If you mean in the long term , R300/R350 (9700 Pro time) and HD4000 series / HD 5000 series against Nvidia Fermi. AMD was sort of in a bad place when the Nvidia 8000 series was out.
Articles titled similar to :
* ATI Radeon 9700 Pro - Delivering as Promised (Anandtech)
* HardOCP 9700 Pro review
The ATi Radeon 9700 Pro is the best video card we have ever laid our hands on. ATi is going to be first to market with some very impressive technology and the gamers are sure to take notice. I think the benchmarks at 4XAA/16XAF speak for themselves. The image quality is nothing less than beautiful in both 2D and 3D.
* The King is dead! Long live the King! How's this for a plot-twist? The challenger Radeon - a real "Performeron" - has actually done it and usurped the throne from the former king! ATi has earned itself not only the performance crown in gaming environments, but also that of the technology leader!
- Toms hardware, 9700 Pro review
* Review: ATi Radeon 9700 Pro (HEXUS)
If you were to ask me, a casual gamer, what it is that I look for in a high-end graphics card, phrases such as "fantastic 2D quality", "stability", "future-proofing", "outstanding performance" would spring to mind. On these counts, and several more, the Radeon 9700 Pro delivers, and delivers in spades.
The on-line hardware community knew that the R9700 would be good, I'm pretty sure they're surprised just how good it is. Our overclocking efforts topped-out at around 355MHz core. We've seen reports of other branded Radeon 9700s hitting 400MHz core with slightly enhanced cooling. I'm pretty sure we'll see a R9700 SE in the not too distant future, especially as the VPU can take the faster DDR-II memory. Anyone for a 450MHz core / 1GHz memory R9700 ?.
ATi have perhaps taken a leaf from NVIDIA's book by contracting out production to a number of other companies. This should ensure healthy competition amongst manufacturers and keep prices relatively low. I've already seen the ATi, Sapphire, Powercolor, and Connect3D brands on sale in the U.K.
I've sung the praises of the R9700, as it's exceeded my expectations. I thought I was quite happy with a Ti 4600 until I used a R9700. The Ti 4600 now makes for a nice paperweight.
* ATI's Radeon 9600 Pro - Another Win for ATI (Anandtech)
* The Radeon HD 4850 & 4870: AMD Wins at $199 and $299 (Anandtech)
* AMD Radeon HD 4670: Ruling from Top to Bottom (Anandtech)
* " AMD definitely surprised me, and pretty much everybody else with their new products. I neither expected such a big performance increase, nor many of the other new features that AMD has put in their card." - HD5870 review at Techpowerup
*"AMD has done it again. After delivering an amazing product in the HD 5870 last week, this week they rolled out an even better one in HD 5850. While the card does offer about 15% less performance, it is also 40% cheaper." - Techpowerup
When NVidia had Fermi "toasters" and Kepler was way weaker compute-wise except for the Titan GK110, AMD had a decent shot. It's gone downhill since Maxwell since Hawaii was much more power , Tonga was more or less Tahiti refined, Fury (Fiji) had low amounts of VRAM and was power hungry as well. Maxwell had not much FP64 compute to speak of which is where a lot of power savings came from.
Polaris was hurt by the mining boom but it's probably AMD's most competitive chip. With Pascal the async compute was made much stronger so AMD's compute advantage and DX12 advantage was diminished but Polaris competed with GTX 1060 quite well (at least up until the RX 590 pricing disaster).
If Nvidia wanted to eek out more performance per watt without going to 7nm they could, it's been done in the mobile space where a 2944 CUDA RTX 2080 Mobile part is rated 150W TDP at 1590 Boost clock with 1380MHz base ; the RTX 2080 Max-Q fits into a 80W power envelope with 1095MHz boost clock and 735MHz base clock but the performance is gimped a lot.