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Radeon HD 5850 vs Radeon HD 5870

Intro

The Radeon HD 5850 comes with a core clock speed of 725 MHz and a GDDR5 memory speed of 1000 MHz. It also features a 256-bit memory bus, and makes use of a 40 nm design. It is made up of 1440(288x5) SPUs, 72 Texture Address Units, and 32 ROPs.

Compare that to the Radeon HD 5870, which comes with core clock speeds of 850 MHz on the GPU, and 1200 MHz on the 1024 MB of GDDR5 memory. It features 1600(320x5) SPUs as well as 80 TAUs and 32 ROPs.

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 speaking, the Radeon HD 5870 should be just a bit faster than the Radeon HD 5850 in general. (explain)

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

Texel Rate

The Radeon HD 5870 will be a lot (approximately 30%) better at texture filtering than the Radeon HD 5850. (explain)

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

Pixel Rate

The Radeon HD 5870 should be a small bit (more or less 17%) more effective at anti-aliasing than the Radeon HD 5850, and should be capable of handling higher screen resolutions without losing too much performance. (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: Memory bandwidth is the max amount of data (measured in megabytes per second) that can be transported across the external memory interface within a second. It's worked out by multiplying the card's interface width by its memory speed. If the card has DDR type memory, it should be multiplied by 2 once again. If DDR5, multiply by ANOTHER 2x. The higher the memory bandwidth, the better the card will be in general. It especially helps with anti-aliasing, High Dynamic Range and higher screen resolutions.

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

Pixel Rate: Pixel rate is the most pixels the video card can possibly write to its local memory per second - measured in millions of pixels per second. The figure is calculated by multiplying the amount of colour ROPs by the the core clock speed. ROPs (Raster Operations Pipelines - also sometimes called Render Output Units) are responsible for outputting the pixels (image) to the screen. The actual pixel output rate is also dependant on lots of other factors, especially 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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