Ever wondered what graphics card names stand for with numbers and prefixes? Here are the Nvidia and AMD GPU names explained thoroughly.
Whether you’re buying or building a gaming PC, deciding what GPU to buy will leave you with a wide range of options of confusing names, numbers, and prefixes. For beginners or many tech-savvy professionals, assuming a GPU’s power or performance just from its full name may seem a bit complex.
To explain things more clearly, we will guide you on what the numbers and letters of the Nvidia and AMD graphics cards mean. We will separately explain each number and prefix so you can buy the right GPU to build your PC.
Nvidia Graphics Card: RTX, GTX, and GT
Let’s start by discussing the most commonly mentioned set of alphabets denoting Nvidia GPUs. These three main branches of Nvidia GPUs are discussed below.
The GT in the Nvidia GPU name is ‘Giga Texel Shader,’ the entry-level GPU. These graphics cards are for those not looking for high-end performance and are not very efficient in playing games in 2023. The GT graphics cards are only good for display or for getting decent frame rates at lower resolutions.
Nvidia GTX series is the main gaming line for GeForce graphics cards which has been in business since 1999. GTX is the main branch of GPU that is designed for gaming. GTX is far superior in performance than GT, and they are a pretty affordable option, further categorized into numbers that will be discussed further in this article.
RTX series is the latest series of Nvidia that defines ‘Ray Tracing’ capabilities. Ray tracing is a rendering method that creates a very realistic lighting effect. This line of Nvidia GPUs started about four years ago, and it’s designed to be way more powerful than the GTX series. With RTX ON, you get a more realistic image and immersive graphics on the gaming resolution. This series is also further categorized in numbers which will be explained later once we cover the AMD GPUs and their meanings.
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AMD Graphics Cards: R3, R5, R7, R9, RX
Rival to Nvidia graphics card, AMD also has a range of confusing alphabets and numbers that denotes their GPUs. The R series is the latest and modern GPU series of AMD, and the five graphics cards named R3, R5, R7, R9, and RX are arranged in ascending order based on newness.
RX is the most superior one among the line all the way down to the R3, the oldest in the series. AMD graphics cards, including R7 and below, are much like Nvidia’s GT series and incapable of gaming in 2023. Therefore, the R9 and the RX series are the currently available options to run GPU-intensive games.
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What do the Numbers Denote in Nvidia Graphics Cards?
Moving to the numbers now, each figure defines the performance capability and the generation of the GPU for Nvidia. For example, the GTX 1060 indicates that 10 is the graphics card series/generation, and 60 denotes the performance tier.
Under the numbering criteria, GTX 1060 (3 GB) is more powerful than GTX 1030 (4 GB), which belongs to the same series/generation but has a bigger performance tier. Moreover, you may have seen graphics cards categorized with Ti at their end, such as GTX 1060 and GTX 1060 Ti. The Ti defines that the same graphics card has a better performing variant, much like the iPhone X and XS concept.
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What do the Numbers Denote in AMD Graphics Cards?
The numbers and prefixes for AMD carry the same concept as Nvidia. The prefix denotes the generation, and the suffix defines the graphics card’s performance capability. For example, the R9 290x denotes the number ‘2’ as it is from the 200 series, and 90 defines the performance tier.
Bigger the number, the greater the generation and performance capability. Similarly, you may find the alphabets X and XT at the end of GPU names, which means that the XT variant is more powerful in terms of performance than the X version. This criterion works the same as Nvidia’s Ti variants.
What is meant by GeForce and Radeon?
GeForce defines the umbrella under which Nvidia manufactures the GPUs, and you will find it in the name of every graphics card. On the other hand, Radeon defines AMD’s GPU branch under which they manufacture the graphics cards, and they are also mentioned with every graphics unit. Both are much like the sub-brands of the major brands Nvidia and AMD.
Understanding the graphics card names is essential nowadays. You will find a wide range of options to choose from. Simply relying on bits is not enough, as the VRAM is not worth it if you have a low-performance tier and an older generation. Hopefully, this article was informative enough to answer many of your questions comprehensively.
Which is better, the Radeon or the GeForce?
AMD Radeon GPUs have significantly improved with their latest series to beat the graphics. However, when it comes to delivering an immersive gameplay experience and graphics with ray tracing, Nvidia is much better than AMD.
Which GPU is best for Gaming and Streaming?
Nvidia GTX 1650 is the best GPU for streaming and gaming if you’re not looking to spend too much. Plus, it’s not a lost generation GPU, as it was released after the Nvidia GTX 10 series.
How much is VRAM recommended for Gaming at 1080p?
Going for 6 GB to 8 GB of VRAM would be the best for gaming resolution at 1080p.