The Big Question: AMD Or NVIDIA?

Image: Kotaku

Amidst all the No Man's Sky hype and the kerfuffle over the Australian Census, I've been trying to finish benchmarking one of the latest grahpics cards from AMD — the RX 470. Hopefully, time permitting, you'll be able to read about that very soon.

But it got me thinking. For those of you who play on PC, what graphics card do you lean towards?

It's an interesting time for PC builders. There's very clear choices at the bottom end and the top end of the market. You've got your GTX 1070 and 1080's, cards clearly meant for people who want to spend $1500 or more on their total setup, cards for people who want to be playing at 4K. And then for people who want to build a cheap Steam box, people who just want to get into PC gaming at the lowest possible cost, you have a bunch of new cards from AMD.

The big question is really around that $300 to $500 mark. That's where the most competition is at least in Australia for the new graphics cards. You've got the RX 470, RX 480, but also NVIDIA's GTX 1060. You'll have to pay around $600, maybe a fraction less, if you want to step up to the GTX 1070 and enjoy hassle-free 1440p gaming.

But that's out of a lot of people's budgets. And some people don't have a graphics card at all — they merely game on their laptops, relying on the power of integrated graphics from the AMD APUs or an Intel i5 or i7 CPU.

So for those of you who bought your own PC, built your own PC, or are looking to do so, what side of the fence did you fall on? AMD, NVIDIA, or neither?


    Nvidia. Everytime I've researched AMD cards the same thing keeps coming back, their driver support is still abysmal.

      Their drivers have been crap since the Riva tnt. I'm not sure how the problems have persisted through ownership changes, but I'm pretty sure it's some kind of curse.

        ummm am i interpreting your statement wrong? wasn't the Riva TNT a Nvidia card, not an AMD card?
        so the Nvidia drivers have been bad since the TNT days?

          Nah, I just couldn't remember the name of the card at the time, so just referenced the generation. A bunch of us built PC's at that time, some went with tnt's, one bought a matrox, and a few got the rage 128.

          That's when the troubles started.

          Incidentally, if you alt tabbed half life with the matrox it would turn all of the walls translucent. Massive trolling potential in early CS.

            From the AMD camp I've had a 7870, and 290. From Nvidia 770, and currently a 980ti

            I've had driver issues from both camps, nothing that has been game breaking(waited a long time for Batman Arkham Knight, and don't play GTA).

            I don't usually buy games on release day though so that skews my views. (Excluding the Witcher games and Doom)

            AMD seems to be pulling themselves back up, and Nvidia needs to figure out Directx 12

      Errrm? If you paid any attention in the last two years, you would see the opposite is now true.

        My last upgrade was early 2014, so I haven't actually paid that much attention in the last 2 years. Might consider AMD when I do my next upgrade.

          They've completely re-written their drivers, hence now being marketed under a different name (Crimson).

      New drivers are pretty good. Much, much better than before.

      They're more stable than they used to be.

      The thing that utterly shits me about AMD drivers though is that the installer packages unsolicited shitware and doesn't make it at all obvious that it's going to install it, so suddenly you find it's installed or reinstalled bullshit like Raptr and PlaysTV.

      Ignorant lies. Every time I research Nvidia cards I see they have problems with their drivers.

    Don't want to get into an argument or anything, but I have always been a Nvidia guy...except one time I went with AMD and lets just say it caused me quite a few headaches. Mind you that was a few years ago now (around 6 I think) and from what I hear the gap is closing in regards to drivers etc so my opinion is probably invalid now. Now I figure if it isn't broken don't fix it. I'll be a NVidia guy unless something crazy happens sometime in the future.

    Full disclosure, I own a Titan X and always tend to have top of the line cards, so that is also a factor.

    I'm NVIDIA myself but always get a bit jealous of those with an AMD card in winter time and how their GPUs can double as a heater...

      I had an X800 Pro that somehow survived operating temps of 80 degrees...

    I recently built a new PC and chose the RX 480 because for the price point the performance at 1080p was great according to benchmarks.

    Seeing as I'm not changing my monitor anytime soon it seemed like the best deal. Being able to play the Witcher 3 with every setting on maximum and have it run at 60fps is pretty nice.

    Used nVidia for years with little to no problems so I've always stuck with them.

    Only time was with a nVidia 6600GT; could not figure out why the computer kept crashing but I think it was because I had both a Usicase PSU (don't get me started) and due to a lack of Internet could not easily update Windows.

    Currently sporting GTX 960 in SLi. Not much on the game front due to the 2GB RAM in each but I'm gonna have a boat load of fun CUDA programming on them, :D

      Same here. I used to have 6600 GT and it crashed quite often. It gave me BSOD and lots of headache. Well, I use AMD HD 7870 now so all good.

    When I game on PC its on a laptop, every time I see the "nVidia" logo on startup I cringe because I just know the game is going to run like shit. I can run any Source, Unreal or Cryengine game, native res, medium detail without any issues. As soon as the developer throws in some of that propriety nVidia tricks then I can barely run the game at 800x600 lowest detail. Need to look online for registry and config hacks to get the game to run and I shouldn't have to.

    While AMD isn't ontop of drivers like nVidia are, I blame game devs for not putting simple checks into their game. If the card isn't nVidia, don't enable fancy nVidia-only hair effects or PhysX. Yes the game will look better on an nVidia card, but thats better than the game running at sub-10fps.

    I was Nvidia until the Fury X - having a watercooled gpu sounded pretty sweet (already running a watercooled cpu) and it looked and sounded impressive.. i did my research and had reservations about driver support but i'm happy with my purchase to date - it doesnt run too hot, i'm playing games in 4k with very little issues (my twin 4k monitors from officeworks were a bad idea) and checking for updates over the last week i've had 3 updates so i don't think driver support is an issue

    that said i've been eyeing off the nvidia GTX range recently and if i was in the market they would probably get my money.. I don't like fanboy'ing when it comes to purchasing just buying what i think will work for me at the time i have money burning a hole in my pocket..

    In the midmarket, I don't think its really a contest. The RX 480 outstrips the 1060 when given almost any DX12\Vulkan game, and thus will remain relevant longer. It really simply comes down to Pascal is still a DX11\OpenGL orientated architecture where as AMD has been angling its GCN architecture for this scenario for a long time.

    Also, can the outright FUD about AMD drivers stop. We've seen a concerted effort from AMD on its driver front the last two years, to the point where cards like the 7970 (which was slower than a GTX 680 on launch) is now faster than a GTX 780. Combined with other efforts, and Nvidia performance tanking on older cards with newer games, and such fuck ups as power management on pascal cards causing artifacting on high refresh monitors, I would make the argument that AMD drivers are now superior.

    Full disclosure: I own a 1080.

    I don't really care, I buy whatever suits me at the time.
    Last year, that was the Titan X, this year it is 3x RX480.
    I work in film restroration and 3D modelling, and gaming is a secondary hobby. Last year, nothing could touch the Titan X in Catia, Solidworks and Davinci Resolve, this year a single RX480 is faster in those apps than the Titan X was, and less than 1/3rd the price. The drivers seem fine on the 480, and with 3 of them in the system, my software absolutely flies.
    With gaming it goes more than fast enough for my needs, so currently AMD, in another 18 months, it will be whomever has the best compute for the price, and so it goes.

    ive always been an AMD guy. i dont have anything against NVidia, and im really rooting for AMD to do well. people who claim to have driver issue with AMD, im not sure whether its because you have nvidia drivers still hanging about in the system or something else, but with 3 AMD cards over the last 9 years, i have NEVER had any driver issues.

    to be honest im secretly waiting for Samsung to purchase AMD and give them the financial boost they need to truly be back on par with the top end card market but with a better price point. not saying they cant currently do that, but its usually at a cost like power consumption.

    others complaining about heat - i cant really comment, but ive pushed my cards pretty hard, and never thought that they get too hot. but i realise what i consider pushing hard, might not be as hard was what others push their cards.

    I was primarily a Nvidia user the last few years however I started noticing that while Nvidia cards start out really powerful they seem to get worse performance over time as Nvidia seems to optimise the hell out of games for launch day then never bothers to look at them again so if anything in the game changes performance tanks.

    Here are two graphs for fallout 4, one at launch day and one for 6 months later after a few patches.

    The difference is staggering. Here is the full video for anyone interested.

    It has made me hold off getting a 1080 in the hope that AMD releases something competitive soon.

    Last edited 10/08/16 12:10 pm

      wow, thats really interesting. didnt even think about that, even though its logical.
      cool to see the improvements in fps with obvious driver updates from AMD cards.


    I get what ever is the best gpu I can afford at the time, be it green or red.

    3DFX yo

      hahaha I miss my old 3dfx cards! Strangely, I was just thinking about them the other day when I went to play something that I used to run on my 3dfx cards! They were so good for their time!

    Mostly nVidia, the last AMD/ATI card I owned was the 9700Pro. Currently have a GTX970 G1 Gaming.

    I like quiet, cool, efficient - AMD has had some shockers over the years when it comes to these points. (I'm aware nVidia has too with their GTX480)

    The next time I'm looking to buy a card I will consider AMD as it looks like they on the right track with the 480.

    lol, was this a real question? :D

    We all knew the answer already...

    Good drivers? nvidia.
    Fastest cards on the market? nvidia.

    For the majority of people, does anything else matter? lol

      Nvidia cards don't get the same kind of long term support as AMD cards, once the 980 came out they didn't give a crap about optimising drivers for the 780 so it performed worse than some very cheap cards from the 900 series despite having much more power on paper and being incredibly expensive.

      My 290x gets better with month that passes while my GTX 980 gets worse.

      wow, narrow sightedness much. take you're trolling elsewhere, this isnt the dota or LoL community boards dude.

      Like comparing Stark and Hammertech

    My vote was Both but the option wasnt available.

    I've used Nvidia for the last few PC's I've had, but they've been really shitting the bed with their drivers of late. I've been on the same one since April due to the horror stories that have been coming out of /r/nvidia

      I remember when alien isolation came out having to roll back almost a year of drivers to get a stable one that didn't crash on every cut scene.

    I've had both and currently still have both. I've been into computers since '98 and have upgraded cards probably at least every 2 years since then.

    For the last 3 years or so I've been using an AMD HD7970 in my rig and it has NEVER put a foot wrong. It's a great card and one that I can't imagine anyone having a beef with. AMD is good :)

    The older AMD drivers weren't as nice to use as nVidia's, but their new ones are much better than before.

    Today I got my new card. A GTX 1080. I had the money and I feel like I've waited long enough for a good upgrade. The AMD card goes into the family's lounge machine where hopefully it will run well for more years to come. It still beasts most games at 1080p. The 1080 goes into the work machine. But obviously I am going to play a few games on it as well. How could I not? Can't wait to see what it can do at 4k.

    Both companies are making some really good cards. nVidia does some things better, but you pay a real premium for that. And honestly? In most cases it is not worth spending the extra cash. The AMD cards are really nice and they should make all but the most discerning of gamers very, very happy.

    I'm in the nvidia camp myself. Originally went with nvidia over ati when I moved on from my 3dfx cards, and stuck with them through the early years due to many complaints over ATI drivers at the time. Now I stick with them mostly cos of CUDA and acceleration support for apps I use.

    Been team green for years, but now they're far too expensive for me (yes even the 1060). So yea moving on to AMD.

    Last edited 10/08/16 2:17 pm

    Usually I just set a price point and buy whatever is best bang for buck. Brand rarely comes into play unless there is a special feature I'm looking for.

    side note: happy to see so many personal opinions and reasons why people use what they use without any brand bashing. wow, comments sections have really come a long way. well done team.

    Mostly an AMD guy as they are better value for money. They also support their cards for a lot longer than Nvidia do. My 7870 is still able to play the Witcher 3 quite well and has really only shown its age now with Doom.
    I haven't had any driver issues with AMD cards for a very long time (at least 6 years) and the 470 / 480 looks like getting my money this time around as well as they sit nicely in the $300 - $400 price bracket.

    Nvidia for the high-end, AMD for the midrange and integrated intel GPUs for the low end.

    NVIDIA. As a Linux gamer AMD doesn't offer anywhere near enough support. NVIDIA has complete OpenGL 4.5 support on all cards. It just works. Most of the GPU issues I've experienced have been due to bad RAM on the motherboard not the video card setup. Even the open source support for NVIDIA cards is ahead of AMD with nouveau offering full OpenGL 4.3 support and in 3 more extensions full OpenGL 4.5 support.

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