9800 GTX vs Radeon HD 5550

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GTX features a core clock speed of 675 MHz and a GDDR3 memory speed of 1100 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit memory bus, and uses a 65 nm design. It is comprised of 128 SPUs, 64 TAUs, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 5550, which makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 550 MHz. The DDR2 memory is set to run at a frequency of 400 MHz on this particular card. It features 320(64x5) SPUs as well as 16 TAUs and 8 Rasterization Operator Units.

Battlefield Bad Company 2

Settings: High Quality
AA: 4x
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
GeForce 9800 GTX 25 FPS
Radeon HD 5550 10 FPS
Difference: 15 FPS (150%)

Left4Dead 2

Settings: Very High
AA: 8x
AF: 16x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
GeForce 9800 GTX 47 FPS
Radeon HD 5550 26 FPS
Difference: 21 FPS (81%)

Mass Effect 2

Settings: Maximum Quality
AA: none
AF: 8x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
GeForce 9800 GTX 68 FPS
Radeon HD 5550 26 FPS
Difference: 42 FPS (162%)

Supreme Commander 2

Settings: High
AA: 8x
AF: 16x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
GeForce 9800 GTX 31 FPS
Radeon HD 5550 19 FPS
Difference: 12 FPS (63%)

GeForce 9800 GTX wins

(Based entirely on the benchmarks listed above)

When combining all game benchmark scores on this page together, the GeForce 9800 GTX wins overall, by 90 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.

GeForce 9800 GTX 171 FPS
Radeon HD 5550 81 FPS
Difference: 90 FPS (111%)

Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the GeForce 9800 GTX is 450% faster than the Radeon HD 5550 overall, due to its higher data rate. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GTX 70400 MB/sec
Radeon HD 5550 12800 MB/sec
Difference: 57600 (450%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GTX should be quite a bit (more or less 391%) faster with regards to anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 5550. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GTX 43200 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 5550 8800 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 34400 (391%)

Pixel Rate

If running with high levels of AA is important to you, then the GeForce 9800 GTX is a better choice, by a large margin. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GTX 10800 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 5550 4400 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 6400 (145%)

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 9800 GTX

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 5550

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 9800 GTX Radeon HD 5550
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year April 2008 February 9, 2010
Code Name G92 Redwood LE
Fab Process 65 nm 40 nm
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.1 x16
Memory 512 MB 512 MB
Core Speed 675 MHz 550 MHz
Shader Speed 1688 MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1100 MHz (2200 MHz effective) 400 MHz (800 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 128 320(64x5)
Texture Mapping Units 64 16
Render Output Units 16 8
Bus Type GDDR3 DDR2
Bus Width 256-bit 128-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 11
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.2
Power (Max TDP) 140 watts (N/A) watts
Shader Model 4.0 5.0
Bandwidth 70400 MB/sec 12800 MB/sec
Texel Rate 43200 Mtexels/sec 8800 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 10800 Mpixels/sec 4400 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of data (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transported across the external memory interface within a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory speed. If it uses DDR type memory, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the better 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be applied per second. This is worked out by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card 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 in a second.

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

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