Nvidia vs AMD graphics cards: which ones to buy?

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There are only two players in the graphics card business: Nvidia vs AMD. But which GPU to buy? Until Intel rolls out its Xe cards in the future, you have a choice between RTX and GTX cards from Nvidia and Radeon or RX cards from AMD. Sure, integrated graphics (small GPUs that are part of a CPU package) have come a long way, but nothing beats the pixel pushing power of a complementary GPU if you want the highest frame rates or resolutions. higher for your PC games. They don’t have to be extremely expensive either, although they often are. For most of the best gaming PCs, these will be the most expensive component.

Before we resolve the conflict between Nvidia and AMD graphics cards, let’s take a look at what GPU actually is and what it does for a gaming version. A GPU differs from a CPU in that it is. an extremely parallel processor that does little. Your CPU can have eight cores, but those cores can be programmed to do almost anything. Your graphics card’s main processor, on the other hand, may have over 1,000 cores, but those cores have limited programmability and are tuned only to color and texture pixels, shade vertices and manipulate triangles, then convert that mess to something that can be displayed on a screen.

Each manufacturer offers a range of base, mid-range, and high-end cards, so let’s take a look at what is out there. If you need more advice, check out our best guide to graphics cards.

Should you buy Nvidia?

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Team Green has just refreshed its lineup with a new set of Super cards that sell for the same price as the cards they replace but offer improved performance. The current Nvidia lineup has RTX model numbers that start with 20: 2060, 2070, and 2080. These 20 cards are the latest in technology and offer support for ray tracing and DLSS, a smart way to deep learning. to scale images which offers a little more resolution with less impact on performance. There are also cheaper GTX 16 series cards that have ray tracing and DLSS intelligence removed, but work great in games that don’t require such things.

Disregarding the RTX Titan, as we’re not assuming our readers are millionaires, the top-of-the-line Nvidia card is the RTX 2080Ti, which has yet to receive an upgraded Super version. However, there are rumors that one of them is coming, but it didn’t have much effect on the price of the Ti. It’s been an expensive card since launch, and it’s not even capable of running something like Red Dead Redemption 2 at 4K, 60fps, Ultra settings. However, it is the most capable consumer graphics card on the market and is perfect for high-end PCs where price is not an issue.

(Image credit: MSI)

Under the 80 cards is the RTX 2070, which has a Super variant. The 70 cards have always been Nvidia’s best value for money, and the original RTX 2070 is currently a great value, if you can find one. If you’re playing at 1080p, you’ll be delighted with its performance, and it’s no slouch in the lower parts of 4K gaming, either. We recommend this one over the more expensive / powerful RTX 2080 / Super because it is very good value for money.

There’s an RTX 2060 as well, but even though this card gets you ray tracing cores, it’s not exactly beefy enough to use them in any meaningful way – we still think you should go big or go home.

Moving down to the GTX 16 series we find the GTX 1660 Ti, which gives you 6GB of on-board memory and superb 1080p performance for half the price of the RTX 2070. If you can do without the new ray-tracing technology / DLSS, then this is a great way to get amazing refresh rates in your games.

Should you go with AMD?

(Image credit: AMD)

Team Red is currently roaming Intel in processor wars, but its graphics hardware often comes in second to Nvidia’s, and it currently has no response to the RTX 2080Ti. That may not be true for very long, however, as there are new high-end cards on the horizon. AMD’s offerings don’t currently have toys like ray tracing, but since these are only applied in certain games, and they work fine without them, their importance is questionable. For now, however, those are AMD’s offerings.

The top chip is the RX 5700 XT, which has numbers similar to Nvidia cards in terms of number of cores and memory bandwidth, and contains 8 GB of on-board memory. This is a new architecture for AMD, released this year, and it runs in frame rates not too far removed from the RTX 2070 Super, depending on the game, both at 1080p and 1440p. It does better in titles that use the DirectX 12 API, which is growing in number.

(Image credit: AMD)

Its little brother is the RX 5700, which gives up a bit the number of cores but nothing in VRAM. It’s a cheaper, and cheaper, card than the XT, but numbers around the RTX 2060 Super or the original RTX 2070 at 1080p and 1440p, while still handling 30fps in Battlefield 5 at Ultra quality at 4K. However, many will not be happy with this 4K performance, and the higher resolution is best left to more capable cards.

If you can still find one, the Radeon VII, with its 16GB of exotic HBM2 memory, is an older card that still holds its own. It was designed to take on the RTX 2080, and largely succeeds – it’s certainly faster than an RTX 2070, but SUPER cards muddy the waters here. In Battlefield 5 at 1440p, you can expect 90fps on Ultra, something that when launched you would need an RTX 2080Ti to beat.

Nvidia vs AMD: which is better?

No graphics card manufacturer is inherently better than another. What matters is getting the performance and features you want at an affordable price. If being on the cutting edge of technology is important to you, then right now you have only one choice: an Nvidia RTX card. If the midrange value is more to your taste, then there’s a treat on offer. Both manufacturers are pushing more cards into this market than you can wave on a power connector, which means now is a great time to be a buyer.


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