Graphics card ranking: Best models from Nvidia and AMD

Nvidia or AMD, top model or middle class? The graphics card ranking reveals which cards are most likely to meet the needs and demands of different gamers.

It is and will remain a horror to buy a graphics card in 2021. The models that are available cost horrendous sums – no matter what price range they are. Therefore, buying a new card is only worthwhile if your own card has given up the ghost, and there really is no other choice but to buy a new one now. In the current exceptional situation, gamers should take with them when it comes to graphics cards, which they can get at a reasonable price – brand-dependent sentimentalism for AMD or Nvidia is currently out of place.

All others are better advised to wait a little longer and be satisfied with fewer frames per second or reduced graphics settings. Unfortunately, it is not yet possible to predict how long the dry spell on the graphics card market will last. But it doesn’t look good. When the Nvidia RTX 3060 was launched, it was sold out within a few hours. Buyers see a new opportunity in the Radeon RX 6700, which is due to hit the market in the next few months. However, AMD has not yet been silent about an exact date.

Graphics cards ranking: The overview

The following table shows the various graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia in their respective classes. The article then goes into the manufacturers’ individual models and explains which graphics card is suitable for which users. Both manufacturers also differentiate between the cards within the different classes:

  • AMD marks more powerful cards with an “XT.”
  • Nvidia marks more powerful cards with a “Ti” or “Super” – some models also have more memory.

If you buy a graphics card, you should briefly remind yourself of the resolution in which you play which games. E-Sports -Titel as “Fortnite,” “Dota 2,” or “Counter Strike – Global Offensive” are not really power-hungry when it comes to their graphics. Even the new entry-level graphics cards bring enough images per second to a 144 Hertz monitor in full HD resolution. However, if you want to play the latest AAA titles like “Hitman 3” in 4K resolution with full details, you have to dig deeper into your pocket (if you get one of the few cards).

Also, more and more games are using the chips’ integrated graphics memory (VRAM). You should no longer purchase cards with 4 gigabytes of VRAM in 2021. 6 gigabytes are currently sufficient, but it is better to know at least 8 gigabytes on the card. The rule here is: more is better – but not at any price because the graphics card is nothing more than a processor for images. And like the “normal” processor, the graphics card also needs the VRAM to store its tasks there and access them when necessary. The memory is the short-term memory of the graphics processor, and the larger it is, it can temporarily store more tasks there.

How fast a card is, however, depends mainly on the built-in processing units (stream processors or shaders) and their timing. Logical: A graphics card with a lot of fast processing units and little VRAM usually brings more images per second to the screen than a chip with a lot of VRAM and a few slow processing units. This is the case, for example, with the AMD RX 5600 XT with 6 gigabytes of VRAM and the RX 5500 XT with 8 gigabytes of VRAM. 

NvidiaAMD
Entry-level classRTX 3060RX 5500 XT
RTX 2060 SuperRX 5600 XT 
RTX 2060
Middle classRTX 3070RX 5700 XT
RTX 3060 TiRX 5700
High endRTX 3090RX 6900 XT
RTX 3080RX 6800 XT
RX 6800

2. Purchase advice entry-level

The entry-level class includes – how should it be otherwise – the cheaper models of the respective product generations from Nvidia and AMD. The general rule here is that the gaming graphics cards are more suitable for gamers who play on full HD resolution.

Nvidia entry-level class

Manufacturer Nvidia trumps in this segment with an RTX 3060, which followed an RTX 2060. In terms of performance, the Nvidia RTX 3060 is about 20 percent above the RTX 2060. In terms of price, however, both cards are currently at the same level. But because it is almost impossible to get hold of an RTX 3060, it makes sense to also look at the previous generation. However, the RTX 2060 has a catch: it only offers 6 gigabytes of VRAM as integrated memory for the graphics chip – the RTX 3060 doubles that.

Buy Nvidia RTX 3060 now at Amazon

VRAM12 GB
Arithmetic units3584
PSU powermin. 550 watts
Power consumption170 watts

Six gigabytes are just enough for modern games. If you can, you can use the RTX 3060 because Nvidia equips this card with 12 gigabytes of VRAM. Alternatively, gamers can search for an RTX 2060 “Super.” Compared to the standard version of the 2060s, it has 8 gigabytes of RAM and is somewhat more future-proof.

Buy Nvidia RTX 2060 now at Amazon

VRAM6 GB
Arithmetic units1920
PSU powermin. 500 watts
Power consumption225 watts

Entry-level class at AMD

Competitor AMD has two potential entry-level cards: The Radeon RX 5500 XT and the more powerful Radeon RX 5600 XT. The Radeon RX 5500 XT performance is even well below the level of an Nvidia RTX 2060. But it still offers 8 gigabytes of VRAM.

Buy AMD RX 5500 XT now at Amazon

VRAM8 GB
Arithmetic units1408
PSU powermin. 450 watts
Power consumption225 watts

The memory size of the Radeon 5600 XT from AMD only measures 6 gigabytes. It calculates graphics tasks much faster than the 5500 XT but is still far (around 40 percent) below the RTX 3060 in terms of performance.

Buy AMD RX 5600 XT now at Amazon

VRAM6 GB
Arithmetic units2304
PSU powermin. 450 watts
Power consumption150 watts

Conclusion entry-level

In the entry-level class, the RTX 3060 offers everything gamers want in full HD resolution. If you alternatively get your hands on an RTX 2060 Super, you should buy it for a reasonable price. The AMD RX 5600 XT follows this faster than the RTX 2060 in the normal version. The Radeon 5500 XT is significantly less powerful in comparison and should only be bought if no other card is available for a somewhat normal price.

  1. Nvidia RTX 3060
  2. Nvidia RTX 2060 Super
  3. AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT
  4. Nvidia RTX 2060
  5. AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT

Enjoying the Graphics card ranking? You can also read: Motherboard Sizes: Form factors from e-ATX to ITX

3. Tips for graphics cards for WQHD

Most gamers are usually interested in the middle class because the gaming graphics cards cost between 500 and 800 euros. These days, gamers can only dream of it – if the cards are available at all, then for prices from 900 euros and up. After all, the cards offer excellent performance for WQHD resolution. The high-resolution monitors are very popular among gamers.

Middle class at Nvidia

At Nvidia, the RTX 3070 marks the middle class of the current generation. The RTX 3070 Nvidia threw a real hit on the market last year: The card works even faster than the top-class model of the previous generation (RTX 2080 Ti). 

Buy Nvidia RTX 3070 now at Amazon

VRAM8 GB
Arithmetic units5888
PSU powermin. 750 watts
Power consumption270 watts

The direct predecessor of the 3070s is the RTX 2070. However, none of the well-known retailers (Alternate, Mind factory) are currently (as of April 9th) on offer. However, the RTX 3060 Ti is only 20% slower than the RTX 3070. If you are looking for a powerful mid-range card, you can also access this model. Both RTX 3070 and 3060 Ti can handle games in WQHD resolution (2560 x 1440) and are future-proof with 8 gigabytes of VRAM.

Buy Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti now at Amazon

VRAM8 GB
Arithmetic units4864
PSU powermin. 650 watts
Power consumption300 watts

Middle class at AMD

At AMD, the mid-range segment is shared by two cards: the Radeon RX 5700 XT and RX 5700. The two are about 10% apart and below the RTX 3070 and the RTX 3060 Ti in terms of performance. For WQHD resolution, their performance is still sufficient for most new games.

 Buy AMD RX 5700 XT now at Amazon

VRAM8 GB
Arithmetic units2560
PSU powermin. 600 watts
Power consumption225 watts

Both cards are between entry-level and mid-range in terms of price and performance. Those who gamble in Full HD will be happy with the cards. The middle class will be more interesting for AMD fans when the manufacturer brings its RX 6700 onto the market. Allegedly, it will go on sale in April 2021. 

 Buy AMD Radeon RX 5700 now at Amazon

VRAM8 GB
Arithmetic units2304
PSU powermin. 600 watts
Power consumption180 watts

Conclusion middle class

In the middle class, Nvidia is ahead of AMD. If you can, you can use the RTX 3070 or 3060 Ti – at least when he or she wants to play in WQHD. Full HD gamers will also be happy with the AMD cards. It is also important to be on your guard because AMD will soon be launching its RX 6700. With a bit of luck, gamers can get hold of a card at the manufacturer’s recommended retail price – before they wait for another one.

  1. Nvidia RTX 3070
  2. Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti
  3. AMD RX 5700 XT
  4. AMD RX 5700

4. The best high-end graphics cards

High-end graphics cards are only of interest to high-end and professional gamers who want to enjoy full details in 4K resolution or professional users who need a lot of performance due to their work. Anyway – if you want one of these categories, you don’t have to care as much about the price as fancy gamers. 

High-end at Nvidia

Nvidia has two high-end gaming graphics cards on offer: The RTX 3080and the RTX 3090. The performance of an RTX 3080 is usually sufficient for demanding gamers.

 Buy Nvidia RTX 3080 now at Amazon

VRAM10 GB
Arithmetic units8704
PSU powermin. 750 watts
Power consumption320 watts

The RTX 3090 replaces the Titan RTX of the previous generation and is aimed at professional users. These are usually cutters, engineers, or graphic artists who work with programs that use the power of the graphics chip to create 3D models or visual effects.

 Buy Nvidia RTX 3090 now at Amazon

VRAM24 GB
Arithmetic units10496
PSU powermin. 750 watts
Power consumption350 watts

High-end at AMD

At AMD, the choice is one card more extensive: In addition to a Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT, the manufacturer also offers the 6900 XT. The Radeon RX 6900 XT is in terms of performance at eye level with the RTX 3090. It is also aimed more at professional users. 

 Buy AMD RX 6900 XT now at Amazon

VRAM16 GB
Arithmetic units5120
PSU powermin. 850 watts
Power consumption300 watts

The performance of the AMD Radeon RX 6800 is slightly below the RTX 3080 from Nvidia. The performance of the RX 6800 XT is slightly better than the RTX 3080 – but the differences are so marginal that gamers should take what they can get their hands on. Regardless of whether it is a Radeon RX 6800, 6800 XT, or RTX 3080.

Buy AMD RX 6800 now at Amazon

VRAM16 GB
Arithmetic units3840
PSU powermin. 650 watts
Power consumption227 watts

Conclusion high-end

In the high-end sector, the Nvidia RTX 3090 and AMD RX 6900 XT don’t do much. Suppose you have a Ryzen processor of the latest generation. In that case, you prefer to use the AMD card because AMD’s Smart Access technology ensures that the processor can access the graphics card memory. And that ensures an increase in performance in the system. The graphics cards from Nvidia offer a better raytracing performance. So, if you want the more beautiful graphics, go to Team Green.

  1. AMD RX 6900 XT
  2. Nvidia RTX 3090
  3. AMD RX 6800 XT
  4. Nvidita RTX 3080
  5. AMD RX 6800

5. Ray tracing: Better to use Nvidia

More games are offering the graphic feature ray tracing, with which games look even more realistic. However, raytracing comes at a high price because the technology costs a lot of performance. In addition to the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, modern graphics cards also calculate games with ray tracing. At Nvidia, cards of the current and previous generation manage this – i.e. chips with Turing and Ampere architecture. At AMD, the selection is sparse: only cards with RDNA2 architecture offer ray tracing. And that’s all of the AMD Radeon RX 6000 series chips.

If you can’t do it without ray tracing, it’s better to use Nvidia. The manufacturer’s graphics cards offer more performance when the feature is activated. The architecture of the Nvidia chips and, on the other hand, to artificial intelligence that Nvidia developed especially for its graphics cards so that they can calculate the ray tracing effects more quickly. AMD is also working on an AI solution for its cards. But it has not yet been published.

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