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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 4870 512MB


Intro

The GeForce 9800 GX2 comes with a clock frequency of 600 MHz and a GDDR3 memory speed of 1000 MHz. It also makes use of a 256-bit bus, and uses a 65 nm design. It features 128 SPUs, 64 Texture Address Units, and 16 Raster Operation Units.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 4870 512MB, which makes use of a 55 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 750 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a frequency of 900 MHz on this model. It features 800(160x5) SPUs along with 40 Texture Address Units and 16 ROPs.

Display Graphs

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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% quicker than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB in general, due to its greater bandwidth. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GX2 should be quite a bit (about 156%) more effective at AF 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

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the GeForce 9800 GX2 is a better choice, and very much so. (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

GeForce 9800 GX2

Radeon HD 4870 512MB

Specifications

Display 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: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of data (counted in MB per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in a second. The number is calculated by multiplying the interface width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR memory, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels that the graphics chip can possibly record to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of colour ROPs by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the maximum fill rate.

GeForce 9800 GX2

Radeon HD 4870 512MB

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