Graphic Cards Deciphered

Graphic Cards Deciphered

Bigger is always better, right?  When it comes to your graphics card, this isn’t always the case.  Both AMD and nVidia use easily marketable combinations of letters and numbers to identify their GPUs, but this does not mean that the numbers are easy to understand. Lets dig into the names a little deeper and help you buy better.





nVidia has two dedicated graphics card series namely the ‘GT’ and the ‘GTX’ series for desktop computers. The GT series is a much lower in class of cards which are only suitable for multimedia and rich internet browsing and for very low powered games (eg. CS and DOTA) running at LOW settings. The GTX consists of much more powerful devices.

Let the generic name of your device be GTX ABC. Now the digit at position A stands for the generation of graphic card, mainly fromoting newer intercommunication technologies leading to faster clock cycles that the previous generations. This, however is not a major factor deciding the speed of the GC.

The next 2 digits BC stand for the class of the GC i.e. whether the belong to a lower end category or a performance category. X00-X35 are considered low end cards not suitable for 3D rendering and high demand applications. X45-X65 are the medium performance cards that can stream 1080p content at comfortable frame rates. The higher end of this category can even run demanding games at ultra setting in 60fps. the X70 and above and high performance cards suitable for multiple monitors high settings high fps extensive processing applications.


For example GT 610, GTX 630, GTX 640, GTX 650 all belong to 6th gen while  GT 710, GTX 730, GTX 740, GTX 750 belong to seventh gen. Obviously the capabilities of 710 are better than that of 610 but not appreciable. 610 and 710 both belong to the low end category while 670 and and 770 belong to the high end category.

Now we know bigger is better but does 750 perform better than a 660?

The answer lies in the amount of advancements made over the generation and by experience i can tell you that you can save a couple of thousand buy investing in an older generation and overclocking it just a little to achieve on par or even better performance than lower new gen models.

Any suffix like Ti or ‘Boost’ only mean a little extra power (say of about 200MHz GPU clock cycles)






Earlier it followed nVidia’s naming style wherein a card named HD XXXX, the first X represented the generation, and the next three described the relative performance of the card within that generation. So the 5000-series were named HD 5770, HD 5850, HD 5870. The 6000-series had HD 6850, HD 6870, HD 6950, HD 6970. For those old cards, the comparison was easy: As long as the cards were from the same series (5000, 6000 or 7000), then the higher numbered card was more powerful.

AMD’s new cards, on the other hand, are a whole different world.  With their latest generation of cards, AMD adopted a new and very unique naming scheme. They follow the RN NNN(X) convention where the first N represents the overall performance level, and the next three Ns indicate varying degrees of power within that range of cards.  An X at the end of the number refers to higher clock speeds, or a more powerful version of the card (R9 280 vs R9 280X)

In the 3 existing series R5,R7 and R9, R5 is unable for gaming purposes. While the other 2 provide better experience with higher being better followed the same way as in was by nVidia.

I hope this guide helps you design your rig just like you want to. Don’t forget to read other user’s reviews before buying. Happy shopping 🙂

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