Picking the right Nvidia graphics card isn’t a walk in the park.
Undoubtedly, Nvidia is one of the leading manufacturers of graphics cards. It has an extensive lineup with different series and models, which is excellent since it unlocks many options for its takers.
However, it also complicates the buying decision. Due to these many available options, choosing the right Nvidia graphics card for a PC becomes difficult.
If you’re also looking for a powerful Nvidia graphics card but are overwhelmed by the many available options, we’ve got you covered.
This guide explains what to choose between Nvidia GTX & RTX, most straightforwardly. It explains how they differ, what features they offer, what they’re best for, and more.
Related: Picking up the perfect power supply for your PC.
What Is a Graphic Card?
A graphics card, also known as GPU, is one of the most essential components of any computer. Without a graphics card, one can’t play visually-appealing games, edit or render videos, use graphic-intensive heavy programs, or do anything that requires extra video memory to function.
Like motherboards, a graphics card is also a printed circuit board, making the PC more powerful and capable of handling heavier and more advanced tasks smoothly. It also increases the display’s viewing quality for an enhanced viewing experience.
The primary responsibility of a graphics card is to display images on the screen. It means whatever you see on your PC’s screen appears with the help of the graphics card on your computer.
There are two types of graphics cards: Integrated and Discrete. An integrated GPU is built along with the CPU. On the other hand, a discrete graphics card is a standalone chip added to the motherboard. But both GPUs offer similar features, as mentioned below:
- Huge Memory for Smoother Functioning
- Multiple Screen Support
- The capability of Gaming and Video Editing
- Better Display Quality
Nvidia has two major graphic card series, GTX & RTX. Further sections explain both of them, with their feature comparison to help you pick the best one for your use case.
What is the Nvidia GTX?
The GTX is part of Nvidia’s traditional graphics card lineup, started in 2008 with the release of GeForce GTX 260 graphics card. The last Nvidia GTX (1660 Ti) release was in 2019. And rumors say Nvidia can discontinue GTX lineup in favor of its advanced RTX series. Still, there is no official announcement as of this writing, so we will continue with this GTX section.
The term GTX stands for Giga Texel Shader eXtreme.
Texel and Shaders are an integral part of this term, as it’s what distinguishes it from the Nvidia RTX lineup. In layman’s language, Texel is an element in the texture. At the same time, the shader is simply a program that calculates the levels of light, darkness, color, and others while rendering a game scene.
But both work on providing an extraordinary performance no matter what you’re doing. When writing this, the GTX lineup has 3 GPU series: GTX 900, GTX 10, & GTX 16. All three series have varied graphics card models with various specs.
We are talking about all 3 GPU lineup’s specifications. The entire GTX 16 GPU series is based on the Turing architecture, which uses Ray Tracing (explained later), AI, and simulation to add more realism to the games. UNLIKE NVIDIA’S TOP RTX LINEUP, the GTX 16 series also comes with single precision or 1x FP32.
On the other hand, the GTX 10 series is built on the Pascal architecture, an upgraded version of the Maxwell architecture. It also supports ultra-fast FinFET and DirectX 12 features, enhancing the overall gaming performance.
At last, the entire GTX 900 graphics card series uses the Maxwell architecture, an upgraded version of the Kepler architecture. One thing that’s worth adding about Nvidia’s full GTX lineup is that it doesn’t integrate dedicated Ray Tracing and Tensor (AI) Cores.
Also, the entire GTX graphics card lineups are compatible with most free Nvidia software services, such as NVIDIA DLSS, NVIDIA Freestyle, Game Ready Drivers, NVIDIA ShadowPlay, NVIDIA Omniverse, and others. But as we said the word “most,” there are few services the GTX GPUs don’t support. For instance, this series isn’t compatible with NVIDIA Broadcast, which lets you improve the quality of your live streams, video & voice calls, etc., using AI.
Most importantly, Nvidia’s GTX lineup caters specifically to gamers. Not only this, but Nvidia also markets the entire GTX lineup as the best graphics card lineup for PC gamers. Additionally, it’s efficient in performing video editing tasks and scientific simulations smoothly.
What is the Nvidia RTX?
The RTX is the latest GPU lineup by Nvidia, first introduced in 2019. Moving ahead, the term RTX means Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme. At the time of writing this guide, there were three different graphics card series in Nvidia’s RTX lineup: RTX 20, 30, & 40.
The GPUs in the RTX 40 series are built on the Ada Lovelace architecture. It comes with 2x FP32 or double precision, which speeds up the graphic rendering process.
Also, this series integrates Gen 3 Ray Tracing (RT) Cores, improving the scene’s lighting and other essential elements, like reflections, shadows, refractions, etc., to make the games more realistic. Besides this, it also comes with Gen 4 Tensor (AI) Cores, which use AI to enhance overall gaming performance.
Conversely, the entire RTX 30 is built on Ampere architecture, an upgraded version of Volta and Turing architectures. Similar to RTX 40 series, GPUs in the RTX 30 series also come with 2x FP32 or double precision. However, they only come with Gen 2 RT Cores. They also have Gen 3 Tensor Cores that enhance gaming performance and experience.
Lastly, the RTX 20 GPU series is also based on the Turing architecture, like the GTX 60 series. As the number of series goes down, the number of streaming multiprocessors, RT Cores, and Tensor Cores decreases. Like, the RTX 20 only integrates 1x FP32, Gen 1 Ray Tracing (RT) Cores, and Gen 2 Tensor Cores. No doubt, they also provide good gaming performance, but not like Nvidia’s RTX 40 and 30 series.
Unlike the GPUs in the GTX lineup, the entire RTX lineup supports all Nvidia platforms, including DLSS, Reflex, Broadcast, GeForce Experience, Game Ready Drivers, and VR Ready.
Difference Between a GTX and RTX
We discussed Nvidia’s GTX and RTX GPU lineup in the previous section. To further simplify things, we’ve mentioned the critical differences between both. In the end, there is a comparison table to differentiate between both lineups.
1. Architecture: One of the primary differences between both lineups is the architecture they’re based on. The GTX lineup is built on Pascal and Turing architectures. And the RTX lineup is based on Ada Lovelace, Ampere, and Turing architectures. The architecture used in the RTX lineup is more potent than the architecture used in the GTX lineup.
2. Ray Tracing: Both GPU lineups support Ray Tracing. But the RTX lineup comes with dedicated Ray Tracing Cores. They have Ray Tracing cores ranging from Gen 1 to 3.
3. Streaming Multiprocessors (SM): Streaming multiprocessors are the next significant difference between the GTX and RTX GPU lineup. All GPUs in the GTX lineup come with 1x FP32 or single precision. At the same time, the RTX 40, 30, and 20 series features 2x FP32, 2x FP32, & 1x FP32, respectively. In short, more SMs means faster execution speed.
4. Tensor Cores (AI): The built-in Tensor Cores in RTX are another integral component that makes it much more powerful than the GTX. These cores deploy AI capabilities to improve the graphics, rendering speed, and overall performance.
5. DLSS: DLSS, also known as Deep Learning Super Sampling, is a tech that uses AI to multiply the graphics card’s performance to provide higher resolution and better frames. Here, the entire RTX lineup wins again over GTX with its supports for DLSS.
6. Tools: The best part about RTX and GTX graphics card lineup is that they support most Nvidia platforms, such as Nvidia Reflex, Nvidia GeForce Experience, Game Ready Drivers, ShadowPlay, etc. However, RTX is has a clear edge with support for more advanced software.
Check all supported Nvidia platforms here.
7. Price: Nvidia’s RTX graphics card lineup is much costlier than the GTX lineup, and it’s the most recent one and comes with many advanced technologies and specs.
Here is a quick comparison between both Nvidia GeForce GTX and GTX graphics card lineups:
|NVIDIA GeForce GTX||NVIDIA RTX|
|Full Form||Giga Texel Shader eXtreme||Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme|
|Architecture They’re Built On||Built on Pascal & Turing Architectures||Built on Ada Lovelace, Ampere, & Turing Architectures|
|Ray Tracing (RT) Cores||No||Yes|
|Turing NVIDIA Encoder (NVENC)||Only 16 series||Yes|
|Tensor Cores or AI Upscaling||No||Yes|
|Streaming Multiprocessors||1x FP32||2x FP32 in RTX 40 & 30 Series and 1x FP32 in the RTX 20 GPU Series|
|Cost||Less Expensive||Obviously, Expensive|
GTX vs. RTX: Which Is Better?
There you go! We’ve now discussed nearly everything in detail about Nvidia’s GTX and RTX GPU lineup, from what architecture they’re based on to what specifications they come with. This brings us to today’s final question: Is the Nvidia GTX better than the Nvidia RTX?
The answer to this depends on your desired performance, budget, and, most importantly, use case. If you want a GPU for heavy gaming or video editing with no budget restrictions, you must go with one of Nvidia’s RTX series GPUs, as it has the latest and most advanced tech that provides top-notch performance.
On the other hand, if you’re tight on your budget and need a decent performance, you can choose a GPU from Nvidia’s GTX series, as it also provides acceptable performance under budget.
At last, we hope this guide solved the primary purpose of explaining the difference between Nvidia’s GTX and RTX GPU lineup and helped you choose the right Nvidia graphics card for your PC. So I’ll say goodbye for now, and will see you with another tech dose soon.