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GeForce 9800 GX2 vs Radeon HD 3870 1GB

Intro

The GeForce 9800 GX2 uses a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 600 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM works at a frequency of 1000 MHz on this specific model. It features 128 SPUs as well as 64 Texture Address Units and 16 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 3870 1GB, which makes use of a 55 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 775 MHz. The GDDR4 memory works at a frequency of 1125 MHz on this particular model. It features 320(64x5) SPUs along with 16 Texture Address Units and 16 Rasterization Operator Units.

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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

Performance-wise, the GeForce 9800 GX2 should in theory be a lot superior to 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 should be a lot (about 519%) faster with regards to anisotropic filtering 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

The GeForce 9800 GX2 will be quite a bit (approximately 55%) better at AA than the Radeon HD 3870 1GB, and also will be able to handle higher screen resolutions better. (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

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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 max amount of data (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transferred over the external memory interface in a second. It is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR type RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum number of pixels that the graphics card could possibly record to its local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is calculated by multiplying the number of Render Output Units by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also called 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 of the card - 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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