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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 speed of 999 MHz on this specific model. It features 192 SPUs as well as 64 Texture Address Units and 28 Rasterization Operator Units.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 6970, which makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core speed at 880 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a speed of 1375 MHz on this model. It features 1536 SPUs along with 96 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

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 speaking, the Radeon HD 6970 is 57% faster than the GeForce GTX 260 in general, because of its higher bandwidth. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 6970 will be a lot (more or less 129%) faster with regards to AF 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 lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 6970 is superior to the GeForce GTX 260, by a large margin. (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

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

Model GeForce GTX 260 Radeon HD 6970
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year June 16, 2008 December 2010
Code Name G200 Cayman XT
Fab Process 65 nm 40 nm
Bus PCIe x16 2.0 PCIe x16
Memory 896 MB 2048 MB
Core Speed 576 MHz 880 MHz
Shader Speed 1242 MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 999 MHz (1998 MHz effective) 1375 MHz (5500 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 192 1536
Texture Mapping Units 64 96
Render Output Units 28 32
Bus Type GDDR3 GDDR5
Bus Width 448-bit 256-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 10 DirectX 11
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.1 OpenGL 4.1
Power (Max TDP) 182 watts 250 watts
Shader Model 4.0 5.0
Bandwidth 111888 MB/sec 176000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 36864 Mtexels/sec 84480 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 16128 Mpixels/sec 28160 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be moved over the external memory interface in one second. The number is calculated by multiplying the bus width by its memory speed. If it uses DDR memory, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the video card can possibly write to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated by multiplying the number of Render Output Units by the clock speed of the card. 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 rate is also dependant on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to get to the max fill rate.

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