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GeForce GTX 280 vs Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB

Intro

The GeForce GTX 280 makes use of a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 602 MHz. The GDDR3 memory is set to run at a speed of 1107 MHz on this model. It features 240 SPUs as well as 80 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB, which features 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 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB will be 2% quicker than the GeForce GTX 280 overall, because of its higher data rate. (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 much (approximately 82%) faster with regards to texture filtering 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

The Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB should be quite a bit (about 37%) better at AA than the GeForce GTX 280, and also able to handle higher screen resolutions more effectively. (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 data (measured in megabytes per second) that can be transported past the external memory interface within a second. It's calculated by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. If it uses DDR memory, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This number is worked out by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the video card will be at handling 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 the video card could possibly write to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the number of Raster Operations Pipelines by the clock speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on quite a few other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum 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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