Today I wanted to cover two companies that have been responsible for pushing the envelope on how amazing computers can be at outputting more realistic graphics with each newly developed video card. Of course these companies are: NVIDIA and AMD. Both NVIDIA and AMD have essentially created the market for high end Graphic Processing Units (GPUs), technically NVIDIA created the first GPU in 1999. Conversely, AMD was the first company to develop APUs (Accelerated Proessing Units)
The Battle: These two competitors have been fighting for complete pixelated domination over computer graphics since NVIDIA came out with the GPU in 1999. AMD is mainly a processor manufacturing company but applied its computer knowledge to make some of the strongest video cards on the market today! Currently NVIDIA is looking to come back from defeat with its newer “Fermis” model video card which is a more improved Fermi card (hopefully one that uses less power!) Now lets look at each competitor to see who comes out stronger.
In This Corner: NVIDIA is my personal favorite when it comes to video card manufacturers and also seems to be the company holding the stronger foothold in some key functionality areas.
- Direct X 11-NVIDIA cards are very compatible with Direct X 11 and Direct X compatibility of more recent cards comparable to Direct X compatibility of recent AMD video cards.
- Display Support- More new NVIDIA graphics cards sport slightly more robust support for DisplayPort 1.2, which allows ONE NVIDIA card to manage enhanced graphics for up to 6 display monitors.
- Stereoscopic 3D Support- NVIDIA 3D Support is pretty amazing (Check out this video! YouTube, you might need 3D glasses.) The main issue with NVIDIA 3D capabilities is the required 120HZ refresh rate for the monitor you’re using. SLI setup however, running two or more identical 3D capable video cards, allows you to power 3 monitors with the required refresh rate for amazing 3d graphics across three screens.
- Power Consumption- More recent NVIDIA cards are much less power intensive than previous models but competitively speaking are still not as efficient as AMD video cards.
- HD Video Encoding- The newer NVIDIA video card models feature the latest HD encoding support such full H.264 Decode Acceleration.
- Strongest, Newest Contender- If you are willing to spend around $540.00 USD then the EVGA GTX 580 SC is one of the strongest NVIDIA cards out there today. This card is very power intensive (requires around 395 W/32 A. at max. power) and does not support DisplayPort 1.2. Click here for more info. Remember the EVGA model is overclocked slightly higher than the original model giving the card a higher output and making the graphics that much better.
& In The Other Corner: AMD has made a reputation based on efficiency and productivity and so it comes as no surprise ATI graphic card models consist of some of the strongest available in the market. Usually the downside to ATI cards seems to be the lifetime of the cards. The stronger they are the harder they fall! But here are some notes on AMD and its beastly cards.
- Direct X 11- AMD sports equal support for Direct X 11 as does NVIDIA. Both cards function equally as well having some games perform better on either type of card.
- Display Support- Guaranteed DisplayPort 1.2 support. In other words, these cards are built for multidisplay functionality, allowing the user to connect 3 different monitors with just one ATI Radeon 6000 card! This along with the fact that NVIDIA does not explicitly support DisplayPort 1.2 is a win for AMD.
- Stereoscopic 3D Support- Conversely, AMD recently implemented 3D surround vision with its newer models where NVIDIA already had it implemented since 2009 with the announcement of 3D Vision (click here).
- Power Consumption- Another positive consistent factor using AMD powered video cards is its reputation in power consumption. ATI Radeon video cards tend to usually consume less power than NVIDIA video cards and although NVIDIA has decreased the wattage required for newer models, on average, the cards are still using slightly more than AMD cards.
- HD Video Encoding-Another strong suit for AMD video cards such as the ATI Radeon 6000 series is very robust support for HD video encoders. All the major encoders are supported with these cards such as: VC-1 and H.264.
- Strongest, Newest Contender- One of the most newest models out right now for AMD video cards is the XFX Radeon HD 6970. This card is a veritable animal. 2 GB frame buffer, two 1.2 DisplayPort ports for multi display support and DDR5 memory support it almost beat the NVIDIA GTX 580 SC when rated in this article. But fell short due to <%100 of output used and pricing issues.
Winner?: NIVIDIA GTX 580 SC. On top of being my favorite video card manufacturing company, NVIDIA met its competition with its latest models head on in terms of performance and output but really differentiated itself with the price. On average when I checked Amazon the GTX 580 SC was being offered at around $399.00 USD while the XFX Radeon HD 6970 was around $349.99 USD. Just $50.00 more for higher output and better quality.
–EZPC Recycling, Inc. CEO, Miguel Bautista Mzuniga@EZPCRecycle.com