But the new GPUs that AMD launched in 2019, the RX 5700 and the RX 5700 XT, are starting to gain some traction.
It will be a while before AMD catches Nvidia in their most prominent demographic, PC gamers, but the gap has been consistently narrowing for the past couple of years.
We live in a pretty exciting point in GPU history, rather than just one GPU manufacturer putting out a superior product, both AMD and Nvidia offer unique benefits for anyone looking to buy a GPU.
There isn’t one best answer for everyone now, you can pick a graphics card that fits your needs, your budget, and your future goals.
Always keep your favorite games in mind when choosing a card, too, typically, games created on an AMD architecture, like Borderlands 3 or Apex Legends, will run a little more smoothly on an AMD card.
On the other hand, Nvidia games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or Metro Exodus might run smoother on an RTX card.
If you only plan on playing a handful of games, it’s worth checking out what GPU family they are optimized for.
When shopping for a graphics card, you’ll most often be choosing from models made by companies like ASUS, Gigabyte, EVGA, and MSI, which put their own special spins on the core hardware developed by NVIDIA and AMD.
Of all the various specifications you’ll come across when learning about GPUs, the GPU model itself is the most important.
This is what tells you where the GPU falls in terms of overall performance.
Those specific graphics cards within a GPU model can vary in performance depending on a variety of factors.
So reading reviews and comparing benchmarks can be helpful when you’re looking to determine the best bang for your buck.
It’s also important to know what kind of power connections a graphics card requires.
Usually, this is a mix of six-pin and eight-pin connectors, which the power supply will need to provide in sufficient quantity.
Graphics cards have their own memory where they store the data needed to display information on the screen.
The amount of RAM in your GPU is important for high-performance games that use large amounts of data to represent on-screen images.
Also, if you’re running multiple 4K displays, then you’ll want more graphics RAM.
However, generally speaking, you’ll get more graphics RAM as you buy faster graphics cards, and so as long as you buy a GPU that’s fast enough for your desired games, then you should have enough RAM to go with it, built-in.
Today, all discrete GPUs plug into PCIe slots, GPUs vary, though, in how many slot widths they take up, including single, double, and triple slots.
You’ll need to be sure that your PC’s motherboard and case has enough room for your chosen GPU along with the other components you might want to install.
And if you’re using a particularly large or heavy card, like NVIDIA’s 2080 Super or Ti models, then it’s a good idea to get a motherboard with reinforced PCIe slots, too, to cut down on GPU sag.
Of course, a GPU by itself isn’t worth much, It needs to connect to a display to be useful.
HDMI and DisplayPort are the most common connections these days, and can be found on most graphics cards – usually at least one of each.
When buying a GPU, you need to make sure it has enough ports, of the right types, to support the monitors and VR headsets you plan to connect.
It’s possible to buy adaptors for some ports, but you’ll have a much easier time if you can avoid that.
By now you should have some idea of how to select the right graphics card for your needs.
The next step is to narrow your choice down, based on functionality, performance, and price.