Ask any console gamer and they will probably tell you about the eternal rivalry between the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. PC gamers, however, have their own eternal feud, albeit without the headlines: Nvidia vs AMD. Although you may never have heard of it, the enormous amount of innovation and competition that has emerged from this technical argument is nothing less than astonishing.
But if you are not willing to show loyalty to one of these technology animals, it may be difficult to decide what the best graphics card is for your needs. But do not worry, we here at TechRadar have decided to once and for all choose the real winner in the battle for Nvidia vs AMD. (Spoiler: it never ends)
In 2018 Nvidia VS AMD is still a big fight. Almost two years after the release of Nvidia's GTX 10 series, we finally saw that Nvidia announced the Turing-powered GeForce RTX 2080. This new powerhouse of a card will arrive in the shops on September 20th, next to the RTX 2080 Ti, with the RTX 2070 next at a later date. We have not yet had a chance to test these cards, but you can be sure that we will update this article as soon as we get these cards – they are supposedly extremely powerful.
AMD released its AMD Vega graphics card in August 2017. AMD has also unveiled its new 7nm Radeon Instinct GPUs at Computex 2018. Although these are not consumer models, they give us a glimpse of what we can expect from Navi.
No matter how you look at it, neither Nvidia or AMD graphics cards will soon disappear, so that's why we've created this guide – to dive in and find out how they differ. From their exclusive functions to price / performance ratio, even down to their drivers, and you can not forget all those annoying exclusivity offers.
Anyone who searches Reddit or comments on technical websites will tell you that AMD is generally known for its affordability and Nvidia because of its high performance and high prices. But are they actually correct?
Well, there are plenty of benchmarks that convincingly tell us that the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, which is available for about $ 400 (about £ 284, AU $ 500) MSRP, outperforms the $ 650 (about £ 549, AU $ 799 )) Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070. When you measure the effect of cryptocurrency mining on prices, Nvidia has a considerable advantage from a price perspective.
Although cryptocurrency is not really a problem anymore, the new graphics cards that Nvidia has just announced are extremely expensive.
The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti stands at $ 1,199 (£ 1,099, AU $ 1,899), which is almost double the price of the latest generation GTX 1080 Ti. This price hump keeps going, with the RTX 2080 at $ 799 (£ 749, AU $ 1,199) and the RTX 2070 at $ 599 (£ 569, AU $ 899). During the revealing keynote Nvidia claimed that they would start with lower prices, but it remains to be seen if we will ever see those lower prices on the market.
Right now, if you want to save some money, you can buy a last-generation Nvidia card or an AMD Vega or Radeon RX 500 series card – because the prices between the two are still fairly similar, like the power is. At this moment you can find an AMD RX Vega 64 for about $ 599 (£ 550, AU $ 730), about the same price as a GTX 1080.
At the end of the day, the better price will depend on where you are lucky to find a discount.
When you try to build a PC that is more powerful than your archenemies, buying a graphics card is not a matter of price but performance. Packaging the best performance at the lowest cost is perhaps the most relevant factor in boosting GPU sales.
At this moment we are waiting to get the RTX 2080 Ti and the rest of the Nvidia Turing series, with GDDR6 memory and high-quality Tensor and RT cores that should improve performance by using AI. We will experience a major upset in the war with the performance of Nvidia vs AMD, and we will update this section once we have done some hardcore benchmarking.
And although AMD was praised for being the clear champions of value, Nvidia are the clear winners when it comes to price-performance ratio in 2018. And as further proof that Nvidia is now killing the game: AMD has not even been a real competitor of the game. GTX 1080 Ti produced and Nvidia comes with the RTX 2080 which goes even further than the offer of the red team.
To be honest, Vega has only been available for a few months and there was no GTX 1080 Ti equivalent at the launch of Pascal. Nevertheless, the GTX 1080 shows the RX Vega 64 in different areas, such as multi-rendering and NBody calculation, while the RX Vega 64 is better for rendering texture details and complex shading.
In other words, AMD and Nvidia are so close at this point that what is better is more a question of what games you play and with what resolution. As we reported in October, the Vega 64 is a better match for Forza Motorsport 7 at 1080p. At the same time, Nvidia & # 39; s flagship GPU managed to achieve the frame rate advantage in 4K.
This trend continues in the list of cheaper graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia, including the RX Vega 56, which sees higher frame rates than the GTX 1070 Founders Edition in DirectX 12 heavy games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (91 fps versus 89 fps and 40 fps versus 31 fps, respectively), according to PCGamesN.
Throw a Grand Theft Auto V into the mix and we're talking about 64 fps on the RX Vega 56 versus 79 fps of the GTX 1070.
Software, driver & # 39; s and functions
An important advantage of using Nvidia hardware via AMD is the GeForce Experience software from the Green Team.
Because it delivers driver updates and optimizes games, and in addition to broadcasting gameplay and capturing screenshots and videos, as well as directly from the easy-to-use interface, Nvidia sets GeForce Experience as a PC gaming application to govern them all.
Meanwhile, AMD's newly announced Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition wants to catch up with the Nvidia solution. Previously known as Crimson ReLive, the latest update of the AMD graphics application has been reconsidered with all the functions you've come to expect since the user interface heavily overhauled back in July, but with the benefit of more consistent updates of driver updates for each major game release.
From December 2016 you could already be livestream via Radeon Crimson ReLive, but now you can take safety measures to ensure maximum energy efficiency while you are gaming. This includes the ability to underclock memory frequencies, enable cap frame rates on a hardware level and "Enhanced Sync" to reduce frame stuttering while simultaneously controlling screen tears.
Nevertheless, GeForce Experience has the game optimization functions that we all love. So if you do not know which settings are best for your computer in The Witcher 3, Nvidia will take care of the heavy work for you.
AMD users can download and install Raptr & # 39; s Gaming Evolved tool to optimize their gaming experience. However, the add-on is less than ideal, because the audience of the biggest rival can achieve almost anything from GeForce Experience. That includes the use of Nvidia Ansel for taking cool in-game photos with resolutions greater than 63K (16 times that of which a 4K monitor can display).
Nvidia also has a head start when it comes to streaming games, whether it's a different gaming PC with at least a Maxwell-based GPU, and self-reliant tablets and set-top box from the company. Not to mention, Nvidia also has a cloud-based gaming service with which GeForce Now is now available for Windows 10 and MacOS users.
There were rumors that AMD and Nvidia used dark tactics, where game developers were paid & # 39; & # 39; to give preferential treatment to one or the other. If this were the case, it would certainly explain why certain games work better with GeForce images than Radeon and vice versa.
Fortunately, in addition to new technologies such as ray tracing and deep learning super sampling in the new Nvidia Turing cards, these concerns are no longer seen from PC gamers, but they still exist.
After the livestream event Capsaicin & Cream on GDC 2017 we talked with AMD about his strategy in violation of Nvidia. The news that the company would work with Bethesda Softworks to optimize its games for Radeon, Ryzen or both was at least worrying. And it still is.
Back then, the potential for games that worked more smoothly on AMD systems meant that Nvidia could fight back by working with an equally large publisher. Although the latest maneuver has not yet happened, early Wolfenstein II performance comparisons, such as TechEpiphany on YouTube, have shown better performance and lower temps from the AMD Radeon RX 64 when equipped with Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1080.
We do not say that there is a preference for AMD in the technical design decisions of Bethesda, but we are not yet ready to take off our aluminum foil hats.
Of course Bethesda is not the only company that is favoritism to red or green team. If you ever see an AMD or Nvidia splash screen for the title page when you start a game, you can bet that it will run better with that company's hardware.
So, what's better? Neither
There is so much love, and in some cases "dis-love", about both Nvidia and AMD graphics. Ultimately, both companies rely on competition to thrive with each other. Suffice it to say that the debate between Nvidia and AMD requires that you understand that there is a reason why the GPUs of Radeon and GeForce are now so similar in performance.
Every company does its best to keep up with the mindshare of the other, and that is good for us. They actually fight for our money, learn from each other's mistakes and make clear improvements along the way.
It is up to you who wins Nvidia's fierce game against AMD, although we will say this: Nvidia is now unrivaled in the 4K market. If it helps, the RTX 2080 Ti is probably the best choice if you want your PC to keep track of your Ultra HD screen – as long as you can afford it. However, if you have a small budget, Nvidia and AMD graphics cards will be about the same, at least until the lowest Turing cards find their way to the audience.