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The Graphics Card FAQ
« on: February 11, 2007, 06:02:54 AM »

The world of graphics cards is constantly changing, even faster than the rest of the computer industry. This is intended to be a guide to what's on offer at the minute. This guide will be kept up to date if possible, but will inevitably fall behind slightly.  Last update: October 24th 2013.

For any specific questions, please create a new thread in the appropriate board, most likely hardware.


AMD is a manufacturer of graphics card chips. These chips are added to other video cards and resold by other manufacturers - for example, you may see an Asus AMD Radeon HD7950 - this is an AMD Radeon HD7950, branded, packaged and supported by Asus.

Nvidia is ATI's rival graphics card manufacturer. Similarly, its cards are rebranded, repackaged and sold by other manufacturers, very seldom by Nvidia themselves, so you may see an EVGA Geforce GTX 780 which is an Nvidia Geforce GTX 780, branded, packaged and supported by EVGA.

GPU stands for Graphics processing unit - it's the chip on a graphics card that does all the work.

PCI-E (PCI Express)
The standard interface for graphics cards. It offers high bandwidth, meaning higher-performance cards. Most new cards available today are for PCI-E. Also sometimes abbreviated as PCI-X, although this is incorrect.

AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port)
This is the older interface for graphics cards. It provides less bandwidth than PCI-E, and has been completely replaced by PCI-E now. The newest card available for the AGP interface was the HD4670, the fastest was the HD3850.  Neither are common, and neither is a cost effective upgrade, especially as they're both quite old and not very fast by today's standards.

SLI (Scalable Link Interface)
This is Nvidia's technology to use two or more graphics cards together for increased performance. All you need are two identical Nvidia cards (the memory size can be different but the core must be the same) and a motherboard that supports SLI.  Most modern motherboards with more than one PCI-E slot will support SLI.

This is ATI's technology to use two or more graphics cards together for increased performance.  Identical cards are not necessary but the series must match, e.g. a 6850 and 6870 can be used together, but a 6850 and 6950 cannot.  A Crossfire capable motherboard must be used.  Almost all modern motherboards with two or more PCI-E slots support Crossfire.

DirectX 11. This is the newest in Microsoft's DirectX software series. It allows for better, more realistic graphics, but only the newest cards support this. Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8 is required, earlier versions of Windows do not support DX11.  Graphics cards from the AMD HD5850 and Nvidia GTX 4 series and newer support DX11.  DX11 is coded in such a way that DX10 cards can run a subset of features, so if a card can run DX10 it can run DX11 games, just not with all the eye candy.

DirectX 10. This is the previous release of DirectX, supported from Windows Vista onwards. It requires an AMD HD2xxx series of Nvidia GTX 2xx series card or newer.

DDR2 memory
Double Data Rate v2 memory.  This is standard system RAM, used on low end video cards as video memory.  Cards using this memory will be quite slow.

GDDR memory
Graphics Double Data Rate memory.  Currently, there are GDDR3, GDDR4 and GDDR5 variations on the market.  Newer versions are faster than older versions.

Graphics cards
Below is a list of graphics cards, from highest to lowest performance.  This is not comprehensive, but covers most common cards from around 2006 onwards.  Some cards will perform better or worse than others higher or lower on the list in certain applications, this list should only be taken as a general indicator of performance so for any specific questions, please either research or create a thread in the appropriate board, most likely hardware

Radeon R9 290X
GeForce GTX Titan
Geforce GTX 690
Radeon HD 7990
GeForce GTX 780
GeForce GTX 770
GeForce GTX 680
GeForce GTX 590
Radeon HD 6990
Radeon HD 7970 / R9 280X (same card)
GeForce GTX 670
GeForce GTX 760
Radeon HD 5970
Radeon HD 7950
Radeon R9 270X
GeForce GTX 580
GeForce GTX 660 Ti
Radeon HD 6970
GeForce GTX 480
GeForce GTX 570
Radeon HD 7870
Radeon HD 6950
GeForce GTX 660
Radeon HD 7850
Radeon HD 5870
GeForce GTX 295
GeForce GTX 470
GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST
GeForce GTX 560 Ti
GeForce GTX 560
Radeon HD 7790
Radeon R7 260X
GeForce GTX 465
GeForce GTX 650 Ti
GeForce GTX 460
Radeon HD 6870
GeForce GTX 460 v2
GeForce GTX 560 SE
Radeon HD 5850
Radeon HD 4870 X2
Radeon HD 6850
Radeon HD 7770
Radeon HD 5830
Radeon HD 4890
GeForce GTX 645
GeForce GTX 550 Ti
GeForce GTX 650
Radeon R7 250
Radeon HD 6770
Radeon HD 5770
Radeon HD 4870
Radeon HD 7750
GeForce GTS 450
Radeon HD 5750
Radeon HD 6750
GeForce GT 640
Radeon HD 4850 X2
GeForce GTX 285
GeForce GTX 280
GeForce GTX 275
Radeon HD 7670
GeForce GTX 260
Radeon HD 5670
Radeon HD 4770
Radeon HD 6670
Radeon HD 4850
Radeon HD 4830
Radeon HD 7570
GeForce GTS 250
GeForce 9800 GTX
Radeon HD 3870 X2
GeForce GTS 240
GeForce 8800 Ultra
GeForce 9800 GX2
GeForce 8800 GTX
GeForce 8800 GTS
GeForce 9800 GT
GeForce 8800 GT
Radeon HD 3850 X2
Radeon HD 3870
Radeon HD 2900
GeForce 8800 GS
GeForce 9600 GT
Radeon HD 6570
GeForce GT 630
GeForce GT 530
Radeon HD 5570
GeForce GT 240
GeForce GT 430
Radeon HD 3850
Radeon HD 4670
GeForce 9600 GSO
Radeon HD 5550
GeForce GT 230
GeForce GT 620
GeForce 9600
Radeon HD 7470
GeForce GT 220
GeForce GT 520
Radeon HD 4650
GeForce GT 610
Radeon HD 7450
GeForce 510
Radeon HD 6450
GeForce 9500
Radeon HD 3670
GeForce 8600
Radeon HD 5450
Radeon HD 2600
GeForce 9400
GeForce 210
Radeon HD 4350
GeForce 8500 GT
Radeon HD 3450
Radeon HD 2400
GeForce 8400
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 04:20:53 AM by Calum »