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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 4870 512MB

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GX2 makes use of a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core frequency at 600 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM works at a speed of 1000 MHz on this model. It features 128 SPUs along with 64 Texture Address Units and 16 ROPs.

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

Left4Dead 2

Settings: Very High
AA: 8x
AF: 16x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
GeForce 9800 GX2 81 FPS
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 77 FPS
Difference: 4 FPS (5%)

Supreme Commander 2

Settings: High
AA: 8x
AF: 16x
Resolution: 1920x1200
Test Machine: Tom's Hardware Test Machine (Source)
GeForce 9800 GX2 55 FPS
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 55 FPS
Difference: 0 FPS (0%)

GeForce 9800 GX2 wins

(Based entirely on the benchmarks listed above)

When combining all game benchmark scores on this page together, the GeForce 9800 GX2 wins overall, by 4 FPS. Please note that we do not have the results of every benchmark ever done for these cards, so the results may differ wildly in different games.

GeForce 9800 GX2 136 FPS
Radeon HD 4870 512MB 132 FPS
Difference: 4 FPS (3%)

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

As far as performance goes, the GeForce 9800 GX2 should theoretically be a little bit better than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GX2 is much (about 156%) more effective at 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

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the GeForce 9800 GX2 is a better choice, by far. (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

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

Model GeForce 9800 GX2 Radeon HD 4870 512MB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year Mar 2008 Jun 25, 2008
Code Name G92 RV770 XT
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.0 x16
Memory 512 MB (x2) 512 MB
Core Speed 600 MHz (x2) 750 MHz
Shader Speed 1500 MHz (x2) (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 1000 MHz (2000 MHz effective) (x2) 900 MHz (3600 MHz effective)
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
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0
Power (Max TDP) 197 watts 150 watts
Shader Model 4.0 4.1
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 115200 MB/sec
Texel Rate 76800 Mtexels/sec 30000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19200 Mpixels/sec 12000 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the largest amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface within a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the interface width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR type RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card 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 in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics chip can possibly write to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate also depends on quite a few other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.

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