Nvidia versus AMD There will undoubtedly come a time when you have to choose between the two GPU powerhouses while constructing a gaming computer. Both businesses compete for dominance in our GPU benchmarks hierarchy by producing the GPUs that drive the finest graphics cards. Of course, choosing between AMD and Nvidia isn’t the only choice you’ll have to make while designing a PC. Additionally, you will have to decide between AMD and Intel CPUs. However, we’ll be concentrating on graphics in this article and examining performance, features, drivers, and software, as well as power and efficiency, cost, and other factors.
Since the late 1990s, AMD and Nvidia have been engaged in a flame war, with Nvidia presently dominating in many aspects of the GPU market. For example, the majority of GPUs on the Steam Hardware Survey are its graphics cards, and in terms of pure financial value, Nvidia is worth almost three times as much as AMD (with a substantial portion of AMD’s resources going into CPUs).
But neither the distant past nor money are of importance to us. We’re looking for a victor in the current GPU war between AMD and Nvidia. The main options here are AMD Big Navi and Nvidia Ampere graphics cards; perhaps in the future, we’ll also need to consider Intel Arc.
The larger picture must remain in focus throughout this study. We’re not only concentrating on the fastest, most power-efficient, or most cost-effective GPU. From low-cost to mid-range to high-end and extreme GPUs, we’ll take into account every aspect of each category along with the technology underlying the GPUs. We will announce a winner today, but the conflict is still ongoing. A triumph today doesn’t guarantee that your opponent won’t return leaner and meaner the next year; it’s more like holding the heavyweight GPU title.
AMD vs. Nvidia: Performance in Games
Faster GPUs have allowed game creators to build more intricate and detailed environments for decades. While both AMD and Nvidia have a wide range of GPUs available, from entry-level models to high-end options, Nvidia has a little advantage overall when it comes to sheer performance because of the large GeForce RTX 3090 Ti.
But as you go further from the front, the competition gets tighter. The top rank in our hierarchy of GPU benchmarks belongs to AMD’s RX 6950 XT at 1080p and 1440p, while Nvidia only triumphs at 4K or in ray tracing games. Four AMD and six Nvidia GPUs make up the top ten fastest GPUs, however this is partly due to number rather than actually separate GPUs; the RTX 3080 12GB combines parts of the RTX 3080 Ti and the RTX 3080 to create a card that matches the 3080 Ti at a cheaper price.
Naturally, the primary benchmarks only examine games using APIs and settings that are compatible with all GPUs, thus the findings do not take into account ray tracing or DLSS. Additionally, we haven’t provided any FSR findings, and at lower resolutions, CPU bottlenecks undoubtedly become an issue. Here are the revised 2022 performance rankings, which display the overall results from eight different games, four different settings/resolution combinations, our normal test suite, and four additional charts for our ray tracing suite, which employs six intricate DirectX Raytracing (DXR) titles.
The GeForce RTX 3080 and Radeon RX 6800 XT offer a better picture of performance than Nvidia’s RTX 3090 Ti, which is not even close to being inexpensive. In games that use classic rasterization, AMD takes a tiny advantage, whereas Nvidia quickly pulls ahead — sometimes by a wide amount — as soon as ray tracing and/or DLSS are enabled. In terms of performance, we give Nvidia a tiny advantage, but there are other factors to take into account as well.
When we look at the mass market ($400, give or take), things become a little confusing. If we again neglect RT and DLSS, AMD’s Radeon RX 6700 XT competes against the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti with somewhat superior performance. We referred to it as a net tie in our evaluation. Although AMD’s card theoretically costs 20% more than Nvidia’s, in reality AMD’s price is now more favorable ($480 vs. $500 at the time of writing).
The greatest comparison would be between the RTX 3050 and the RX 6600, both of which can be purchased for roughly $300. Older model GPUs are often outperformed by the newer models (never mind MSRPs). Ray tracing does benefit the Nvidia GPUs by 7–15 percent, but that’s significantly less important for this category as AMD’s GPU destroys the 3050 by 25–35 percent in terms of ordinary gaming performance.
What about affordable options, such those under $200? Sadly, we are left to wonder what happened to all the excellent low-cost GPUs. The performance of the RX 6500 XT and RX 6400, which retail for less than $200, is often inferior to that of the GTX 1650 and 1650 Super and the previous-generation RX 5500 XT 8GB. While it’s not too difficult to locate brand-new AMD cards, Nvidia’s GTX 16-series components are now over three years old and supply and availability can be a little erratic. However, Newegg offers the GTX 1650 Super for $200, virtually tying the low-cost segment.
Win: a tie There are simply too many possible outcomes for this to be called. AMD triumphs in regular 1080p and 1440p gameplay, as well as in performance at comparable high-end and mid-range price points, while Nvidia triumphs in 4K and ray tracing. However, DLSS also works in Nvidia’s advantage, and while FSR 2.0 may be quite competitive, it is GPU-independent.
Efficiencies in Power Usage of AMD and Nvidia
GPU power efficiency prior to AMD’s Navi was clearly in Nvidia’s benefit. But Navi altered all of that, and Big Navi has increased AMD’s effectiveness even further. Navi began to bridge the gap by using chips manufactured using TSMC’s 7nm FinFET technology and a new design that provided 50% more performance per watt. However, it lagged so far behind that even a 50% gain couldn’t make up for the lack of efficiency.
But AMD’s Big Navi receives a significant efficiency benefit from the Infinity Cache, whereas Nvidia’s Ampere design pushes greater clocks at the expense of efficiency. As a result, Ampere and Big Navi are almost equally competitive.
We evaluated all of the most recent and current graphics cards from both manufacturers using Powenetics technology to record the true graphics card power utilization of GPUs. We’ve also examined cards from both sides of third parties, although we’ll try to keep the charts as close to the reference designs as we can.