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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 4870 512MB

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GX2 comes with a GPU clock speed of 600 MHz, and the 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM is set to run at 1000 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also is comprised of 128 Stream Processors, 64 TAUs, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 4870 512MB, which has a clock frequency of 750 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 900 MHz. It also features a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 55 nm design. It features 800(160x5) SPUs, 40 Texture Address Units, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 4870 512MB 150 Watts
GeForce 9800 GX2 197 Watts
Difference: 47 Watts (31%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the GeForce 9800 GX2 will be 11% faster than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB in general, because of its higher data rate. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 128000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 115200 MB/sec
Difference: 12800 (11%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GX2 will be quite a bit (more or less 156%) faster with regards to anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 76800 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 30000 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 46800 (156%)

Pixel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GX2 is much (more or less 60%) more effective at FSAA than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB, and will be able to handle higher screen resolutions without losing too much performance. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 19200 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 12000 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 7200 (60%)

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 GX2

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 4870 512MB

Amazon.com

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 GX2 Radeon HD 4870 512MB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year Mar 2008 Jun 25, 2008
Code Name G92 RV770 XT
Memory 512 MB (x2) 512 MB
Core Speed 600 MHz (x2) 750 MHz
Memory Speed 2000 MHz (x2) 3600 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 197 watts 150 watts
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 115200 MB/sec
Texel Rate 76800 Mtexels/sec 30000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19200 Mpixels/sec 12000 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 128 (x2) 800(160x5)
Texture Mapping Units 64 (x2) 40
Render Output Units 16 (x2) 16
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit (x2) 256-bit
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Transistors 754 million 956 million
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.0 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the maximum amount of information (counted in MB per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface within a second. It is worked out by multiplying the interface width by the speed of its memory. If it uses DDR type RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the card's memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

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

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

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