Nvidia Graphics Cards Buying Advice
Since 1993 NVIDIA has been at the cutting edge of computer graphics, designing and manufacturing video cards for a variety of high-end applications-most notably positioning itself as a world leader of gaming visuals. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, GPUs from NVIDIA are found in the very best PC systems and workstations all around the world; with only AMD offering any viable competition to the company’s current ascendency.
NVIDIA’s commitment to innovation has led to numerous technological milestones throughout the company’s history. These include developments in the gaming, professional visualization, datacentre and auto sectors. NVIDIA products are also be found in laptops, smartphones, tablets, games consoles, as well as navigation and entertainment systems. However, within the gaming industry, NVIDIA’s highly respected GeForce technology is an iconic and ubiquitous part of the company’s market position.
Designed to be used in accelerated computing platforms, Nvidia’s Tesla class of graphics cards provide the most amount of benefit for those working with data center workloads. Engineered to be used for general-purpose computing, the Tesla GPU essentially works as an accelerator for complex data sets and parallel computing. Designed from an architectural standpoint, the Tesla can be applied to software development and simulation-based programming, commonly found within scientific research, engineering, super computer workstations, A.I. development, automotive design, virtual computing and server-based systems.
Nvidia’s Quadro GPUs have been engineered to provide professional users who work within 3D rendering and CAD applications, the architectural design of Quadro GPUs allows for GPU-accelerated computing for use in CUDA applications. Quadro GPUs also hold a great number of benefits when being used in video-editing software through the means of CUDA support.
Designed to be used in systems which have been built for casual uses such as internet browsing and media playback, GeForce GT GPUs enhance the capabilities of these features and can provide the necessary means for multi-monitor setups.
As Nvidia’s mainstream consumer product, the GeForce GTX class of GPUs are aimed solely towards gamers. Providing a wide range of features and specifications to enhance the gaming experience, GeForce GPUs allow for greater overclocking and a wide selection of custom designs from third-party vendors.
- GeForce GTX Gaming Performance Tier
As new Graphics cards are released, with each generation providing a significant improvement over the prior – whether it be through the means of increased clock speeds, energy-efficiency, a raise in core count, additional memory or a smaller GPU die-size, owners of previous generation GPUs can expect on-going driver support with the latest generation of GPUs, therefore seeing improved performance as time goes on.
With the vast amounts of improvements that each generation brings, the performance tier for previous GPUs sees an adjustment as to how well the stack up against the latest GPUs. For owners of a High-End graphics card of the previous generation, the improvements that arrive with the latest GPUs will see the performance of the current graphics card fall somewhere between the performance measurement that’s offered by the latest Mid-Tier and High-End GPUs. For those with previous generation Mid-Tier GPUs, the performance that’s offered by the latest Mid-Tier graphics cards will see a modest improvement of their current graphics cards. Due to the architectural improvements that arrive with each generation, gamers can expect to see improved performance even if the specifications for a GPU indicate otherwise.
It’s within these improvements to the design of the GPU itself or a shift to an entirely new manufacturing process that allows the latest graphics cards to perform superior to the prior generation, even in such cases where the specifications may be lower. Cards with a model number ending in “50” (GTX 1050) are aimed at entry-level enthusiasts seeking a gaming experience equal or greater than that of a gaming console – at full high-resolution gaming (1080p). GPUs ending in “60” (GTX 1060) will be graced with superior visual improvements and higher framerates, making them ideal for greater than high-resolution gaming (1440p). Those seeking nothing but the best with a no-compromise approach to gaming will want to purchase a GPU on the higher-end, such as those ending in “70” or “80” or “Titan” (GTX 1080).
These cards are best suited for ultra high-resolution gaming (4K) or multi-monitor set-ups. Amongst the variety of GPUs, Nvidia also designs improved versions of specified cards known as the “Ti” models. The current iteration of “Ti” is available within the “50” model – the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050Ti. “Ti” models provide a performance metric that falls between the two different tiers of cards, such as the GTX 1050 and GTX 1060. Available in mobile form-factors, Nvidia GPUs designed for gaming laptops feature an “M”, corresponding to their model number (980M, 1060M, 1070M etc.)
Gaming laptops featuring GeForce GTX 9 Series GPUs feature both mobile and desktop based GPUs, with the nomenclature “GeForce GTX 980M” as an indication of the mobile architecture.Mobile-based GPUs are specifically designed for power restrictions and thermal limits of laptop form factors. As a result, GeForce GTX 9 Series GPUs classified with an “M” will see a reduction in clock speeds, core count and in some cases differences in memory. Where the GeForce GTX 980M shares identical performance to the desktop GTX 970, the GeForce GTX 970M sees similar performance to the desktop GPU, the GTX 960.
As the construction of gaming laptops has continued to improve and the energy-efficiency of desktop GPUs has become suitable for the space restraints of a mobile system, Nvidia now provides the desktop GeForce GTX 980 and the GeForce GTX 10 Series GPUs for gaming laptops. Offering the same performance as the desktop GPUs, gaming laptops featuring the GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 10 Series GPUs deliver identical gaming experiences as those featured in a desktop gaming PC. Due to the architectural improvements in energy-efficiency and GPU temperatures, GeForce GTX 10 Series allow for overclocking and dual-GPU configurations, improving the performance for on-the-go gaming.
Developed exclusively by Nvidia, those who own Nvidia-based GPUs are provided with a great number of technologies and features, all designed to take advantage of their graphics cards. Through the means of software integration and working with game developers, Nvidia’s proprietary GameWorks library allows for enhanced visual effects which have designed to function on Nvidia Gpus, Those such as PhysX, HairWorks, TXAA and ShadowWorks allow for dynamic destruction, physics-based simulation of hair, fur and environmental foliage, filmic anti-aliasing techniques to reduce jagged edges, and accurate simulation of rendering shadows. While the GameWorks library features a number of features, they are primarily geared towards enhancing the visual characteristics of games which feature realistic graphics.
As the frame rate of a game is largely dynamic, depending on the GPU and the graphical quality that the gamer has chosen to experience their game, consistency may differ on a scene-by-scene basis. This may cause frame rates to scale between 40 to 60, 80 to 100 or anywhere in between. Since displays are locked to a refresh rate of 60Hz, 75Hz, 120Hz, 144Hz or 240Hz, should the player decide to play without V-Sync (Software technology which locks the frame rate to the refresh rate in order to smooth the gameplay, which in some cases may cause stuttering) screen tearing may occur.
In order to combat this issue, Nvidia has developed an adaptive synchronization display technology which allows for the display to match the output of the frame rates being rendered by the GPU, which in-turn eliminates stutter and screen tearing with minimal visibility of variable frame rates. This technology is known as G-Sync, and is featured on a large number of gaming displays manufactured by Asus, Acer, and AOC.
Making sure owners of Nvidia GPUs gain the most from the system, Nvidia allows for multiple graphics cards to be utilized in parallel, giving way for almost X2 the performance of a single graphics card. Known as SLI (Scalable Link Interface), when two identical GPUs are installed in a single system – such as two GTX 1070s or two GTX 1080s, by synchronising the rendering output through an SLI Bridge, games will see improved performance if it implemented correctly by the game developers.
Gaining popularity throughout the most recent years, game streaming continues to reel in an online audience where competition, entertainment, and tips for overcoming the toughest of challenges prove to be the defining factor for interaction within the gaming community. By allowing owners of Nvidia GPUs to record gameplay and broadcast their gaming experience, Nvidia’s GeForce Experience application has been developed for gamers looking to gain the most from their gaming PC.
Expanding the GeForce GTX gaming platform beyond the PC and to that of a single room, Nvidia’s GameStream technology allows gamers to play their games from their local gaming PC, anywhere in their home where the happens to be a display. By taking advantage of Nvidia’s Shield gaming tablet or Shield TV streaming box, gamers can stream games from their PC with maximum graphical quality at full performance. This means gamers will not have to move their PC should they wish to game in another room, all they need is a wired or wireless internet connection and they’re fulfilled the requirements for in-home streaming.