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GeForce 9800 GTX vs Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GTX features a clock frequency of 675 MHz and a GDDR3 memory speed of 1100 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 65 nm design. It is comprised of 128 SPUs, 64 Texture Address Units, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB, which features a core clock frequency of 825 MHz and a GDDR4 memory frequency of 1126 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit memory bus, and uses a 55 nm design. It features 320(64x5) SPUs, 16 TAUs, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB will be 105% faster than the GeForce 9800 GTX in general, because of its higher bandwidth. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 144128 MB/sec
GeForce 9800 GTX 70400 MB/sec
Difference: 73728 (105%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GTX is a lot (more or less 64%) better at anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GTX 43200 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 26400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 16800 (64%)

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB should be quite a bit (about 144%) better at FSAA than the GeForce 9800 GTX, and also will be able to handle higher resolutions without slowing down too much. (explain)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB 26400 Mpixels/sec
GeForce 9800 GTX 10800 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 15600 (144%)

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 9800 GTX

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 9800 GTX Radeon HD 3870 X2 1GB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year April 2008 Jan 28, 2008
Code Name G92 R680
Memory 512 MB 1024 MB (x2)
Core Speed 675 MHz 825 MHz (x2)
Memory Speed 2200 MHz 2252 MHz (x2)
Power (Max TDP) 140 watts (Unknown) watts
Bandwidth 70400 MB/sec 144128 MB/sec
Texel Rate 43200 Mtexels/sec 26400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 10800 Mpixels/sec 26400 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 128 320(64x5) (x2)
Texture Mapping Units 64 16 (x2)
Render Output Units 16 16 (x2)
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR4
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit (x2)
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Transistors 754 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 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of information (measured in MB per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 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, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics card can possibly record to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out by multiplying the number of Raster Operations Pipelines by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel output rate also depends on quite a few other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - 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 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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