While getting a new computer for your home or office, you have to consider checking a lot of components and ensure that you are getting the right ones. This becomes highly important especially when you want to build a PC for gaming or other heavy rendering uses. One such computer component that plays an important role regarding the performance of these high end computers is the graphics card.
As per the name, the graphics card of your computer is needed for playing games, 3D designing, encoding and decoding videos, and much more. But while picking a graphics card, you only have AMD and Nvidia graphics cards which makes choosing the right one a bit confusing. Thus, to help you out, here are all of the major differences between AMD and Nvidia graphics cards allowing you to easily pick the right one for you.
What is AMD?
Even though AMD is primarily a CPU manufacturer and a major competitor of Intel, AMD also makes graphics cards under its Radeon lineup of GPUs. Since AMD has been making processors for a very long time, it knows quite a lot about GPUs as well. Although, unlike Nvidia, AMD primarily focuses on consumer grade graphics cards with its Radeon lineup of computer GPUs.
What is Nvidia?
Nvidia is much larger compared to AMD Radeon and has been making graphics cards and other related computing cards for a pretty long time. You can find various consumer grade graphics card series from Nvidia including but not limited to GT, MX, GTX, and RTX graphics cards. And not only does Nvidia offer consumer grade GPUs, but you can also find professional uses. This includes server devices, AI boards, self driving cars, and much more making Nvidia a much larger brand of graphics cards compared to AMD.
Supported Software Technologies
Before taking a look at the hardware specifications and performance numbers offered by various AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, you should also know about their software technologies. Such software technologies or features can make your overall experience quite different. This primarily includes the following features offered by most graphics cards:
Variable Refresh Rate
In case if you are familiar with gaming and gaming monitors, then you must have heard about variable refresh rate technology in the past. With this feature, your monitor can actively change its refresh rate in a way that it is the same as your current frame rate. This makes your gameplay much smoother while preventing any screen tearing issues. Even though both AMD’s Freesync and Nvidia’s Gsync variable refresh rate technologies offer almost similar performance. Although, when you are talking about compatible monitors, a larger number of monitors work with AMD Freesync in comparison with Nvidia Gsync monitors.
With the increasing popularity of online content platforms like YouTube and Twitch, more and more people are getting into online content creation. Thus, both AMD and Nvidia offer content creation related features. This includes screen recording, encoding and decoding algorithms, and much more. In this case, Nvidia is much better thanks to its recording options, Nvidia Broadcast tools including voice improvements, background remover, streaming options, better compatibility with video editing tools, and much more.
Ray Tracing and DLSS
Even though only the newer AMD 6000 series, Nvidia 2000 series, and Nvidia 3000 series cards support these, you should still consider them if you want the best gaming experience. With graphics cards that support ray tracing, you get much realistic and life-like lighting effects in your game. Talking about DLSS or DLSS 2.0, it is Nvidia’s upscaling technology that offers much higher frame rates since the game runs at a lower resolution and then upscaled in a way that it is almost impossible to tell that it is upscaled.
Not only does AMD lack the support for DLSS, but its ray tracing performance is also much lower than comparable Nvidia’s graphics cards.
Graphics Card Comparisons
Moving over to gaming performance differences and prices of the various graphics cards available out there, you can get an idea of the differences between AMD and Nvidia graphics cards as stated here:
Entry Level Graphics Cards
Since both AMD and Nvidia have not launched any budget or entry level options for quite some time now, they are both similar in terms of performance as well as pricing. Some of the viable options include GTX 1650 Super and GTX 1660 Super from Nvidia and RX 580 and RX 590 from AMD.
Mid Tier Graphics Cards
As for slightly more expensive mid tier graphics cards, you can consider the Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti if you want to enjoy all of the various software features offered by Nvidia. The Nvidia RTX 3070 and AMD RX 6800 graphics cards are even more powerful where the AMD one is slightly more expensive for slightly better performance numbers in terms of raw gaming performance.
High End Graphics Cards
For the best performance without paying a very high premium, you can consider getting either the Nvidia RTX 3080 or the AMD RX 6800 XT that are great for high end 4K gaming. Even though the AMD RX 6800 XT offers slightly better performance at a very similar price tag, the RTX 3080 is much better when it comes to ray tracing performance in your games.
Enthusiast Graphics Cards
If you do not have any budget restrictions, then the AMD RX 6900 XT and the Nvidia RTX 3090 can be a great pick for the best possible gaming performance. This is where AMD pulls ahead and offers the same performance numbers at a much lower price tag. But for most computer buyers, the cheaper RTX 3080 and RX 6800 XT are more viable options.
Which Comes out on Top?
Based on all these factors, you can consider AMD graphics cards if you are looking for a better value for money. Although, if you do not have any issues in paying slightly more for much better software features, then Nvidia graphics cards are just for you. Even though you should first check the specific performance numbers of the cards available in your budget, Nvidia is going to be the better option for most buyers.
There is a huge hole in the market currently. I hope in 2021 both nvidia and ATI actually decide to fill it with some realistically decent budget cards, currently a 2015 RX580 or GT1060 don’t cut it.