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GeForce GTX 260 vs Radeon HD 6970

Intro

The GeForce GTX 260 features a core clock speed of 576 MHz and a GDDR3 memory speed of 999 MHz. It also makes use of a 448-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 65 nm design. It features 192 SPUs, 64 Texture Address Units, and 28 ROPs.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 6970, which makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 880 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a speed of 1375 MHz on this particular model. It features 1536 SPUs along with 96 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

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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 speaking, the Radeon HD 6970 should be a lot faster than the GeForce GTX 260 overall. (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 (about 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

The Radeon HD 6970 will be much (more or less 75%) faster with regards to FSAA than the GeForce GTX 260, and should be able to handle higher screen resolutions more effectively. (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: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of information (counted in megabytes per second) that can be transported across the external memory interface in a second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. In the case of DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the card's 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 amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be applied per second. This is calculated by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the graphics card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics card can possibly write to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate also depends on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the ability to reach the maximum fill rate.

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