This is why older AMD graphics cards are better than Nvidia

AMD and NVIDIA’s latest desktop GPUs to arrive by end of 2016

With all the excitement over the latest graphics architecture, it is difficult to remember that many PC gamers will continue to use their older graphics cards for a while, especially with the price of graphics cards being so high in South Africa compared to international markets.

Many gamers are still using cards that are a generation or two old but still perfectly functional and supported by their respective drivers.

Despite this, it seems that Nvidia’s Kepler cards (GTX 700 Series) have been suffering in terms of performance lately, failing to keep up with AMD’s optimization rate and in some cases, displaying worse performance than at launch.


GeForce GTX 780 Ti versus Radeon R9 290X

BabelTechReviews recently conducted performance benchmarks on the GeForce GTX 780 Ti and Radeon R9 290X and compared them with the performance of each GPU at launch.

It is apparent that while the R9 290X has become increasingly powerful due to driver optimisations since launch, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti has in fact lost performance in FireStrike Extreme and some games.

While the GTX 780 Ti blew away the R9 290X at launch, the Radeon card has grown to become more powerful than the Kepler GPU.

2013

Benchmark
GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Radeon R9 290X
FireStrike Extreme 4,906 4,629
Civilization V 82.2 79.9
DiRT Showdown 73.1 79.8
Hitman: Absolution 46.6 46.5
Metro Last Light 41.6 28.4
Batman: Arkham Origins 79 66
Average Game Score 64.5 60.12

2016

Benchmark
GeForce GTX 780 Ti
Radeon R9 290X
FireStrike Extreme  4.854  5,187
Civilization V  80.5  88.6
DiRT Showdown  70.5  91.3
Hitman: Absolution  46.3  47.5
Metro Last Light  41.6  47.3
Batman: Arkham Origins  77  71
Average Game Score  63.2  69.1

Fallout 4

These benchmarks are courtesy of GameGPU via AdoredTV and compare the 1,440p performance of a range of Nvidia and AMD cards.

While Nvidia seemed to be far ahead in launch date performance, AMD quickly released a driver update, and by Patch 1.3 AMD graphics cards displayed a noticeable improvement over Nvidia’s graphics cards.

The most important issue here is the GeForce GTX 780 Ti performing at the same level as the GeForce GTX 960, as well as the relatively low performance of the older generation Nvidia GPUs (Light Green).

Fallout 4 launch benchmark

Fallout Patch benchmark


Architecture Support

While it may seem like Nvidia is forgetting about its customer base that it uses pre-Maxwell graphics cards for gaming, it does have more active architectures to support than AMD.

Currently, Nvidia is aiming to support Kepler, Maxwell, and Pascal microarchitectures while AMD’s Radeon R9 300 Series is simply an improved version of the existing R9 200 Series architecture.

The introduction of new technology like the Pascal and Polaris architectures means that older graphics processors will naturally be faded out to make way for the more efficient modern alternatives.

This does raise some concerns as to the effectiveness of Nvidia’s legacy support however, as some Kepler and Fermi-based cards have seen a steady decline in relative performance, while AMD’s graphics cards are seeing relative improvement regardless of architecture age.


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