What is the best AMD graphics card

The 6 best graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia

By Adrian Mühlroth | February 21, 2020, 11:31 a.m.

Nvidia announced the new RTX graphics cards at Gamescom, which will soon hit the market. TECHBOOK shows you in a large comparison which desktop graphics cards are currently best for gaming.

After years of dominance by Nvidia on the graphics card market, AMD is finally competitive again. Especially in the middle price segment, Team Rot makes Nvidia look old, with inexpensive models that work very efficiently and are inexpensive. Nvidia tries to advertise with stronger versions of the proven graphics cards. However, it has made the market more confusing than ever. In addition to the "GTX", "RTX", "Tis", "RX" and "XTs" in the names of the graphics cards, a "Super" has now also been added. TECHBOOK brings order to the clutter and shows the best models on the market.

The best graphics cards in six categories

Both manufacturers have useful offers in the various categories, even if they are not always directly comparable. Nevertheless, we tried to find alternatives.

Best price performance ratio

There is a relatively clear winner in this category, although both AMD and Nvidia have excellent candidates at the start. Even on paper, the RX 5700 with its 2304 cores and 8 GB video memory is superior to the GTX 1060 with 1536 cores and 6 GB of memory. In terms of theoretical computing power, the RX 5700 is actually almost one and a half times faster. This carries over to performance in games as well. Because the GTX 1660 Ti cannot make up for its numerical inferiority even with its higher clock frequencies. The 1500 MHz base clock is 35 MHz higher and the boost frequency of 1770 MHz is 45 MHz above the 1725 MHz of the RX 5700. An often neglected advantage of the GTX 1660 Ti is also the lower power consumption, which is almost a third below the 120 watt TDP 185 watts the RX 5700 is.

As a rule of thumb, the AMD graphics card continues to outperform its Nvidia competitor, especially in DirectX 12 games. Only in a few titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive does the Nvidia GPU come out on top. Regardless, the cards are best suited for gaming in 1080p resolution with Ultra settings and at least 60 frames per second (FPS). Higher resolutions are also possible, although the detailed settings often have to be turned down. We give both cards a purchase recommendation and ultimately everyone has to decide for themselves which card is better: the RX 5700 because it offers higher performance or the GTX 1660 Ti because it is cheaper. Another alternative in this price bracket is the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2060, which offers performance comparable to the GTX 1660 Ti, but also supports ray tracing - a function that the RX 5700 lacks.

The GTX 1660 Ti is currently available from 276 euros, while the RX 580 8GB costs 326 euros. The RTX sits right in the middle, with a price tag of around 300 euros.

Best performance

Actually, the RTX 2080 with the addition of Ti should be at this point. But this is still being traded for over 1000 euros, which is clearly too expensive to get a recommendation from us. Instead, we chose the RTX 2080 Super. The RTX generation graphics card, which can calculate ray tracing technology in real time, is comparable in terms of performance to the older GTX 1080 Ti. The super in the name means that it is a beefed up RTX 2080, with more processing units and higher performance.

The RTX 2080 has special "tensor cores" which, in addition to the traditional processing units, are solely responsible for calculating ray tracing in real time. This gives video games realistic lighting effects, which up until now was simply impossible. The graphics card can even display the latest games in 4K resolution with ultra settings beyond the 60 frames per second (FPS) mark and is ideally suited for virtual reality (VR) games. If ray tracing is switched on, the performance also suffers not insignificantly and with 4K resolution it can happen that the FPS rate drops below 60.

You can find out what exactly ray tracing is here: Why this graphics chip will change the gaming world forever.

Inside the RTX 2080, 3072 cores work on the graphic display, and an additional 48 tensor cores only for ray tracing technology. The card has a 1650 MHz base clock and an 1815 MHz boost frequency. 8 GB of the GDDR6 memory type are installed on the board, which will still be sufficient for the next few years. The GTX 2080 Super is available from around 720 euros.

At Team Rot there you will look in vain for a comparable offer. The current top GPU from AMD - the RX 5700 XT - is far behind the RTX 2080 Super in most games, even in the 50th Anniversary Edition. AMD's semi-professional Radeon VII cannot keep up either, but it performs well, especially in games that are optimized for DirectX 12. Nevertheless, the Vega VII is very well suited for general-purpose computing due to the 3084 cores and the fast 16 GB HBM2. The graphics card also has no problems with VR games. The Radeon VII also has one advantage: At just under 580 euros, it is considerably cheaper than the GTX 2080 Super.

Also interesting: How to earn PC games with your own graphics card

Best budget graphics card with ray tracing

There can only be one in this category, because other graphics cards can theoretically also calculate ray tracing, but they need a lot more computing power than Nvidia's RTX GPUs. Only these have tensor cores that are specially built to calculate ray tracing in real time. So if you want to experience the advanced graphics technology in games, you absolutely need an RTX model. As an entry into the world of ray tracing, the RTX 2060 is best suited due to its low starting price.

The card has "only" 30 tensor cores and can therefore not display ray tracing as smoothly as stronger models. But it is still sufficient for the beginning. The card is also ideal for classic gaming in 1440p resolution with high details. The stronger successor RTX 2060 Super offers more performance in both normal games and ray tracing, but it also costs 100 euros more. After the recent price drop from 350 to 300 euros, the RTX 2060 has therefore received an absolute buy recommendation from us.

Best graphics card for VR

When it comes to VR, the Nvidia Geforce RTX 2070 doesn't have to be the super version. The price in particular speaks in favor of the original version of the graphics chip, but the performance is also still in the upper segment. The GPU has 2304 processing units and a base clock of 1410 MHz. With its 36 tensor cores, it is also suitable for ray tracing, albeit not as good as the RTX 2080 Super. With the card, even current triple-A games can be played with high settings in 1440p and even 4K resolution. But especially for virtual reality gaming, which is coming up with new blockbusters like Half-Life: Alyx, Lone Echo 2 and The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners in 2020, the RTX 2070 offers exactly the right performance. Set the settings to the maximum and just play - that's how VR should work.

As an AMD alternative, the Radeon RX 5700 XT is ideal for VR gaming. Not only VR gaming, of course, but also classic PC games, because the RX 5700 also understands 1440p and 4K with high to maximum details. However, it lacks the tensor cores, so if you want ray tracing, you are wrong here. We recommend the RTX 2070 to buy it because it is now available for less than 380 euros and is therefore even cheaper than the weaker RX 5700 XT. This brings it to around 384 euros.

Best budget graphics card

The AMD Radeon RX 570 8 GB is almost three years old, but it still cuts a very good figure as a budget option. The card offers 2048 processing units and has a base clock frequency of 1168 MHz with a boost of up to 1244 MHz. Nvidia also offers a good, albeit somewhat weaker, alternative in the budget segment. The Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 is slower in most games, but is characterized by its more modern 12 nanometer architecture and the resulting lower energy consumption of only 75 watts.

Regardless of whether RX 570 8GB or GTX 1650, both graphics cards provide enough performance for gaming in 1080p resolution, very high detail settings and consistently over 30 FPS. The RX 570 8 GB is available from around 139 euros, while the GTX 1650 can now be found for less than 130 euros.

Best graphics card for esports

eSports titles are a special type of game because the aim here is not that the game graphics look particularly beautiful and lifelike, but that as many images as possible are squeezed out of the graphics card per second. Because a fluid picture is particularly important in competitions for millions of dollars in order to be able to react quickly, jerks are an absolute taboo. This is where Nvidia's Geforce GTX 1650 Super with 4 GB of video memory comes into play. The card costs nowhere near as much as the price-performance winner RX 5700, but still delivers excellent performance in eSports games. In games like "Fortnite" and "Overwatch", the card often produces over 100 FPS at 1080p resolution and medium to high settings. But even in graphically elaborate Triple A titles such as "Tom Clancy’s The Division 2" it reaches an average of almost 60 FPS at very high settings.

Advertisement: Here is an overview of all Graphics cards at Amazon

In the eSports category, an old friend appears among the AMD competition. The Radeon RX 580 8 GB is still a strong alternative to the GTX 1650 Super and has a decisive advantage: It has twice as much video memory as Nvidia's card. Nevertheless, it does not come close to the performance of the “super” GPU from Nvidia and is also more expensive - this is where the age difference becomes noticeable. At the end of 2019, however, AMD presented an eSports alternative that will be significantly cheaper and offer similar performance to the GTX 1650 Super. The GTX 1650 Super is currently available for around 159 euros and the RX 580 8 GB for 164 euros. The RX 5500 will be lower in price.

You have to pay attention to this when buying

AMD's graphics cards generally have more processing cores for the same price point and thus also a higher theoretical performance. Nvidia equips its graphics cards with higher clock frequencies, which ensures more performance, especially in games. AMD has now overtaken Nvidia in the manufacturing process and manufactures its graphics chips with 7 nanometer technology. The smaller the process, the more energy efficient the graphics card. AMD can therefore deliver its chips ex works with boost clock frequencies of almost 2 GHz. Nvidia lags behind with its 12 nanometer technology.

Calculation cores: AMD graphics cards generally have more computing cores, also called stream processors, which, in addition to 3D graphics, can also be used for other types of calculations such as economic simulations. Nvidia's computing cores are better optimized for gaming, which is why the manufacturer's chips often come with fewer cores than comparable models from AMD. But when game developers in cooperation with AMD optimize their games for AMD computing cores, the chips have a clear performance advantage thanks to their higher number of cores. This is particularly noticeable in games that are optimized for DirectX 12, since DirectX 12 can make particularly good use of AMD's computing cores. Nvidia, on the other hand, often has a lead in DirectX 11 games.

Clock frequency: Graphics cards always have a so-called base clock, which indicates the minimum frequency with which the card works. In addition, the manufacturers always specify a turbo or boost clock, which the graphics cards can often only achieve for a short time if they are well cooled. As soon as the chip gets too hot, the clock frequency is reduced to a lower level, but never goes below the base clock. As a rule of thumb, the higher the clock frequency, the better the game performance.

Storage: Most graphics cards now use the GDDR6 memory type, which offers good performance for most applications. AMD installs what is known as the 2nd generation high-bandwidth memory (HBM2) in its high-end models, which has a particularly high bandwidth and is therefore significantly faster than GDDR6. To be prepared for the future, a graphics card should have at least 6 gigabytes (GB) of video memory. 4 GB is still acceptable at most for budget models, but not feasible in the long term. 8 GB is now normal for some mid-range cards and high-end models. The most expensive cards even come with 16 GB.

Super: The name is Nvidia's attempt to place stronger versions of its GTX and RTX models against the competition from AMD. An RTX 2080 Super, for example, has more processing units and a higher clock frequency than the original RTX 2080. Actually, the Super versions have the same RRP, but they are usually more expensive on the market than the original models.

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