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GeForce GTX 260 vs Radeon HD 6970

Intro

The GeForce GTX 260 uses a 65 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core speed at 576 MHz. The GDDR3 memory works at a frequency of 999 MHz on this card. It features 192 SPUs along with 64 TAUs and 28 ROPs.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 6970, which features a GPU core clock speed of 880 MHz, and 2048 MB of GDDR5 memory running at 1375 MHz through a 256-bit bus. It also features 1536 SPUs, 96 Texture Address Units, and 32 Raster Operation Units.

Display Graphs

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(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

The Radeon HD 6970, in theory, 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 is quite a bit (more or less 129%) more effective at 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 using a high screen resolution 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
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 1998 MHz 5500 MHz
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 maximum amount of information (in units of megabytes per second) that can be transported past the external memory interface within a second. It is worked out by multiplying the bus width by the speed of its memory. In the case of DDR RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the bandwidth is, the faster 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 amount of texture units of the card by the core speed of the chip. The better this number, the better the 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 graphics card could possibly write to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is worked out 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 outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel rate also depends on lots of other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.

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