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Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB vs Radeon HD 4850 2GB

Intro

The Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB has a clock frequency of 825 MHz and a GDDR4 memory frequency of 1126 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 55 nm design. It is made up of 320(64x5) SPUs, 16 Texture Address Units, and 16 ROPs.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 4850 2GB, which uses a 55 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 625 MHz. The GDDR4 memory is set to run at a speed of 993 MHz on this particular card. It features 800(160x5) SPUs along with 40 Texture Address Units and 16 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB will be 127% faster than the Radeon HD 4850 2GB overall, because of its higher data rate. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 144128 MB/sec
Radeon HD 4850 2GB 63552 MB/sec
Difference: 80576 (127%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB will be just a bit (approximately 6%) better at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 4850 2GB. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 26400 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 4850 2GB 25000 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 1400 (6%)

Pixel Rate

If running with lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB is the winner, by far. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 26400 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 4850 2GB 10000 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 16400 (164%)

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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Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB

Amazon.com

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Radeon HD 4850 2GB

Amazon.com

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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 Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB Radeon HD 4850 2GB
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year Jan 28, 2008 Jun 25, 2008
Code Name R680 RV770 PRO
Memory 1024 MB (x2) 2048 MB
Core Speed 825 MHz (x2) 625 MHz
Memory Speed 2252 MHz (x2) 1986 MHz
Power (Max TDP) (Unknown) watts 110 watts
Bandwidth 144128 MB/sec 63552 MB/sec
Texel Rate 26400 Mtexels/sec 25000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 26400 Mpixels/sec 10000 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 320(64x5) (x2) 800(160x5)
Texture Mapping Units 16 (x2) 40
Render Output Units 16 (x2) 16
Bus Type GDDR4 GDDR4
Bus Width 256-bit (x2) 256-bit
Fab Process 55 nm 55 nm
Transistors (Unknown) million 956 million
Bus PCIe 2.0 x16/(internal PCIe 1.1 x16) PCIe 2.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 10.1 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (measured in MB per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface in a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the interface width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. 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 are applied per second. This is worked out by multiplying the total amount of texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the video card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels that the graphics card can possibly record to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the maximum fill rate.

Display Prices

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Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 4850 2GB

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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