By 7 June 2011 | Categories: feature articles


AMD vs Nvidia: GPU FIGHT!

Graphic Processing Unit round-up

The rivalry between graphics processing unit (GPU) makers Nvidia and AMD is one of the fiercest in the world of tech with both manufacturers want their devices powering your PC's graphics. We introduce the top contenders.


AMD Radeon HD 6990At the summit of graphical performance we find Nvidia's GeForce GTX 590 competing against AMD's Radeon HD 6990. The 6990 features 4 GB of GDDR5 RAM, 3 072 stream processors, an 830 MHz core clock speed and a dual-BIOS switch that will also allow users to raise clock speed up to 880 MHz. This monster is quite power-hungry with a minimum of a 375 W PSU required to quench its power thirst. Cooling is supplied by a vapour chamber heatsink with a central blower fan, which can be a tad noisy. Prices range from R6500 for a Club3D model, all the way up to R8700 for an Asus version.

Nvidia's dual GPU effort, the GeForce GTX 590, packs 1024 Nvidia CUDA architecture cores and 3 GB of GDDR5 memory, onto a single 11" dual slot monster. It sports a lower graphics clock speed of 607 MHz, but runs quieter as it features a special cooling system and dual vapour chambers. Nvidia claims this GPU measures in at 48 dB on the decibel scale, over two times quieter than its closest competitive product under full graphics load. A Gigabyte version of the card goes for around R9650.

So which one is better? When AMD launched its Radeon HD 6990 at the beginning of March, it claimed it was the world's fastest GPU, receiving a score of P11865 in the industry standard 3DMark11 benchmark. When Nvidia released its 590 at the end of March it stated that its new top dog ruled the GPU roost, but didn't give any 3DMark11 scores to back this claim up. Of course AMD called them out on this, and up to now Nvidia has not provided any official scores.


GTX 560 TiThe mid-range Nvidia GeForce GTX 560 Ti GPU features 384 CUDA cores, an 822 MHz graphics clock, 1 GB of GDDR5 RAM and 1645 MHz processing clock. Pricing kicks off at R2775 and goes all the way up to R3700. AMD's answer to the 560 Ti is the Radeon HD 6870, sporting 1120 Stream Processors, a faster 900 MHz engine clock and 1 GB of GDDR5 memory.

All in all the AMD 6870 offers more bang for your buck, as prices range between R2200 - R2900, although the Nvidia 560 Ti does deliver better performance. But for the price of a 560 Ti, you can opt for the 2 GB version of AMD's Radeon HD 6950 sporting twice the GDDR5 RAM that the 560 Ti has.


AMD Radeon HD 6790In the lower end of the GPU spectrum is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 550 Ti, boasting 192 CUDA cores, 1800 MHz processor clock speed, 900 MHz graphics clock speed and 1 GB of GDDR5. It goes for around R1600 - R2000. AMD's Radeon HD 6790 also sports 1 GB of GDDR5 RAM, but with a higher speed 256-bit GDDR5 memory interface, as opposed to the Nvidia's 192-bit memory one. The graphics clock however, is lower running at up to 840 MHz, but is more affordable than its competitor going for under R1500. 



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