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GeForce 9800 GTX vs Radeon HD 5550

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GTX has a GPU core speed of 675 MHz, and the 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM is set to run at 1100 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also is made up of 128 Stream Processors, 64 Texture Address Units, and 16 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 5550, which comes with core speeds of 550 MHz on the GPU, and 400 MHz on the 512 MB of DDR2 RAM. It features 320(64x5) SPUs along with 16 TAUs and 8 ROPs.

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

Theoretically, the GeForce 9800 GTX should perform much faster than the Radeon HD 5550 in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GTX should be much (about 391%) faster with regards to AF than the Radeon HD 5550. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GTX should be a lot (approximately 145%) faster with regards to FSAA than the Radeon HD 5550, and also capable of handling higher screen resolutions better. (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 max amount of information (in units of MB per second) that can be moved over the external memory interface in one second. It's calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by the speed of its memory. If it uses DDR RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that are processed in one second. This is worked out by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The better this number, 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 number of pixels that the graphics card can possibly write to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the core 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 rate also depends on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.

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