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GeForce 9800 GTX vs Radeon HD 3870 1GB

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GTX makes use of a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 675 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM works at a speed of 1100 MHz on this model. It features 128 SPUs along with 64 Texture Address Units and 16 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 3870 1GB, which comes with core speeds of 775 MHz on the GPU, and 1125 MHz on the 1024 MB of GDDR4 RAM. It features 320(64x5) SPUs as well as 16 Texture Address Units and 16 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 106 Watts
GeForce 9800 GTX 140 Watts
Difference: 34 Watts (32%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 3870 1GB should be 2% quicker than the GeForce 9800 GTX in general, due to its greater bandwidth. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 72000 MB/sec
GeForce 9800 GTX 70400 MB/sec
Difference: 1600 (2%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GTX should be a lot (about 248%) more effective at texture filtering than the Radeon HD 3870 1GB. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GTX 43200 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 3870 1GB 12400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 30800 (248%)

Pixel Rate

If running with lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 3870 1GB is the winner, but it probably won't make a huge difference. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 12400 Mpixels/sec
GeForce 9800 GTX 10800 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 1600 (15%)

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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GeForce 9800 GTX

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 3870 1GB

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 GeForce 9800 GTX Radeon HD 3870 1GB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year April 2008 Nov 19, 2007
Code Name G92 RV670 XT
Memory 512 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 675 MHz 775 MHz
Memory Speed 2200 MHz 2250 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 140 watts 106 watts
Bandwidth 70400 MB/sec 72000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 43200 Mtexels/sec 12400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 10800 Mpixels/sec 12400 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 128 320(64x5)
Texture Mapping Units 64 16
Render Output Units 16 16
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR4
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Transistors 754 million (Unknown) million
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.0 x16/AGP 8x
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of data (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in a second. It is calculated by multiplying the bus width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR RAM, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be applied in one second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core clock speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the video 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 can possibly write to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of Render Output Units by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the max fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce 9800 GTX

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 3870 1GB

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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