How to Choose a Graphics Card. How to compare graphics cards

Creative professionals who render 4K video or run visually intense programs will use the same GPUs as gamers. Read about some of the best gaming GPUs in our HP Tech Takes article here.

AMD vs Nvidia: Full Comparison

Computer hobbyists and developers of computer game systems are well aware of the long, ongoing war for dominance on the graphics card market. The two titans caught in battle for decades are Nvidia and AMD, also referred to as the “Green Team” and “Red Team”. Advanced microdevices (AMD) were usually seen as the choice for budget builds, but AMD has had a few moments where new product launches took a temporary advantage over Nvidia’s high-end offerings.

Whether you want to pick a new graphics card or want to learn more about these two companies, the guide below will compare them with the products they currently offer.

AMD vs Nvidia: Side by Side Comparison

Nvidia Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Date of establishing the company april 5, 1993 may 1, 1969
Product categories GPU, mobile graphics, motherboard chipsets, CUDA supercomputing solutions Consumer processors, graphics processors, mobile processors, professional processors, server processors
A flagship graphic product GeForce RTX 3090 Radeon RX 6900 XT
Adaptive synchronization technology G-Sync FreeSync
Current GPU series Nvidia RTX line Radeon 6000 series
Founder Jensen Huang Jerry Sanders
Graphics drivers GeForce Experience, Nvidia Control Panel Radeon adrenaline

AMD vs Nvidia-headerSapphire AMD 380 Dual-X graphics card. Sapphire produces graphics cards with high cooling performance.

  • AMD, despite its appeal to budget builders, is a much more mature company than Nvidia, founded almost 25 years earlier than Nvidia.
  • Graphics cards from both companies are very similar in performance, but Nvidia’s RTX series is much better at ray tracing and ultra-high resolution.
  • Nvidia’s products are mainly graphics processing solutions, while AMD produces a large portion of consumer processors in the computer market along with popular graphics processors.
  • Nvidia GPUs are also used for advanced applications in artificial intelligence and deep learning systems via Nvidia’s CUDA technology.
  • In addition to consumer processors and GPU products, AMD also produces RAM and solid state drives.

You can tell which GPU was recently released by looking at the RX number. If it is taller, the model is newer. Again, we’ll draw your attention to this: with AMD GPUs, a higher number doesn’t mean more power. Rather, it indicates how recently it was released.

Why does your graphics card matter?

For many people, gaming is the most hardware-intensive task you can ask your computer to do. So it’s no surprise that serious gamers spend hours researching the latest GPU technology and frequently update their GPUs frequently. As GPUs become faster, games are designed to take advantage of the extra performance, forcing manufacturers to create even faster GPUs while continuing the cycle.

If you don’t prioritize gaming, you may not care so much about your GPU’s capabilities. That said, professional applications often take advantage of the GPU’s special processing capabilities directly, just in different ways. Examples include video editing where the GPU can be used to speed up processes such as video encoding, 3D rendering, and computer aided design / manufacturing (CAD / CAM) applications such as AutoCAD. All of these programs use the additional processing power of the GPU, although they benefit most from GPUs designed specifically for these applications.

Choosing a GPU is therefore an important part of building, purchasing, or upgrading your computer. As with any PC component, the first question to ask yourself when choosing a graphics card is how will you use it?


The gaming industry has played a key role in the evolution of GPU technology. Today’s PC games are more realistic and complex than ever before, and the rising performance of modern GPUs is both one reason and a response to gamers demanding better looking and more complex games.

Simply put, if you’re building a computer to play games, the GPU will be your number one purchase. Other components can affect performance as well, such as CPU, storage, and RAM, but the GPU has the most direct connection to what you see on the screen while you play.

However, there are many different types of games out there, and not all of them require the most powerful GPU on the market. Therefore, it is important to review the required, recommended, and optimal game specs to ensure you are getting the right graphics card.

Buying the best GPU you can afford is a good way to secure your version in the future and keep it ready to play popular games that have yet to be released. That said, if you know exactly what games you want to play, doing a little research into the ideal GPU to run this title is a great way to start the purchasing process.

Video and professional applications

aMD Radeon Pro wx7100

Those who use their computers for complex tasks such as 3D rendering, game development, and video editing also benefit from faster graphics processors. Advanced applications such as AutoCAD and Adobe Premiere Pro can use graphics processors for faster processing and a faster and more efficient workflow.

Therefore, there is a whole segment of GPUs designed specifically for professionals. These workstation graphics processors are optimized for these applications, and their drivers are certified to be stable and reliable in performing these operations. Professional-grade graphics cards can be incredibly powerful and often more expensive than even high-end gaming GPUs, but since they aren’t specifically designed for gaming tasks, they’re likely not ideal for gaming PCs. Therefore, the most expensive GPU is not always “better”, and it is important to choose a GPU based on how you intend to use it, not just on price.

Integrated vs discrete GPUs

Most modern processors have integrated graphics, which are essentially graphics processors built into the processor itself or otherwise closely related to the processor. These integrated graphics tend to be lower-performance options, providing enough power to run your operating system and run web browsers, email clients, productivity apps, and other routine software, but they don’t do anything more than regular (or older) games. This changes quickly as processors become more powerful, but for now, if you want to play games, a separate (or discrete) GPU is probably your best bet.

Standalone GPUs range from relatively inexpensive, entry-level options to incredibly powerful GPUs that alone can cost well over £ 400,000. You can purchase discrete GPUs as part of off-the-shelf systems, for a PC you build yourself, or to upgrade an older GPU.

When looking for graphics cards, you can choose from two major brands; AMD and NVIDIA. Both manufacturers offer high-quality, high-performance graphics cards.

Step 2: Compare Memory Types, Clock Speeds and Bit Rates

GPU-ready data is stored on dedicated graphics card memory chips called GDDR3 and GDDR5. These chips run at higher clock speeds compared to normal desktop memory.

GDDR5 is newer and faster than GDDR3 as it can move more data at higher speed on the GPU. The data can be sent 4 times per clock cycle, so to make the numbers look bigger, the manufacturer specifies a clock rate four times higher than the real one.

For example, the graphics card I will be using in this build, the 2GB EVGA NVidia GT 740 card is listed as having a 5000MHz memory clock speed (sometimes given as effective clock speed). The actual clock speed is 1250 MHz (5000 MHz / 4), regardless of the value used to compare graphics cards, make sure you use the same value.

More memory is good, but more bandwidth is better. Bandwidth is the amount of data the GPU can access over the memory bus, which is listed as memory throughput on the graphics card. Standard speeds are 64-bit and 128-bit, but higher end cards have much higher bit rates.

All in all, the amount of memory on the card is important, but also look at the type (GDDR3 or GDDR5), the actual memory clock speed, and the memory bit rate (bandwidth – higher is better)

Step 3: Pay attention to the number of CUDA Cores (NVidia) and Shaders (AMD)

The GPU has to work out a way to shade 3D objects on the screen to show how light affects them in order to make them look as realistic as possible. Although NVidia and AMD have different names for these technologies, they essentially perform the same complex processing tasks.

The more CUDA cores or shaders, the better the GPU is at rendering perfect images. This is especially important in games where frames per second (FPS) are important or in graphics-intensive applications.

Are you in the frame? Think of your favorite cartoon, the images are drawn individually with little variation between each image (frame) then these images are quickly assembled in sequence. This “fools” your eyes into thinking you are seeing moving images, in other words animated cartoons. If we reduce the speed, your eyes will see the delay between the moving pictures. The graphics card works the same way – in documents, moving images hardly change, but in games, the speed of these moving images (frame rate) is crucial.

However, there are many different types of games out there, and not all of them require the most powerful GPU on the market. Therefore, it is important to review the required, recommended, and optimal game specs to ensure you are getting the right graphics card.

Best Nvidia Graphics Card under 500$

The recently released Nvidia RTX 3070 sits between the RTX 2080 Super and the RTX 2080 Ti. The performance of the RTX 3070, however, tells a different story as it is much closer and in many tests compares to the RTX 2080 Ti at a much lower price.

At under $ 500, the RTX 3070 comes with 8GB of 1750MHz GDDR6 VRAM with 448GB / s bandwidth.

The RTX 3070 is manufactured in an 8nm process node and its chip clocks are clocked at 1500 MHz and 1725 MHz boost clock. There are many partner cards available that offer a variety of overclocking and cooling to choose from.

The RTX 3070 is equipped with 5,888 shader units (CUDA cores) and has a power of 220W TDP.

Best Nvidia Graphics Card under 400$

While the Nvidia RTX 3060 has surpassed its bigger brother, the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti in terms of performance per dollar, the RTX 3060 Ti is still a great buy for those looking for extra performance over the RTX 3060.

The Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti ranks among the top 2 value-driven GPUs with serious gaming and rendering performance.

It too is built on an 8nm process node but, oddly enough, has 8GB of VRAM – 4GB less than the weaker RTX 3060.

Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti has 4864 CUDA cores and a chip clocked with a base frequency of 1410 MHz and up to 1750 MHz Boost. Most RTX 3060 Ti variants have a TDP of 200W, which means you should make sure your PSU is powerful enough when upgrading from an older generation GPU that used less power.

NVIDIA uses a different categorization system to identify its products. You’ll start with the letter designation. The NVIDIA GT graphics card is made for standard use while the GTX graphics card is designed for high-end gaming.

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In the mid-tier, where most PC gamers want to power their entertainment software, the price is around $ 400. The two competing cards at this tier are the RTX 3060 from Nvidia and the RX 6700 XT from AMD. The AMD card fares better than the Nvidia product, but has a slightly higher price.

Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 37.3

With so many models of desktop graphics cards, it’s impossible to keep up with the various configurations.

This is where the Desktop Graphics Cards Comparing Guide comes in.

It’s designed to be an easy benchmark for those looking to quickly compare the specs of different desktop graphics card models on the market, as well as those that are already obsolete or obsolete.

The comprehensive comparison now covers 858 desktop graphics card models and allows you to easily compare 24 different specifications for each graphics card.

We hope you will find it a useful reference. We’ll be updating this guide regularly, so stay tuned for the latest updates.

Desktop Graphics Cards Comparing Guide

To make it easier to compare the specifications, we have divided them into three sections for your convenience. Just click Split List to access them.

However, if you prefer to compare all the graphics card models for each company in one table, we also have one list that you can access by clicking on the Full List.

Just click on the company and the type of list you prefer.

For mobile and workstation GPUs, please refer to our Mobile GPU Comparison Guide and Workstation Graphics Card Comparison Guide .

The Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Revision History

Updated: OpenGL 4.6 for all nVidia cards from Kepler
Remove: GeForce RTX 2000 from the Rev 2 series

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PSA on power supplies: There are manufacturers who advertise their units with crazy numbers like 2000W, but don’t fall for this marketing trick. This number is often a theoretical outburst. Our advice is to consider options from reputable power supply manufacturers and take into account the power rating.

Don’t Create Bottlenecks

GPU stronger than CPU

If you get a brand new, top-of-the-line graphics card while the rest of your computer’s components are older, there are sure to be some bottlenecks issues. Usually this bottleneck will come from the CPU, but it can also be caused by RAM or your hard drive.

This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to install the GPU and run the latest games, but you will likely run into some stuttering issues. In most cases, the worst-case scenario is that you won’t be able to hit the potential FPS that your new GPU can produce.

Display Ports

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 connectors

While this is less of a problem, it’s still important not to forget your monitor port. Some GPUs offer the ability to use HDMI, DisplayPort, or DVI, but some cards don’t offer that luxury.

You can work around this problem by purchasing an adapter. It will probably work perfectly well, but some PC users have reported problems like input lag and reduced frames per second.

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Alex is a computer science student and a former game designer. This allowed him to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. As a CS student, Aleksandar has very in-depth technical knowledge of computers and also enjoys being up-to-date with new technologies.

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