As we head into 2021, the graphics card landscape looks really, really interesting. Nvidia turned things upside down in 2018 with the release of its 20xx line of GPUs, which introduced groundbreaking ray tracing technology. But in late 2020, AMD finally jumped aboard the ray tracing train.
Now that the two hardware makers have launched their latest high-end products, here’s everything you need to know about AMD and Nvidia GPUs. Find out which ones are the best in 2021.
FreeSync vs. G-Sync
AMD and Nvidia now use their own forms of adaptive sync, which virtually eliminates screen tearing without sacrificing response times. (Here’s our guide that tells you everything you need to know about v-sync, G-Sync, and FreeSync.) The annoying thing about it is that you need to get a G-Sync-compatible monitor to benefit from G -Sync on an Nvidia GPU and a FreeSync monitor to make it work with AMD cards.
The good news is that many FreeSync monitors are now G-Sync compatible, and since FreeSync monitors tend to be cheaper because they don’t require dedicated hardware, they may be a better option for people on a budget.
For the most part, the differences between FreeSync and Gsync are negligible. Nvidia offers some guarantees with G-Sync, such as ULMB blur reduction, but functionally the two are much the same. There are some additional benefits with G-Sync, but they come at a price.
Latest GPUs – AMD 6xxx vs. Nvidia 30xx
There’s no denying that Nvidia has edged out AMD in the low-key GPU race for the past two years. Ray tracing has been a huge breakthrough in video game graphics, and the prices have been more competitive than the traditionally more expensive of the two graphics card makers.
At the high end, the Nvidia RTX 3090 and 3080 sit comfortably on top of AMD’s latest 6000 series GPUs. The Radeon RX 6900-XT has (or slightly better) performance of the Nvidia RTX 3080, but at $ 1,000 compared to RTX’s $ 700, it doesn’t quite stack.
In the mid-range, things feel a lot more uniform. AMD 6800-XT beats RTX 3070 by 25% in most modern games but comes more expensive at $ 650 against $ 500. The regular 6800, meanwhile, offers comparable performance to the 3070 but for $ 80 more at $ 580.
In addition, Nvidia has already had a whole generation to work with ray tracing, which is vastly superior. Just check out this reference from Mark PC to get an idea on several games.
Based on previous generations of ray tracing, ray tracing performance is unlikely to improve significantly with driver updates in a single generation, and it’s fair to suggest that we may need to. – to be waiting for the next generation of AMD cards before they really capture in the ray tracing department. AMD doesn’t yet have its answer to Nvidia DLSS either, which is a neat way to optimize gaming performance.
This is not bad news for AMD. If you are on a lower budget, the previous generation AMD Radeon RX 5700-XT is probably still the best value you can get and will remain so. run most games at excellent frame rates at 1440p resolutions.
And let’s not forget that AMD is providing the GPUs hosted in the new PS5 and Xbox Series X. So while it was a tough 2020 in terms of PC GPUs for AMD, it was strong in other areas. But based on the current generation, AMD has a bit of catching up to do for Nvidia.
If you have an AMD GPU, you should always keep your drivers up to date to ensure optimal performance. Here’s how to do it. If, on the other hand, you are an Nvidia owner, you should take a look at the excellent Nvidia Inspector tool for monitoring your graphics card.