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Pixel fill and texturing performance

Peak pixel
fill rate
Peak bilinear
integer texel
filtering rate
Peak bilinear
FP16 texel
filtering rate
GeForce GTX 460 768MB 16.8 39.2 39.2 88.3
GeForce GTX 460 1GB 810MHz 25.9 47.6 47.6 124.8
GeForce GTX 470 GC 25.0 35.0 17.5 133.9
GeForce GTX 480 33.6 42.0 21.0 177.4
GeForce GTX 570 29.3 43.9 43.9 152.0
GeForce GTX 580 37.1 49.4 49.4 192.0
Radeon HD 5870 27.2 68.0 34.0 153.6
Radeon HD 6850 25.3 37.9 19.0 128.0
Radeon HD 6870 28.8 50.4 25.2 134.4
Radeon HD 5970 46.4 116.0 58.0 256.0

Before we go off to the races, we should set a bit of context for our evaluation of the GeForce GTX 570. Right now, there's really no video card from AMD that competes directly with the GTX 570 at $350. The closest rival of note is probably the Radeon HD 6870, but the 6870 is $100 cheaper and is based on a much smaller graphics chip. The 6870 doesn't match up too poorly against the GTX 570 in terms of some of the peak rates in the table above, but that's theory. In reality, Nvidia's GPU architectures tend to achieve performance closer to their theoretical peaks most of the time.

Another possible competitor might be a couple of Radeon HD 6850 cards paired up in a CrossFireX config. Two of those would only cost a little more than a single GTX 570, so they might be considered a viable alternative, with the proper caveats about slot real-estate, power draw, and multi-GPU compatibility issues kept in mind. You could, in theory at least, double the 6850's rates above for a CrossFire setup. That setup should outgun a single GTX 570 in every category except for FP16 texture filtering.

However, the real threat from AMD in the GTX 570's price range will surely be a member of the soon-to-arrive Radeon HD 6900 series, so we won't focus too closely on the AMD-versus-Nvidia angle today. That showdown is coming soon enough.

You may have noticed in the table above that the GeForce GTX 480 has one really noteworthy advantage over the 570: memory bandwidth. 3DMark's color fill rate test tends to be bandwidth-bound more than anything, and so we have an expected result: the 570 can't quite match the 480 in this test.

3DMark's texture fill test doesn't involve any sort of texture filtering. That's unfortunate, since texture filtering rates are almost certainly more important than sampling rates in the grand scheme of things. Still, this is a decent test of FP16 texture sampling rates, so we'll use it to consider that aspect of GPU performance. Texture storage is, after all, essentially the way GPUs access memory, and unfiltered access speeds will matter to routines that store data and retrieve it without filtering.

The GTX 570 edges out the 480 here, which is also according to script. AMD's sampling rates, even on its smaller GPUs, are generally higher than Nvidia's, though, as is evident.

The GTX 570 trails the Radeon HD 6870 in our simplest bilinear filtering test, but as the complexity of the filtering method increases and the texture format jumps up to 16 bits per color channel, the 570 rises through the ranks. The results of the FP16 filtering test are telling. At 810MHz, the much less expensive GeForce GTX 460 1GB card has a higher theoretical peak rate than the GTX 570. Yet the 570's measured performance is substantially better, likely due to its greater memory bandwidth and the larger amount (128KB more) of L2 cache associated with its five memory controllers.