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GeForce GTX 280 vs Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB

Intro

The GeForce GTX 280 comes with a GPU clock speed of 602 MHz, and the 1024 MB of GDDR3 RAM is set to run at 1107 MHz through a 512-bit bus. It also is comprised of 240 SPUs, 80 TAUs, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB, which has core clock speeds of 825 MHz on the GPU, and 1126 MHz on the 1024 MB of GDDR4 memory. It features 320(64x5) SPUs along with 16 TAUs and 16 Rasterization Operator Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Memory Bandwidth

The Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB should theoretically be a bit faster than the GeForce GTX 280 in general. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 144128 MB/sec
GeForce GTX 280 141696 MB/sec
Difference: 2432 (2%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce GTX 280 will be quite a bit (more or less 82%) faster with regards to AF than the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB. (explain)

GeForce GTX 280 48160 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 26400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 21760 (82%)

Pixel Rate

If running with a high screen resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB is superior to the GeForce GTX 280, and very much so. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 26400 Mpixels/sec
GeForce GTX 280 19264 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 7136 (37%)

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.

One or more cards in this comparison are multi-core. This means that their bandwidth, texel and pixel rates are theoretically doubled - this does not mean the card will actually perform twice as fast, but only that it should in theory be able to. Actual game benchmarks will give a more accurate idea of what it's capable of.

Price Comparison

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GeForce GTX 280

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 3870 X2 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 GTX 280 Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 17, 2008 Jan 28, 2008
Code Name G200 R680
Memory 1024 MB 1024 MB (x2)
Core Speed 602 MHz 825 MHz (x2)
Memory Speed 2214 MHz 2252 MHz (x2)
Power (Max TDP) 236 watts (Unknown) watts
Bandwidth 141696 MB/sec 144128 MB/sec
Texel Rate 48160 Mtexels/sec 26400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19264 Mpixels/sec 26400 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 240 320(64x5) (x2)
Texture Mapping Units 80 16 (x2)
Render Output Units 32 16 (x2)
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR4
Bus Width 512-bit 256-bit (x2)
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Transistors 1400 million (Unknown) million
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.0 x16/(internal PCIe 1.1 x16)
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.1 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transported across the external memory interface in one second. It's calculated by multiplying the interface width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This number is worked out by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core clock speed of the chip. The higher 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 number of pixels the video card can possibly record to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel rate is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

Display Prices

Hide Prices

GeForce GTX 280

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 3870 X2 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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