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GeForce GTX 280 vs Radeon HD 6850

Intro

The GeForce GTX 280 uses a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 602 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM works at a frequency of 1107 MHz on this model. It features 240 SPUs as well as 80 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specifications to the Radeon HD 6850, which comes with a GPU core clock speed of 775 MHz, and 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory running at 1000 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 960 Stream Processors, 48 TAUs, and 32 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 6850 127 Watts
GeForce GTX 280 236 Watts
Difference: 109 Watts (86%)

Memory Bandwidth

The GeForce GTX 280 should theoretically be a bit faster than the Radeon HD 6850 overall. (explain)

GeForce GTX 280 141696 MB/sec
Radeon HD 6850 128000 MB/sec
Difference: 13696 (11%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce GTX 280 is much (about 29%) better at AF than the Radeon HD 6850. (explain)

GeForce GTX 280 48160 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 6850 37200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 10960 (29%)

Pixel Rate

If using lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 6850 is a better choice, by a large margin. (explain)

Radeon HD 6850 24800 Mpixels/sec
GeForce GTX 280 19264 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 5536 (29%)

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.

Price Comparison

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GeForce GTX 280

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 6850

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

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Model GeForce GTX 280 Radeon HD 6850
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 17, 2008 October 2010
Code Name G200 Barts Pro
Memory 1024 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 602 MHz 775 MHz
Memory Speed 2214 MHz 4000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 236 watts 127 watts
Bandwidth 141696 MB/sec 128000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 48160 Mtexels/sec 37200 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19264 Mpixels/sec 24800 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 240 960
Texture Mapping Units 80 48
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 512-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 65 nm 40 nm
Transistors 1400 million 1700 million
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe x16
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 11
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.1 OpenGL 4.1

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of information (counted in MB per second) that can be transferred across the external memory interface within a second. It's calculated by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR type RAM, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the memory bandwidth, 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be applied per second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total amount of texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better the texel rate, the better the video card will be at 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 the local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is calculated by multiplying the number of colour ROPs by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill rate is also dependant on many other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

Display Prices

Hide Prices

GeForce GTX 280

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 6850

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.

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