One of the first questions people ask themselves when building or upgrading a PC is what kind of video card should I get? For the most part, hardware producer doesn’t matter, and the question becomes quite simply, “Nvidia or AMD?” Both are good for different tasks, and each has its own pros and cons.

AMD is relatively cheaper, and has overall better processing, computing, and memory bandwidth, with a higher amount of texture units to boot, but lacks in its memory clocks, and has a higher TDP (thermal design point). AMD is useful if you’re looking for a video card that won’t run the highest graphics but will ensure a good FPS in-game.

Nvidia is much more expensive, with newer cards ranging in the $1000 range. But they make up for this with sheer power, being easier to overclock, with the clock boosting giving a larger upgrade than overclocking an AMD would. However, because it doesn’t have the same processing and computing speed, the high quality images it renders are more prone to framerate drops as it takes longer to generate the graphics.

Both Nvidia and AMD have software, Nvidia using GeForce Experience, and AMD with Raptr. Both can monitor your performance in-game and recommend settings that would be considered optimal (though in my experience those settings are not always optimal, and have made games nigh unplayable before), and Nvidia has the added Physx feature, which adds new visual effects into supported games.

So, which should you get? It depends entirely on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a high framerate and don’t mind sacrificing visual quality to save a few hundred dollars, AMD is for you. But if money is no object and you want shinier graphics alongside Physx effects, then Nvidia is definitely the better choice. Personally I prefer Nvidia, though that is simply because I’ve never used AMD before, and I know Nvidia’s software, but AMD is just as good, just for different purposes.

~Chris Watson, Technical Intern