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GeForce GTX 480 vs Radeon HD 6850

Intro

The GeForce GTX 480 comes with a clock frequency of 700 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 924 MHz. It also makes use of a 384-bit bus, and makes use of a 40 nm design. It features 480 SPUs, 60 Texture Address Units, and 48 ROPs.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 6850, which uses a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 775 MHz. The GDDR5 memory works at a speed of 1000 MHz on this specific model. It features 960 SPUs along with 48 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 6850 127 Watts
GeForce GTX 480 250 Watts
Difference: 123 Watts (97%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically speaking, the GeForce GTX 480 is 39% faster than the Radeon HD 6850 overall, due to its higher bandwidth. (explain)

GeForce GTX 480 177408 MB/sec
Radeon HD 6850 128000 MB/sec
Difference: 49408 (39%)

Texel Rate

The GeForce GTX 480 should be a small bit (more or less 13%) more effective at AF than the Radeon HD 6850. (explain)

GeForce GTX 480 42000 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 6850 37200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 4800 (13%)

Pixel Rate

The GeForce GTX 480 will be a lot (approximately 35%) better at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 6850, and also capable of handling higher resolutions while still performing well. (explain)

GeForce GTX 480 33600 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 6850 24800 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 8800 (35%)

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 480

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 6850

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 480 Radeon HD 6850
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year March 2010 October 2010
Code Name GF100 Barts Pro
Memory 1536 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 700 MHz 775 MHz
Memory Speed 3696 MHz 4000 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 250 watts 127 watts
Bandwidth 177408 MB/sec 128000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 42000 Mtexels/sec 37200 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 33600 Mpixels/sec 24800 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 480 960
Texture Mapping Units 60 48
Render Output Units 48 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 40 nm 40 nm
Transistors 3000 million 1700 million
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.1 OpenGL 4.1

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of information (in units of MB per second) that can be transported past the external memory interface within a second. The number is worked out by multiplying the card's bus width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR type RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, HDR and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This figure is calculated by multiplying the total texture units of the card by the core 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 one second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the maximum amount of pixels that the graphics chip can possibly record to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is calculated by multiplying the number of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel fill 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 reach the maximum fill rate.

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