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GeForce GTX 260 vs Radeon HD 6970

Intro

The GeForce GTX 260 makes use of a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 576 MHz. The GDDR3 RAM runs at a frequency of 999 MHz on this particular model. It features 192 SPUs along with 64 Texture Address Units and 28 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare all of that to the Radeon HD 6970, which uses a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 880 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1375 MHz on this card. It features 1536 SPUs as well as 96 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

Display Graphs

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

GeForce GTX 260 182 Watts
Radeon HD 6970 250 Watts
Difference: 68 Watts (37%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically, the Radeon HD 6970 should perform quite a bit faster than the GeForce GTX 260 in general. (explain)

Radeon HD 6970 176000 MB/sec
GeForce GTX 260 111888 MB/sec
Difference: 64112 (57%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 6970 should be much (more or less 129%) better at anisotropic filtering than the GeForce GTX 260. (explain)

Radeon HD 6970 84480 Mtexels/sec
GeForce GTX 260 36864 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 47616 (129%)

Pixel Rate

If running with high levels of AA is important to you, then the Radeon HD 6970 is a better choice, and very much so. (explain)

Radeon HD 6970 28160 Mpixels/sec
GeForce GTX 260 16128 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 12032 (75%)

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 260

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 6970

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 260 Radeon HD 6970
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 16, 2008 December 2010
Code Name G200 Cayman XT
Memory 896 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 576 MHz 880 MHz
Memory Speed 1998 MHz 5500 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 182 watts 250 watts
Bandwidth 111888 MB/sec 176000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 36864 Mtexels/sec 84480 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 16128 Mpixels/sec 28160 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 192 1536
Texture Mapping Units 64 96
Render Output Units 28 32
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 448-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 65 nm 40 nm
Transistors 1400 million 2640 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 data (in units of MB per second) that can be moved past the external memory interface in a second. It is worked out by multiplying the bus width by its memory clock speed. If the card has DDR memory, it should be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the video card could possibly record to its local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the number of ROPs by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel fill rate also depends on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the maximum fill rate.

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