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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 3870 1GB

Intro

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

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 3870 1GB, which features a core clock speed of 775 MHz and a GDDR4 memory speed of 1125 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit bus, and uses a 55 nm design. It is made up of 320(64x5) SPUs, 16 TAUs, and 16 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 3870 1GB 106 Watts
GeForce 9800 GX2 197 Watts
Difference: 91 Watts (86%)

Memory Bandwidth

As far as performance goes, the GeForce 9800 GX2 should in theory be quite a bit better than the Radeon HD 3870 1GB overall. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 128000 MB/sec
Radeon HD 3870 1GB 72000 MB/sec
Difference: 56000 (78%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce 9800 GX2 is a lot (more or less 519%) better at AF than the Radeon HD 3870 1GB. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 76800 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 3870 1GB 12400 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 64400 (519%)

Pixel Rate

If using a high screen resolution is important to you, then the GeForce 9800 GX2 is superior to the Radeon HD 3870 1GB, by far. (explain)

GeForce 9800 GX2 19200 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 3870 1GB 12400 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 6800 (55%)

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

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 3870 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 GX2 Radeon HD 3870 1GB
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year Mar 2008 Nov 19, 2007
Code Name G92 RV670 XT
Memory 512 MB (x2) 1024 MB
Core Speed 600 MHz (x2) 775 MHz
Memory Speed 2000 MHz (x2) 2250 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 197 watts 106 watts
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 72000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 76800 Mtexels/sec 12400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19200 Mpixels/sec 12400 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 128 (x2) 320(64x5)
Texture Mapping Units 64 (x2) 16
Render Output Units 16 (x2) 16
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR4
Bus Width 256-bit (x2) 256-bit
Fab Process 65 nm 55 nm
Transistors 754 million (Unknown) million
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe 2.0 x16/AGP 8x
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 10.1
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.0 OpenGL 3.0

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (in units of megabytes per second) that can be moved over the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory speed. If it uses DDR type memory, it 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, HDR and high resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This number is worked out by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core clock 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 applied in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels that the graphics card can possibly write to the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the amount of Render Output Units by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce 9800 GX2

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 3870 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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