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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 4870 512MB

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GX2 has core speeds of 600 MHz on the GPU, and 1000 MHz on the 512 MB of GDDR3 RAM. It features 128 SPUs as well as 64 TAUs and 16 ROPs.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 4870 512MB, which uses a 55 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 750 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM works at a frequency of 900 MHz on this model. It features 800(160x5) SPUs as well as 40 TAUs and 16 Rasterization Operator 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

In theory, the GeForce 9800 GX2 should be 11% faster than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB in general, because of 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 is much (more or less 156%) faster with regards to texture 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 will be a lot (approximately 60%) better at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 4870 512MB, and also will be able to handle higher 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

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 max amount of data (counted in MB per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface in a second. It is worked out by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. If it uses DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the bandwidth is, 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 applied in one second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total number of texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the 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 write to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is calculated by multiplying the number of ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the maximum fill rate.

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