iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






RADEON R(V)8XX Reference

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Older AMD(ATI) GPU references:

R[V]8XX GPU specifications

Codename RV870 RV840
Baseline review Here Here
Process technology, nm 40
Transistors, B 2.15 1.04
Unified processors 1600 800
Texture units 80 40
Blending units 32 16
Memory bus 256 128
Memory types DDR, DDR2, GDDR3, GDDR4, GDDR5
System bus PCI-Express 2.1 16x
RAMDAC 2 x 400MHz
Interfaces 2 x DVI Dual Link, HDMI, DisplayPort
Vertex shaders 5.0
Pixel shaders 5.0
Precision FP32/FP64 FP32
Texture component formats FP32, FP16, I8, DXTC, S3TC, 3Dc
Rendering formats FP32, FP16, I8, I10 (RGBA 10:10:10:2), other
Antialiasing MSAA 2x-8x, CFAA up to 24x SSAA 2x-8x

R[V]8XX-based reference cards specifications

Graphics card GPU ALUs/TMUs/ROPs Core clock, MHz Memory frequency, MHz Memory capacity, MB Memory bandwidth, GB/s Texturing, Gtex Fillrate, Gpix
RADEON HD 5970 2xRV870 (Hemlock) 2x(1600/80/32) 725 1000(4000) 2x1024 GDDR5 2x128.0
2x52.2 2x23.2
RADEON HD 5870 RV870 Cypress 1600/80/32 850 1200(4800) 1024 GDDR5 153.6
68.0 27.2
RADEON HD 5850 RV870 Cypress 1440/72/32 725 1000(4000) 1024 GDDR5 128.0
52.2 23.2
RADEON HD 5770 RV840 Juniper 800/40/16 850 1200(4800) 1024 GDDR5 76.8
34.0 13.6
RADEON HD 5750 RV840 Juniper 720/36/16 700 1150(4600) 512/1024 GDDR5 73.6
25.2 11.2

RV870, RADEON HD 5800 series

  • Codename: RV870 Cypress
  • Process technology: 40nm
  • 2.15 billion transistors
  • Unified architecture with an array of common processors for streaming processing of various data types: vertices, pixels, etc.
  • Hardware support for DirectX 11, including new Shader Model 5.0
  • 256-bit memory bus: four 64-bit controllers supporting GDDR5
  • Core clock: 725-850 MHz
  • 20 SIMD cores, including 1600 scalar floating-point ALUs (integer and floating-point formats, support for FP32 and FP64 in compliance with IEEE 754)
  • 20 enlarged texture units supporting FP16 and FP32 formats
  • 80 texture address units and just as many bilinear filtering units that can filter FP16 textures at full speed, trilinear and anisotropic filtering for all texture formats
  • 32 ROPs supporting antialiasing with programmable sample patterns (over 16 samples per pixel), including FP16 or FP32 formats of the frame buffer. Peak performance is up to 32 samples per cycle (including MSAA 2x/4x and FP16 buffers), 128 samples per cycle in Z only mode
  • Writing results up to eight frame buffers simultaneously (MRT)
  • Integrated support for RAMDAC, six Single Link or three Dual Link DVIs, as well as HDMI and DisplayPort

RADEON HD 5870 specifications

  • Core clock: 850 MHz
  • Unified processors: 1600
  • 80 texture units, 32 blending units
  • Effective memory frequency: 4800 MHz (4*1200 MHz)
  • Memory type: GDDR5
  • Memory: 1024 MB
  • Memory bandwidth: 153.6 GB/sec
  • Maximum theoretical fillrate: 27.2 gigapixel per second
  • Theoretical texture sampling rate: 68.0 gigatexel per second
  • Two CrossFireX connectors
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16
  • 2 x DVI-I Dual Link, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • Power consumption: from 27 W to 188 W (two 6-pin power connectors)
  • Dual-slot design
  • Recommended price: $399

RADEON HD 5850 specifications

  • Core clock: 725 MHz
  • Unified processors: 1440
  • 72 texture units, 32 blending units
  • Effective memory frequency: 4000 MHz (4*1000 MHz)
  • Memory type: GDDR5
  • Memory: 1024 MB
  • Memory bandwidth: 128 GB/sec
  • Maximum theoretical fillrate: 23.2 gigapixel per second
  • Theoretical texture sampling rate: 52.2 gigatexel per second.
  • Two CrossFireX connectors
  • PCI Express 2.0 x16
  • 2 x DVI-I Dual Link, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • Power consumption: from 27 W to 170 W (two 6-pin power connectors)
  • Dual-slot design
  • Recommended price: $299

AMD uses the most advanced process technology at that time (40nm) to roll out solutions that enjoy apparent advantages over 55-nm GPUs. The die surface hasn't grown much, but the frequency potential has become higher, and almost all characteristics have been doubled versus RV770. The new GPU is certainly much more power-efficient, but these cards consume practically just as much power as the top solutions from the previous generation (HD 4870 and HD 4890). And they offer much higher performance.

We are happy to say that the naming principle remains unchanged (you know who's constantly changing that). Only the first number has changed in comparison with the previous series. However, these cards have slightly different positioning. The HD 4870 and 4850 were designed to replace the HD 3870 and 3850 as soon as they appeared in stores, but the price of HD 5870 indicates that AMD is conquering new price ranges -- unusually high for single-GPU solutions from this company. And the HD 5850 is to replace the HD 4890, the fastest card from the previous generation. The latter will not be discontinued, but it will go down to the lower price range.

As is always the case with AMD, two modifications differ in GPU/memory clock rates. And it's not the only difference between these models, although both cards are now equipped with the same memory type -- GDDR5, as GDDR3 memory bandwidth would have been too small even for the HD 5850. A more important difference between the HD 5850 and the HD 5870 is in the number of ALUs and TMUs -- their number is decreased by 11% in the lower model. It was probably done not to reject GPUs with defected ALUs/TMUs. Besides, the low solution consumes less power (but still much) and has a shorter PCB. However, the HD 5850 still comes with a two-slot reference cooler.

Both cards have the same video memory size in their reference modifications -- one gigabyte. That's the right decision, as modern games (even multiplatform titles) have high requirements to video memory. Memory size of 1024 MB is the optimal volume now -- there is no need in more memory, and 512 MB is already insufficient for many applications.

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