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GeForce GTX 260 vs Radeon HD 6970

Intro

The GeForce GTX 260 has a core clock frequency of 576 MHz and a GDDR3 memory frequency of 999 MHz. It also features a 448-bit memory bus, and uses a 65 nm design. It is comprised of 192 SPUs, 64 TAUs, and 28 Raster Operation Units.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 6970, which has a clock frequency of 880 MHz and a GDDR5 memory frequency of 1375 MHz. It also uses a 256-bit bus, and makes use of a 40 nm design. It is comprised of 1536 SPUs, 96 Texture Address Units, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

(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

As far as performance goes, the Radeon HD 6970 should theoretically be quite a bit better 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 will be much (more or less 129%) better at texture 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 using lots of anti-aliasing is important to you, then the Radeon HD 6970 is the winner, 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 (measured in megabytes per second) that can be transferred past the external memory interface within a second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR type memory, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The better the memory bandwidth, the better 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 per second. This number is calculated by multiplying the total texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels processed in one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels the graphics card could possibly record to the local memory per 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 - also called Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on quite a few other factors, especially the memory bandwidth - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to reach the maximum fill rate.

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