In the computer industry, technical products become obsolete rather quickly. Powerful video cards quickly lose their status after a complete generation update. However, not all users strive for a permanent upgrade, some are content with a decrease in the quality of graphics. We recently compared the GeForce GTX 580 and Radeon HD 6970 with new budget graphics cards. And these 2010 flagship solutions still handle many games at medium (or even high) quality. Now let’s see what the representatives of the middle class, who came out a little later, are capable of. In this article, we will test the Radeon HD 7870 video accelerator, released in 2012, and the GeForce GTX 760, which appeared a year later. Let’s compare their performance in modern games with newer mid-range and budget models, up to the Radeon RX 460 and GeForce GTX 1050.

Radeon HD 7870 и GeForce GTX 760

Since the release of older video adapters, software support at the driver level has been improved, but the requirements for games have also grown. New graphics accelerators have switched to an updated architecture and are ready to work in DirectX 12. The new API is also supported by the indicated old models, so there will be tests in this mode in comparison.

The full list of participants is as follows:

  • GeForce GTX 1050 2GB;
  • GeForce GTX 960 2GB;
  • GeForce GTX 950 2GB;
  • GeForce GTX 760 2GB;
  • Radeon RX 460 2GB;
  • Radeon R9 270X 2GB;
  • Radeon R9 270 2GB;
  • Radeon HD 7870 2GB.

A description of the competitors can be found in our large test of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and GeForce GTX 1050.

Characteristics of the tested video cards

The table shows official data on GeForce Boost frequencies, the graphs show the full frequency range, including short-term peak values. The graphs used a different order of video cards, we tried to place them in accordance with the results, grouping AMD and NVIDIA representatives separately. All participants are tested at nominal and overclocked. An exception is made for the GeForce GTX 960, the most powerful test participant with the highest results at nominal frequencies. The Radeon HD 7870, Radeon R9 270X and Radeon R9 270 are represented by one model, so in overclocking they will all be replaced by one video card with increased frequencies.

Video adapter GeForce GTX 1050 GeForce GTX 960 GeForce GTX 950 GeForce GTX 760 Radeon RX 460 Radeon R9 270X Radeon R9 270 Radeon HD 7870
Core GP107 GM206 GM206 GK104 Polaris 11 Curacao Curacao Pitcairn
Architecture Pascal Maxwell Maxwell Kepler GCN 1.3 GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0
Number of transistors, million pieces 3300 2940 2940 3500 3000 2800 2800 2800
Process technology, nm 14 28 28 28 14 28 28 28
Core area, sq. mm 132 228 228 294 123 212 212 212
Number of stream processors 640 1024 768 1152 896 1280 1280 1280
Number of texture blocks 40 64 48 96 56 80 80 80
Number of render units 32 32 32 32 16 32 32 32
Core frequency, MHz 1354–1455 1126–1178 1024–1188 980–1033 1090–1200 1050 925 1000
Memory bus, bit 128 128 128 2560 128 256 256 256
Memory frequency, MHz 7012 7010 6610 6008 7000 5600 5600 4800
Memory size, MB 2048 2048 2048 2048 4096 2048 2048 2048
Supported version of DirectX 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12
Interface PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0 PCI-E 3.0
Power, W 75 120 90 170 75 180 150 175

Let’s briefly recall the characteristics of the Radeon HD 7870 and GeForce GTX 760.

Radeon HD 7870

Let’s start with the AMD representative, since he is more advanced in age. Based on the first generation GCN architecture Pitcairn GPU. All this generation was very successful for AMD, and many video cards are still working in the computers of gamers. The chip has 1280 stream processors, 80 texture units and 32 ROPs with a 256-bit memory bus. The Radeon HD 7870 has a GPU operating frequency of 1 GHz, an effective GDDR5 memory frequency of 4800 MHz, and a memory capacity of 2 GB. Read more about the Radeon HD 7870 in a separate review.

The Radeon HD 7870 video adapter experienced a rebirth in the face of the Radeon R9 270X and Radeon R9 270. New video cards on the same core (in the new version of Curacao) differ in operating frequencies — 1050/5600 MHz for the Radeon R9 270X and 925/5600 MHz for the Radeon R9 270.

All of these options are represented in our testing by a single Gigabyte GV-R787OC-2GD graphics accelerator.

Radeon HD 7870 и GeForce GTX 760

Gigabyte replaced the regular version of the Radeon HD 7870 when the frequencies were reduced to 1000/4800 MHz. The necessary frequency correction was also performed for the role of the Radeon R9 270X with the Radeon R9 270, in the second case the voltage was slightly reduced.

Radeon HD 7870 и GeForce GTX 760

Overclocking was 1235/5820 MHz. For the Radeon HD 7870, this is a good result. As for the new AMD models, they benefit from higher memory potential, but the Radeon R9 270 may be inferior in terms of core frequency.

GeForce GTX 760

Representative of the second generation of NVIDIA graphics cards based on the Kepler architecture. At the heart of the GK104 processor cut down in terms of computing units. Of the 1536 stream processors GeForce GTX 760 got 1152 processors, 96 texture units and 32 render units. The video adapter replaced the GeForce GTX 660 Ti, although it was cut down more blocks by block. This was compensated by a full 256-bit bus, which allowed 2 GB of memory to work at maximum bandwidth. At the same time, the frequencies are increased relative to the GeForce GTX 600 series. At the base frequency of the 980 core, Boost Clock is 1033 MHz, but the real Boost easily exceeded 1100 MHz. Effective GDDR5 memory frequency at 6 GHz. Learn more about the features of the GeForce GTX 760 in a separate article.

For tests, the Palit GTX 760 JetStream model is used.

Radeon HD 7870 и GeForce GTX 760

The frequencies were adjusted to get the maximum Boost of 1110 MHz (which is close to the reference values) and the standard 6008 MHz for memory.

Radeon HD 7870 и GeForce GTX 760

Palit has good cooling, but a shortened reference board design. GPU overclocking is rather weak compared to other representatives of the series — 1102 MHz at the base frequency with a maximum Boost of 1228 MHz. But high memory overclocking at a final effective value of 7484 MHz.