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GeForce GTX 280 vs Radeon HD 6870

Intro

The GeForce GTX 280 uses a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core frequency at 602 MHz. The GDDR3 memory works at a frequency of 1107 MHz on this particular card. It features 240 SPUs along with 80 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare all that to the Radeon HD 6870, which makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 900 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM is set to run at a speed of 1050 MHz on this specific model. It features 1120 SPUs as well as 56 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 6870 151 Watts
GeForce GTX 280 236 Watts
Difference: 85 Watts (56%)

Memory Bandwidth

In theory, the GeForce GTX 280 is 5% quicker than the Radeon HD 6870 in general, due to its greater data rate. (explain)

GeForce GTX 280 141696 MB/sec
Radeon HD 6870 134400 MB/sec
Difference: 7296 (5%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 6870 should be a small bit (about 5%) more effective at texture filtering than the GeForce GTX 280. (explain)

Radeon HD 6870 50400 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 280 48160 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 2240 (5%)

Pixel Rate

If running with lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 6870 is the winner, by a large margin. (explain)

Radeon HD 6870 28800 Mpixels/sec
GeForce GTX 280 19264 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 9536 (50%)

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

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 6870

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 GTX 280 Radeon HD 6870
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 17, 2008 October 2010
Code Name G200 Barts XT
Memory 1024 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 602 MHz 900 MHz
Memory Speed 2214 MHz 4200 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 236 watts 151 watts
Bandwidth 141696 MB/sec 134400 MB/sec
Texel Rate 48160 Mtexels/sec 50400 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 19264 Mpixels/sec 28800 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 240 1120
Texture Mapping Units 80 56
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: Bandwidth is the largest amount of information (measured in megabytes per second) that can be moved past the external memory interface in a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR memory, it should 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 AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels 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 amount of ROPs by the the core speed of the card. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the max fill rate.

Display Prices

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GeForce GTX 280

Amazon.com

Check prices at:

Radeon HD 6870

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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