The race for the best graphics card is afoot in the digital world, and as hardware gets smaller and smaller, competition is getting bigger and bigger. Several companies are racing to produce the best computer parts for the best price, but two companies are directly in the spotlight: AMD and Nvidia. This will indeed be a “Thanos vs. the Avengers” fight (if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you need to go watch it. But if you have at least seen the past few movies, that expression should still mean something to you).
Currently, there isn’t anything AMD offers on the market that you should write home about. Sure, they have the Vega 56 and Vega 64, but other than that, Nvidia has overtaken AMD when it comes to budget cards. The 1050 ti is a very efficient budget card that requires very little power, and AMD has struggled to offer a cheap video card that is better than the 1050 ti.
AMD starts to take over when it comes to offering high-performance video cards at a lower price. These are not the top-tiered video cards that can poke a hole in your wallet, but they are still very efficient at running AAA games, more so than the 1050 ti-tiered video cards can.
This is where the GeForce GTX 1060 comes into play. The card was introduced in mid-2016, and while being an excellent video card for a price of $250-$300, it was still overtaken by the Radeon RX 480, which crushed the 1060 in performance while being offered $50 cheaper.
This may have been a massive blow to 1060 sales, but Nvidia made up for it with the 1070 and 1080 series GPUs. These cards are absolute beasts, passing AMD when it comes to core performance on AAA game titles, video rendering, and, in my opinion, overall looks. These cards offer high frames per second at extreme settings, whether you’re playing on a 1080p monitor, 1440p, or even 4K.
AMD has answered the call for more powerful video cards, but they show their weakness when it comes to top-of-the-line models. The Radeon Vega 56 and 64 are the best graphics cards offered by AMD, and while there are a lot of things to be said about this GPU, the first is this: it will eat your power supply for breakfast. Yes, the base models of the Radeon Vega series GPUs will go from 200W to about 380W, and that’s not including the water-cooled hybrid cards, which take about 420W from your PSU’s capacity.
Other than the ridiculous power consumption of the Vega series video cards, the overall performance of the card is exceptional. According to cpubenchmark.net, the Vega 56 is among the best video cards in the world, with the Vega 64 ranking even higher, but not quite meeting the 1080 ti. What they do beat Nvidia in, however, is the amount of KUDA cores in each video card. AMD is able to stuff almost 500 more KUDA cores into their devices than Nvidia can, which probably accounts for the massive amount of power required by the Vega.
What’s even more surprising here is that the 1080 ti has now fallen to lower prices than the Vega 64 — AMD’s best bet at beating Nvidia for GPU supremacy — so consumers will naturally pick Nvidia’s flagship GPUs for not only their performance advantage over the Vega, but also because of their price difference as well.
What is to Come From AMD and Nvidia in the Future?
The million dollar question is, “What are these two companies going to come out with next to prove they are better than the other?” In other words, who will come out with the best stuff in the next year or so?
Well, AMD recently had a keynote in which they explicitly laid out their future plans for GPU architecture, as well as future forms of their CPU chips. AMD wants to go to 7-nanometer architecture by 2019, calling it Vega+. This is expected to produce higher clock speeds and better overall performance than the Vega 64, but it might also require a lot more power.
Nvidia is expected to come out with the GTX 11 series this year, calling their first additions to the lineup the GeForce GTX 1170 and the GeForce GTX 1180. These are expected to launch in July and August, and based on leaked performance recordings, they will be better overall cards than the currently-offered Titan Xp. While Nvidia is sticking with the 12-nanometer architecture, they are improving their internal clock speeds and boost clock speeds.
Nvidia is also using this launch to debut their next-gen memory, GDDR6 VRAM. This is an improvement from the GDDR5X memory offered on the 1080 ti, and from the looks of things, it will provide a cleaner, smoother gaming experience.
All in all, both companies offer fantastic GPUs that absolutely crush today’s AAA game titles. While you could compare the video cards in different ways and each time get a different result, Nvidia is definitely at the top of their game, no pun intended, when it comes to offering the best performance at the best price.
I would say this: until AMD offers something revolutionary that can compete with or absolutely blow Nvidia’s 1080 ti out of the water, people are going to continue to shop with Team Green. They are just better right now, but that doesn’t mean that AMD is out of the competition.
I have faith in Team Red to give their customers a GPU like nothing before in the coming future, but until that time, it’s best to continue to buy Nvidia cards.