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GeForce GTX 480 vs Radeon HD 6850

Intro

The GeForce GTX 480 uses a 40 nm design. nVidia has set the core frequency at 700 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM works at a speed of 924 MHz on this specific model. It features 480 SPUs as well as 60 Texture Address Units and 48 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 6850, which uses a 40 nm design. AMD has clocked the core frequency at 775 MHz. The GDDR5 memory is set to run at a speed of 1000 MHz on this model. It features 960 SPUs as well as 48 Texture Address Units and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

(No game benchmarks for this combination yet.)

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

The GeForce GTX 480, in theory, should perform quite a bit faster than the Radeon HD 6850 overall. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The GeForce GTX 480 will be a little bit (approximately 13%) faster with regards to anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 6850. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

If using high levels of AA is important to you, then the GeForce GTX 480 is superior to the Radeon HD 6850, and very much so. (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

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

Model GeForce GTX 480 Radeon HD 6850
Manufacturer nVidia AMD
Year March 2010 October 2010
Code Name GF100 Barts Pro
Fab Process 40 nm 40 nm
Bus PCIe x16 PCIe x16
Memory 1536 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 700 MHz 775 MHz
Shader Speed 1401 MHz (N/A) MHz
Memory Speed 924 MHz (3696 MHz effective) 1000 MHz (4000 MHz effective)
Unified Shaders 480 960
Texture Mapping Units 60 48
Render Output Units 48 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 384-bit 256-bit
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11
OpenGL Version OpenGL 4.1 OpenGL 4.1
Power (Max TDP) 250 watts 127 watts
Shader Model 5.0 5.0
Bandwidth 177408 MB/sec 128000 MB/sec
Texel Rate 42000 Mtexels/sec 37200 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 33600 Mpixels/sec 24800 Mpixels/sec

Memory Bandwidth: Memory bandwidth is the maximum amount of data (measured in megabytes per second) that can be moved across the external memory interface in one second. It's calculated by multiplying the interface width by its memory clock speed. In the case of DDR type RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by 4 instead. The better the bandwidth is, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum number of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed 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 the texel rate, the better the video card will be at texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels that the graphics card could possibly record to its local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is worked out by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - aka Render Output Units) are responsible for filling the screen with pixels (the image). The actual pixel output rate also depends on many other factors, most notably the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the memory bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the maximum fill rate.

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