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See also: The global computer chip shortage explained: What it means for you and your tech

Current NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 GPU offerings

Coming to the GPUs you can currently buy in the series, there are five desktop options. At the top of the line is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090, the most powerful consumer GPU NVIDIA currently sells. It packs in a whopping 10,496 NVIDIA CUDA cores, and 24 GB of GDDR6X memory. It’s for the enthusiast market, and a bit of an overkill, with the price-to-performance ratio not being the best you can get from NVIDIA.

That, however, isn’t the case with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 is the best graphics card you can buy right now for your high-end 4K gaming system. It comes with 8,704 CUDA cores and 10 GB of GDDR6X memory. The RTX 3080 offers the best value proposition in the series, making it our NVIDIA GPU guide recommendation.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series GPUs


NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 was the first new series of GPUs from NVIDIA after a while. It introduced the RTX badging, and with it the ray tracing capabilities. While the series was a bit weak on the ray tracing performance as most first-generation efforts are, it had great performance otherwise. It came with the older Turing architecture.

The RTX 20 series was also the first time NVIDIA introduced a bunch of other features like DLSS. While first introduced in 2023, the RTX 20 lineup is still relevant today due to the silicon shortage that is affecting the industry. It also got a refresh with the Super variants in 2023. Due to the price gouging, buying these GPUs new might not be the best idea, unless you’re getting aggressively reasonable pricing.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 GPU offerings

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series mostly targeted the high-end and upper mid-range of the GPU market. The main RTX 20 series has seven total models across three sub-series. The top-of-the-line model in the series is the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. While NVIDIA didn’t have any 90-series cards for this generation, the RTX 2080 Ti was pretty much the predecessor to RTX 3090. The card packs in 4,352 CUDA cores coupled with 11 GB GDDR6 memory. NVIDIA also had a Titan RTX GPU using the same Turing architecture, for AI computing and data science applications.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16 series GPUs


The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 16 series is actually an interesting notch in NVIDIA’s belt. Team green introduced this series to fill out the lower-mid-range that the RTX 20 series lacked. It uses the same Turing architecture and has a total of eight GPU SKUs under two sub-series. NVIDIA marketed it parallel to the RTX 20 series, making it a bit of a non-RTX complement to it.

The GTX 16 series has come to be one of the most popular series from NVIDIA. Even today, the series has the only non-RTX GPUs that have a decent price-to-performance ratio. These have also been very popular in mid-range gaming laptops. Even today, the GTX 16 series GPUs have some of the best availability and relatively better pricing in comparison to other NVIDIA offerings.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series GPUs


NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series is remembered as the point where its GPU offerings really matured. Despite being several years old at this point, these GPUs are still quite relevant and the performance holds up. The 10 series was an expansive lineup, with several GPUs under it. The series used the Pascal architecture and had cards from the GT 1010 to the GTX 1080 Ti and the enthusiast-grade Titan Xp.

Some of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 10 series cards are still available in the market. The lower-end variants like the GT 1030, GTX 1050, and GTX 1050 Ti are still selling quite well. The GTX 1050 Ti is actually one of the GPUs that NVIDIA has brought back into production to try and meet the demand for more affordable GPUs — something that newer NVIDIA GPU lineups lack. The GTX 1050 Ti is thus our NVIDIA GPU guide recommendation for this series.

See also: GPU vs CPU: What’s the difference?

See also: What is an SoC? Everything you need to know about smartphone chipsets

The future of NVIDIA GPUs

NVIDIA is the industry leader in GPUs and currently offers some of the best GPUs money can buy. However, it is facing a few issues that it needs to deal with to stay on top. First of all, is the global silicon shortage. While it doesn’t only affect NVIDIA, it certainly has made an example out of the brand. NVIDIA GPUs are nearly impossible to get now, and even if you do manage to grab one, you will likely be overpaying for it.

NVIDIA has failed to counter the scalping and price gouging. It did introduce the anti-mining lock with the RTX 3060 but then managed to accidentally remove it with a simple beta driver. With lukewarm attempts like this, the woes of GPU buyers are unlikely to end so soon.

On the other hand, NVIDIA’s only true competitor in the GPU space, AMD, is catching up. Its latest Radeon GPUs get closer to NVIDIA offerings in performance than they ever have. NVIDIA will have to ramp up its efforts to make sure it doesn’t lose the crown. Its pending acquisition of Arm could also help it compete with Apple Silicon.

As far as the next generation of NVIDIA GPUs is concerned, we could see it drop sometime in 2023. It will bring in important improvements, no doubt. However, they’re just as likely to be in short supply. So for now, if you can grab an RTX 30 GPU at a price that is close to its intended retail price, go for it.

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What Is Nvidia Reflex And Should You Enable It?

Nvidia Reflex is a service available to all users of Nvidia graphics cards, but it shines most when paired between an Nvidia 3000 series card and a G-Sync monitor. If you’re trying to give yourself just that little bit extra edge in competitive games, Nvidia Reflex should be on your radar.

Table of Contents

What Is Nvidia Reflex?

Nvidia Reflex is a low latency tool that claims to lower rendering lag by as much as 80%. It’s most effective in first-person shooters like Fortnite or Call of Duty, where smoother controls and more responsive gameplay make a dramatic difference. It can also make a difference if you’re playing competitive fighting games online, such as Guilty Gear Strive.

Nvidia Reflex works by optimizing both the GPU and the game itself, combining the settings of both to provide you optimal performance. Note that this doesn’t mean the highest possible graphics. While Nvidia has tools to help you squeeze out the best frame rates, Reflex works to reduce your latency to the point that it’s nearly undetectable.

Games operate with what is called a render queue. This is a bit of programming that tells the game which objects need to be rendered first. In competitive games, the cursor doesn’t always take priority – but you need your crosshairs to move smoothly across the screen. Combined with low input lag and a high refresh rate, smooth rendering of crosshairs means you can pull off pinpoint shots. 

Nvidia Reflex Requirements

However, if you don’t have the budget to grab higher-end components at the moment (and who does, given the sky-high prices of PC parts?), your existing system will still perform just that much better with Reflex enabled than not.

These are the only requirements you need:

Nvidia GTX 900 series or higher

A game that works with Reflex

With that in mind, if you have a high-end gaming setup, Nvidia Reflex – combined with a high refresh rate monitor – can lead to marked improvements in how games look. There is a difference in quality between 30 frames per second and 120 frames per second. If your computer is capable of rendering more FPS, consider investing in a monitor to match. 

Unfortunately, Nvidia Reflex won’t work with AMD GPUs. AMD users aren’t without options, though. Turning on FreeSync within your monitor settings can yield improved performance. 

Should You Enable Nvidia Reflex?


Take the time to turn on Nvidia Reflex if your GPU and the game supports it. You can’t really go wrong with it. Even if you don’t play competitively, no one enjoys when a game isn’t responding as it should. Reflex improves overall system performance. 

What Games Work With Reflex?

This list is not comprehensive, but it does give you an idea of the most popular current titles that can work with Nvidia Reflex.

Apex Legends

Battlefield 2042

Bright Memory Infinite

CoD: Black Ops Cold War

CoD: Modern Warfare

CoD: Warzone

CoD: Vanguard

CrossFire HD



Destiny 2


Escape From Tarkov

Forged In Shadow Torch




Rainbow Six: Siege





War Thunder

How to Enable Nvidia Reflex

You enable Nvidia Reflex on a game-by-game basis, usually through the game’s graphical settings. While each title is different, you can typically turn on the setting through the options menu. 

For example, Fortnite makes it easy to enable Nvidia Reflex.

Launch Fortnite.

Select the three bars in the top-right corner and then select the gear icon on the left side.

Select Settings and scroll down to the Advanced Graphics subheading.

Switch Nvidia Reflex Low Latency to On + Boost and then press A to apply.

If you can’t turn on Nvidia Reflex in-game, there are other things you can do to reduce latency.

Increase Your Mouse’ Polling Rate

The polling rate is the frequency with which your system requests information from a device. A higher polling rate means less latency and more responsiveness. However, it can result in less battery life with a wireless mouse versus a wired mouse.

You can also invest in a wired mouse to reduce latency and reduce the chance of signal interference from other devices. A compatible gaming mouse plays almost as large a role in your gameplay and performance as your graphical settings.

Turn On Ultra Low Latency Mode

There is an option within your Nvidia driver that allows you to enable low latency mode. 

Open Nvidia Control Panel. 

Select Low Latency Mode and select Ultra from the drop-down box.

Select Apply.

If you are experiencing latency in games, try turning on Low Latency Mode and enabling Nvidia Reflex whenever possible. Your gaming experience will be better and more fluid, and you might even perform better in the game than you usually do. 

How To Uninstall Amd Drivers And Install Nvidia Drivers

How to uninstall AMD drivers and install NVIDIA drivers




If you switched to a new GPU, uninstall the AMD drivers and install NVIDIA ones in their place.

There are different ways to do it, either by using Device Manager or through third-party software.

Besides uninstalling the older drivers, you need to get rid of some other files as well.

For the procedure to work, make sure the newest graphics card has the latest firmware version. 



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Graphics cards are the deciding factor in the gaming and design industry. Their performance dictates how many pixels we see on our screens and the resolution.

When it comes to gaming, we always want the most frames and the highest settings to get fully immersed in the awesome world of the games we play.

Now, when we talk about graphic design, a powerful GPU will render models and actions faster and smoother, which will result in a shorter time for testing and ultimately, less time spent working.

All in all, a high-end GPU will make wonders. But what GPU do we really need? Is it an AMD card, or an NVIDIA one?

The answer varies, but lately, NVIDIA gained so much ground over AMD it’s not even funny. At the moment, the NVIDIA RTX series is the most stable and the beefiest GPU on the market.

As a result, many AMD users decided to switch to NVIDIA due to more stable drivers, no compatibility issues, and overall a huge performance leap.

Should I uninstall NVIDIA drivers before installing AMD?

Changing graphics cards might seem complicated, but it is actually as simple as changing a lightbulb. You need to take out the older GPU from the motherboard and replace it with the newer one.

This seemed pretty simple, right? Well, there’s a small catch. Since the latest technologies utilize lots of software to optimize the processes, they have many specific programs running in the background.

So, if you’re asking yourself Do I need to uninstall NVIDIA drivers before installing AMD, or vice versa, the answer is no. You can install them after, and this goes for all the other software from the previous GPU.

In this article, we’ll show you exactly what to do after installing a brand new GPU into your PC. It’s pretty simple, and if you follow our steps thoroughly there shouldn’t be any problem.

How do I switch from AMD to NVIDIA? 1. Uninstall the old GPU drivers

Uninstall drivers using the Device Manager

If you keep asking yourself the following question: Should I uninstall AMD drivers before installing NVIDIA ones? The short answer is definitely yes.

Fortunately, Windows gives you a way to manually uninstall the drivers. All you have to do is go to the Device Manager and uninstall the older drivers.

However, this does not get rid of the other files tied to the older GPU that is still running in the background. They need to be removed because they can cause crashes and stability issues.

Also, make sure that the NVIDIA driver is compatible with your Windows version or you will be back to square one.

Uninstall drivers using a specialized tool

Expert tip:

The program we have in mind is pretty straightforward, and it works for all GPU manufacturers. Additionally, it can also uninstall audio drivers, which suffer from the same problem when you change brands.

Now that we’ve shown you how to uninstall the previous drivers and the files related to the old GPU, you need to learn how to install and update your newest drivers as well.

⇒ Get Display Driver Uninstaller

Update the drivers manually

The days of having to use CDs to install the GPU drivers are long gone. Nowadays, Windows 10 will make sure you can use your card right away, without haveing to install the driver yourself.

Once you install your newest GPU to your motherboard, your Windows will automatically install the default driver for it, so don’t worry about not having any video signal or not being able to use your PC, since it won’t be the case.

Even if you don’t have to install the drivers from scratch, You do need to update them to the latest version, since the default firmware driver is usually there to help the hard work so you can download the latest ones.

What you need to do next is simply use the Device Manager to update them to the latest version, thus making sure that your GPU uses its full potential.

Update your drivers with a specialized software

Device Manager is not the best way to keep everything up to date on your computer, so we suggest seeking other ways to do it.

One simpler and more secure method of updating your drivers is using specialized software to do it automatically for you.

The tool will periodically scan your hardware, including the GPU, for the newest available drivers, and it will install them accordingly. Its database gets updated constantly with the newest driver versions.

⇒ Get Outbyte Driver Updater

That’s about it for this article. We hope we managed to give an honest answer to you if you were wondering if it is necessary to uninstall AMD drivers before installing NVIDIA ones.

Since you’re not here to settle with less than what your computer is capable of, don’t hesitate to take a closer look at this guide on how to use AMD and NVIDIA GPUs in one PC.

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How The Nvidia Shield Tv Holds Up As A Game Console

As a pure gaming machine, the new Nvidia Shield TV doesn’t have much in common with other consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. It can’t compete on computing muscle, and can’t natively run many new releases.

Just don’t expect GameStream to fully replace native PC play. I’ve used GameStream for years on Nvidia’s Shield Portable and first-generation Shield TV, and while the experience is passable overall, it does introduce a small fraction of a second of input lag, even under the best network conditions. The difference is most noticeable with mouse-and-keyboard input or with shooters that require pinpoint accuracy, and even an ethernet connection on both ends doesn’t completely eliminate latency. Stuttering also becomes a problem if your Shield isn’t getting ideal Wi-Fi reception, so an area that works fine for streaming video might still be troublesome for GameStream.

GameStream also supports UltraHD streaming. So if you have a 4K or 4K HDR television, a supported graphics card (GeForce GTX 10-series for HDR, many more for 4K ), and strong enough network conditions, you might get a better picture than on the ancient 1080p monitor connected to your desktop.

Although GameStream officially supports just a subset of PC games—they’ll appear in Shield’s GameStream menu, and on the Shield home screen once you’ve played them—there’s technically no limit to what you can run. Launching Steam Big Picture on Shield gives access to your entire Steam catalog, and you can add launch shortcuts for any other game through GeForce Experience, Nvidia’s companion software for PCs.

As with Nvidia’s Shield Portable and Shield Tablet , the Shield TV supports GameStream, which lets you stream games over Wi-Fi or ethernet from a GeForce-powered PC. This lets you play your existing PC game collection on the TV without having to buy another computer.

None of these offerings are strong enough on their own, but combined with everything else the Shield does as a media streamer, they could add up to a compelling console alternative. Let’s take a deeper look at the Nvidia Shield TV’s gaming chops.

Still, the Shield has other virtues, aside from being smaller and cheaper than a proper game console. For PC gamers, it’s a way to access those games in the living room through in-home streaming. For people who want high-quality games without the overhead of a proper console, the Shield can stream them through its GeForce Now cloud gaming service. And when the vagaries of remote game streaming won’t do, the Shield has a sizeable selection of downloadable games, including modern indies and some older console classics.

Shield isn’t the only option for PC-to-TV game streaming. You can also connect a $50 Steam Link or a low-cost PC and use Steam in-home streaming, which supports both Nvidia and AMD graphics cards. (And maybe someday, Microsoft will get around to adding PC-to-Xbox streaming in Windows 10.)

The argument for Shield is that it’s an all-in-one solution for gaming and streaming video, and unlike Steam Link it includes a wireless game controller, which is much improved over the first-generation Shield. If you’re considering a Steam Link, Steam Controller, and Roku or Fire TV, you might as well roll them into one package for about the same price.

Games in the cloud

For folks who don’t own a gaming PC, the Shield tries to fill the void with GeForce Now, which streams games from Nvidia’s remote servers. An $8 per month subscription gets you a selection of back-catalog games, and you can also buy newer games a la carte.

To Nvidia’s credit, GeForce Now has made strides since the service launched in October 2023. The catalog continues to grow, the platform now supports multiplayer, and the server-side processors have become powerful enough to supply 1080p, 60fps gaming across the board. Nvidia has also enlisted Ubisoft as a partner, so in the coming months, certain purchases through Uplay will sync to GeForce Now, and vice versa. (It’s unclear whether this crossover support will apply to games purchased on Steam and activated on Uplay.)

IDG / Jared Newman

With GeForce Now, $8 per month gets you a Netflix-style grab bag of streaming games, but you can purchase others a la carte.

Still, the Venn diagram of potential GeForce Now users seems slim. Much like GameStream, the GeForce Now experience is passable, but not on par with local play, and the remote servers are even more susceptible to connection issues. Some major publishers are also still absent from the platform, including Activision, Electronic Arts, and Bethesda.

Worst of all, GeForce Now is still siloed from other devices and gaming platforms. It’s not available on PCs, phones, or other TV devices—the upcoming PC and Mac version of GeForce Now is a completely separate entity—and while GeForce Now purchases include download keys for Steam or GOG, save progress does not transfer between platforms.

While GeForce Now could appeal to people who bought Shield for other reasons and might be compelled to play the occasional game or two, if you’re at all serious about gaming, you’re better off with a PC or console.

Going the local route

Perhaps the strongest argument for the Nvidia Shield TV as a gaming machine is the selection of games you can actually download. While the Shield lacks the power of a proper game console, it holds its own as a platform for cool indie games.

IDG / Jared Newman

The Shield’s downloadable game selection easily beats other streaming boxes.

Compared to other streaming devices, like Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV, Nvidia has gone above and beyond the standard fare of free-to-play mobile ports. Games like The Witness, Titan Souls, Hotline Miami, GoNNER, Olli Olli, Mercenary Kings, Octodad, Not a Hero, Super Meat Boy, and The Talos Principle aren’t just mindless time wasters. These are well-crafted games with depth, many of which are otherwise only available on pricier PCs and consoles.

The Shield isn’t completely devoid of mainstream fare, either. It’s powerful enough to handle some games from the previous console generation, including Borderlands 2, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Portal, Half-Life 2, and Resident Evil: 5. Unfortunately, there aren’t many of these games, and their visual quality doesn’t quite hold up to their original console versions. If your primary goal is to revel in last-gen gaming, consider picking up an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 on the cheap.

IDG / Jared Newman

Resident Evil 5 on Xbox 360 (left) vs. Shield (right). Notice the loss of shadows next to the posts.

All of these games, by the way, are distributed through the Google Play Store, where you can also find a broader selection of casual games. But many of the Shield’s best games will only run on Shield devices (and in some cases, only on Shield TV).

The console for streamers

The common thread with these gaming features is that none of them are enough to justify purchasing the Shield over a dedicated game console. But in tandem with everything Shield does as a media player, the gaming features start to make sense.

After all, the Shield has a better selection of streaming video apps than any console on the market today. It also has some interesting perks for power users, such as the ability to run a Plex server, roll your own over-the-air DVR, or build your dream media center with Kodi. (The ethical murkiness of Kodi plugins, by the way, pair nicely with Shield’s ability to run classic console emulators.) And in the coming months the Shield will get some serious connected home smarts with SmartThings integration and Google Assistant.

While the Nvidia Shield TV is not a master of all trades, the hodgepodge of gaming and streaming features has an alluring way of coming together. If you can find that at least a few of these features resonate, this could be the console for you.

Nvidia Rtx 4060 Ti Release Date Speculation, Latest News, Leaks, And Rumors

Last Updated on May 24, 2023

Nvidia’s 40 series has seen some of the most impressive graphics cards to date, and if you’re like us, you’re itching to know when the RTX 4060 Ti’s release date will be.

The rumour mill is certainly spinning on the RTX 4060 Ti, and the leaks do seem to be pouring in as of late. Here, we’ll take a closer look at what we know so far, and make our own predictions on when we can expect it to release, and what we could expect to see in terms of specs, and pricing too.

Lets turn our attention to previous release patterns, and upcoming release date predictions, to see if we can make an educated prediction on when to expect the GPU.

RTX 4090 – released October 12, 2023

RTX 4080 – released November 16, 2023

RTX 4070 – released April 13, 2023

RTX 4050 – rumoured release June, 2023

The release date patterns in all honesty don’t tell us much, however, there are a number of rumours that the card could be released sooner rather than later. The RTX 4060 Ti release date

One such rumour comes from leaker MEGAsizeGPU, who claims the 4060 Ti release date will be ‘end of May’. However, what are they basing this off?

via @MEGAsizeGPU

Well, reportedly, what appears to be a template used for marketing was shared by the leaker. We think this release date prediction is likely based on the assumption that if the Nvidia team is receiving these templates, they will be preparing for the marketing campaign and subsequent launch. Since this was shared in March, we’d say a couple of months would sound like sufficient time to prepare for a late May launch.

So now we have a release date estimate, are there any other leaks and rumours that can tell us more about the card itself?

Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti leaks and rumors

Here we’ll break down everything from price to specs, and question how credible the rumours are themselves. Remember, nothing is confirmed until Nvidia officially announces the card, but these rumours can point us in the right direction…

Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti specs rumors

Again, MEGAsizeGPU, shared what appears to be an image of the RTX 4060 ti GPU itself. Visually, it is marked with AD106-350, which is said to be a variant that features 4352 CUDA cores, and 8GB of GDDR6 across a 128-bit memory bus.

According to reports, the card also features 32 ray tracing acceleration cores, and its power draw is rated at 160 W maximum.

While this doesn’t sound too farfetched, again, these images could be doctored. As we approach the rumoured release date, we should get confirmation, however.

Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti price rumors

The rumoured price of the RTX 4060 ti has gone through a few over the past months. The rumours come from the same source, RedGamingTech, who first claimed the card would be $450, and has since claimed it will be lower – coming in at $399.

The 3060 ti is marketed as a mid-range option for most, so this pricing could well be ‘on the money’. Again, if the release date is true, we will likely get pricing up to 3 weeks ahead of release – so keep your eyes peeled around early May for more information.

Nvidia RTX 4060 Ti – final thoughts

The RTX 4060 Ti may be one of the most popular cards to date, offering solid performance at a reasonable price point. At this stage, we may be looking at a late May release date, potentially followed swiftly by an RTX 4050.

That being said, there are options-a-plenty at the moment with the likes of the RTX 4090 and RTX 4070 Ti, both of which are seriously impressive cards.

We’ll be updating this page with all the latest leaks, rumours, and news around the RTX 4060 Ti, so be sure to check back in with us again soon.

Now Read: Where to buy RTX 4060 Ti and expected retailers

Graphics Card Buyer’s Guide 2023: What To Look For When Buying A Gpu

If you’re looking to build or buy a powerful gaming rig, you will need to pay close attention to the graphics card. Buying a GPU can be challenging, as there is much to consider, from the type of the monitor to the size of your chassis. It doesn’t need to be that tough, however, as if you know your budget, PC requirements and performance goals, you’re close to finding the perfect graphics card for your needs. Our graphics card buying guide will help you discover what to look for when buying a GPU.

Good to know: after selecting the correct graphics card, read through these other considerations for building a gaming PC.

Where’s the Value: NVIDIA vs. AMD

Today, the GPU market is saturated with dozens of viable graphics card options from various AIB (Add-in-Board) companies, but only three companies make the GPU chips that power these cards: NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel. While Intel has managed to release some offerings in the low- and mid-range segments, it still has a long way to go before becoming a serious contender to Team Green and Team Red. The choice comes down to NVIDIA vs. AMD.

Despite some improvements, AMD’s ray tracing and upscaling tech is still lagging behind NVIDIA’s. For gamers who are okay letting go of ray tracing-enhanced visuals in exchange for retaining more performance, AMD is the better choice, as it offers more value for the money at current retail prices, strictly in terms of rasterized performance.

Image source: Newegg

AMD’s cards also offer significantly more VRAM than NVIDIA’s. Modern games are increasingly becoming VRAM-dependent, and AMD’s cards are likely to fare better in the long run when compared to that of Team Green.

Performance at Various Budgets

Close on the heels of the cryptocurrency boom and the global Silicon shortage, graphics card manufacturers introduced steep price hikes as consumer demand broke all records. The traditional definitions of “budget” and “mid-range” no longer apply in the current market and are unlikely to ever return.

Yet, you can still get yourself decent gaming performance if you temper expectations and are willing to stretch your budget a little. This GPU performance guide classifies current-gen and various previous-gen graphics cards according to price and performance.

Tip: if you are having trouble with your graphics card, you can update the AMD graphics drivers in Windows.

What to Look for When Buying a Graphics Card

Choosing the best graphics card based on your budget is only half the story. You also need to consider other factors, like compatibility with your PC, GPU VRAM, potential bottlenecks, and TDP. These factors can help you make a better buying decision and help you make the most of your investment. They’re also essential to potential upgrade decisions that you may make to fully utilize your new graphics card’s performance.

1. Compatibility

Nothing can be more frustrating than unboxing your shiny new graphics card only to realize it’s an inch too big for your PC case. Before you drop the big bucks, do your homework and discover how much physical space your case can offer. Compare your case’s GPU clearance value against the graphics card dimensions you’re planning to buy. If your case isn’t compatible with the graphics card, consider buying a new PC case.

Take note of your power supply as well. How many amps can it supply on the 12v rails? How many watts is it rated for, and how many six- and eight-pin PCIe connectors does it have? Cross-reference this information with the graphics card you want to buy. If your computer isn’t equipped to handle your new graphics card, you’ll want to look for a graphics card requiring less power or consider a PSU upgrade.

Image source: Newegg

Lastly, check the ports. Some monitors use DisplayPort, others have HDMI, and some older units only use DVI. Ensure the card you want to buy has at least one matching connector for your monitor. Buying a card with different ports than those on your monitor is rare. However, if it happens, you may have to buy an adapter at an extra cost.

Also helpful: if you want to get more performance out of your graphics card, learn how to safely overclock your GPU.

2. Bottlenecks

Your system dictates the kind of graphics card you should buy. Knowing your system’s limitations can save you money and headaches. For example, if you’re running an older four-core or dual-core CPU, it is likely to hold back your high-end graphics card, forcing you to leave performance on the table. In this situation, you can opt for a mid-range card to prolong the life of your CPU or consider a CPU upgrade if your budget permits.

Image source: Unsplash

Your display is also an essential factor to consider. With 1440p (2560 x 1440) monitors increasingly becoming mainstream, your graphics card should be able to drive a higher pixel count for smoother gaming performance. Likewise, if you intend to run multiple monitors or an ultrawide monitor, you need to factor in the extra pixels and opt for a graphics card that will support that.

3. Memory and Bandwidth

Although more VRAM on your graphics card doesn’t guarantee more performance, it’s fast becoming a crucial factor as games become more demanding, especially at higher resolutions like 4K. Many recent high-end graphics cards come with questionable amounts of GPU VRAM, such as the RTX 3070 Ti that only shipped with 8GB of VRAM. Even though the card is still more powerful, its longevity is hampered by the relatively small VRAM buffer.

Memory bandwidth is as equally important as the memory on your graphics card. Data ready to be processed by the GPU is usually stored on the card’s dedicated memory, which can be GDDR3, GDDR5, (more recently) GDDR6, or GDDR6X. Note that GDDR6 memory provides twice the bandwidth of GDDR5 clocked at the same rate.

Image source: Newegg

Most of the recent-gen graphics cards ship with GDDR6 memory, with some getting even faster GDDR6X memory. Since memory bandwidth is vital for performance, you should always choose faster memory for better performance.

Good to know: we’ve rounded up the best AMD motherboards for gaming.

4. CUDA Cores (NVIDIA) or Stream Processors (AMD)

CUDA cores or Stream processors can be your rough guide to comparing gaming performance across GPUs of the same family. CUDA (Compute Unified Device Architecture) is NVIDIA’s proprietary parallel computing language that leverages the GPU in specific ways to perform tasks with greater accuracy. A CUDA core is NVIDIA’s equivalent to an AMD stream processor.

Be careful when comparing CUDA cores or Stream processors across different GPU generations, as architectural improvements generally overcome any CUDA core deficiency at comparable performance tiers. For instance, the latest RTX 4080 has 9728 CUDA cores versus 10496 CUDA cores on the previous-gen RTX 3090. But the RTX 4080 is around 20 percent faster than NVIDIA’s previous-gen premium offering.

5. TDP Value

Image source: NVIDIA

The power consumption of the latest RTX 4000 series saw a considerable jump from the previous generation cards, with the flagship RTX 4090 requiring at least an 850W power supply. AMD’s RX 7900 XTX requires at least an 800W power supply to support the flagship GPU’s performance adequately.

Tip: did you know that you can also overclock your RAM? This can also help with gaming performance.

6. G-SYNC or FreeSync?

G-SYNC and FreeSync are adaptive synchronization technologies developed by NVIDIA and AMD, respectively. Buying a monitor that supports one of these features will help adjust your monitor’s refresh rate with the FPS generated by your graphics card, reducing issues like screen tearing and input latency.

Image source: Unsplash

FreeSync is an open-source standard available on far more monitors than NVIDIA’s G-SYNC. You don’t always need to spend more on a display with hardware-supported G-SYNC tech. You can instead opt for displays certified as “G-SYNC compatible” or get a FreeSync display. Buying a FreeSync or FreeSync Premium monitor will help you cut costs while not sacrificing performance, as both NVIDIA and AMD cards can work with FreeSync, similar to FSR that’s available for both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

Good to know: if you’re using an NVIDIA card, you’ll want to learn how NVIDIA’s GeForce software suite works.

Frequently Asked Questions What kind of GPU do I need for video editing?

While video editing is a demanding workload that will benefit from more powerful GPUs, like the 80- or 90-series cards from NVIDIA or comparable AMD offerings, buying mid-range cards will be sufficient for most users. Even when editing 4K videos, a card like the RTX 3060 Ti can power your workload. The performance benefit that you’ll gain by moving to a card like RTX 3090 or RTX 4080 will not justify the associated price increase. It’s worth noting that NVIDIA GPUs have traditionally offered better support for video editing, 3D modeling, and rendering software than AMD’s cards.

Which is better for streaming: NVIDIA or AMD?

NVIDIA cards have consistently performed better at streaming than AMD cards, thanks to their superior NVENC encoder and a suite of features targeted at streamers. But AMD has now closed the gap to a large extent with its updated AMF encoder and AMD noise suppression, rivaling NVIDIA’s NVENC and RTX Voice. AMD’s graphics cards can now stream videos at the same quality and bitrate as NVIDIA’s cards. The only thing needed is industry adoption for AMD’s tech; the gap between the two GPU manufacturers for streaming will become negligible.

Are NVIDIA drivers more stable than AMD drivers?

This used to be the case until AMD’s RX 5000 series, but when comparing the RX 6000 and RX 7000 series drivers with those of NVIDIA, both brands have faced driver issues, and it’s impossible to declare one better than the other. AMD and NVIDIA do an excellent job of addressing driver issues, and while not ideal, face similar problems that sometimes lead to severe game-breaking and system-crashing errors.

Image credit: Unsplash

Tanveer Singh

Tanveer hunts far and wide for PC Hardware, Windows, and Gaming ideas to write about. An MBA in Marketing and the owner of a PC building business, he has written extensively on Technology, Gaming, and Marketing. When not scouring the web, he can be found binging on The Office, running for his life in GTFO, or wrecking karts in Smash Karts.

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