Compare any two graphics cards:
GeForce 8600 GT 512MB DDR2 vs Radeon HD 5970
IntroThe GeForce 8600 GT 512MB DDR2 makes use of a 80 nm design. nVidia has clocked the core frequency at 540 MHz. The DDR2 memory is set to run at a frequency of 400 MHz on this specific model. It features 32 SPUs along with 16 TAUs and 8 Rasterization Operator Units.
Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 5970, which makes use of a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core frequency at 725 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a speed of 1000 MHz on this card. It features 1600 SPUs along with 160 TAUs and 64 Rasterization Operator Units.
Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks
Power Consumption (Max TDP)
Theoretically speaking, the Radeon HD 5970 will be 1900% faster than the GeForce 8600 GT 512MB DDR2 overall, because of its greater bandwidth. (explain)
Texel RateThe Radeon HD 5970 is much (approximately 2585%) better at AF than the GeForce 8600 GT 512MB DDR2. (explain)
Pixel RateThe Radeon HD 5970 should be much (approximately 2048%) better at full screen anti-aliasing than the GeForce 8600 GT 512MB DDR2, and should be capable of handling higher screen resolutions without losing too much performance. (explain)
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.
One or more cards in this comparison are multi-core. This means that their bandwidth, texel and pixel rates are theoretically doubled - this does not mean the card will actually perform twice as fast, but only that it should in theory be able to. Actual game benchmarks will give a more accurate idea of what it's capable of.
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.
Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the max amount of data (measured in MB per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in a second. It's calculated by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR memory, the result should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the card's memory bandwidth, the faster the card will be in general. It especially helps with AA, High Dynamic Range and high resolutions.
Texel Rate: Texel rate is the maximum amount of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed in one second. This number is calculated by multiplying the total amount of texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher the texel rate, the better the 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 maximum number of pixels that the graphics chip could possibly record to the local memory in a second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The number is worked out by multiplying the amount of ROPs by the the card's clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - sometimes also referred to as Render Output Units) are responsible for drawing the pixels (image) on the screen. The actual pixel rate is also dependant on many other factors, especially the memory bandwidth of the card - the lower the bandwidth is, the lower the potential to get to the max fill rate.