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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 5870

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 uses a 40 nm design. AMD has set the core speed at 725 MHz. The GDDR5 RAM runs at a frequency of 1000 MHz on this particular card. It features 1440(288x5) SPUs as well as 72 Texture Address Units and 32 ROPs.

Compare those specs to the Radeon HD 5870, which has core speeds of 850 MHz on the GPU, and 1200 MHz on the 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory. It features 1600(320x5) SPUs along with 80 TAUs and 32 Rasterization Operator Units.

Display Graphs

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Power Usage and Theoretical Benchmarks

Power Consumption (Max TDP)

Radeon HD 5850 151 Watts
Radeon HD 5870 188 Watts
Difference: 37 Watts (25%)

Memory Bandwidth

Theoretically, the Radeon HD 5870 should perform a bit faster than the Radeon HD 5850 overall. (explain)

Radeon HD 5870 153600 MB/sec
Radeon HD 5850 128000 MB/sec
Difference: 25600 (20%)

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 5870 should be a lot (approximately 30%) faster with regards to anisotropic filtering than the Radeon HD 5850. (explain)

Radeon HD 5870 68000 Mtexels/sec
Radeon HD 5850 52200 Mtexels/sec
Difference: 15800 (30%)

Pixel Rate

If using a high screen resolution is important to you, then the Radeon HD 5870 is a better choice, but not by far. (explain)

Radeon HD 5870 27200 Mpixels/sec
Radeon HD 5850 23200 Mpixels/sec
Difference: 4000 (17%)

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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Radeon HD 5850

Amazon.com

Radeon HD 5870

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 Radeon HD 5850 Radeon HD 5870
Manufacturer AMD AMD
Year September 30, 2009 September 23, 2009
Code Name Cypress PRO Cypress XT
Memory 1024 MB 1024 MB
Core Speed 725 MHz 850 MHz
Memory Speed 4000 MHz 4800 MHz
Power (Max TDP) 151 watts 188 watts
Bandwidth 128000 MB/sec 153600 MB/sec
Texel Rate 52200 Mtexels/sec 68000 Mtexels/sec
Pixel Rate 23200 Mpixels/sec 27200 Mpixels/sec
Unified Shaders 1440(288x5) 1600(320x5)
Texture Mapping Units 72 80
Render Output Units 32 32
Bus Type GDDR5 GDDR5
Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit
Fab Process 40 nm 40 nm
Transistors 2154 million 2154 million
Bus PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 2.1 x16
DirectX Version DirectX 11 DirectX 11
OpenGL Version OpenGL 3.2 OpenGL 3.2

Memory Bandwidth: Bandwidth is the largest amount of information (measured in MB per second) that can be transported over the external memory interface in one second. The number is worked out by multiplying the interface width by the speed of its memory. If the card has DDR type RAM, it must be multiplied by 2 again. If it uses 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 number of texture map elements (texels) that can be processed per second. This is worked out by multiplying the total number of texture units by the core speed of the chip. The higher this number, the better the graphics card will be at handling texture filtering (anisotropic filtering - AF). It is measured in millions of texels applied per second.

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels the graphics card can possibly record to the local memory in one second - measured in millions of pixels per second. Pixel rate is calculated 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 outputting the pixels (image) to 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.

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