Up For Debate - There Are Too Many Different Versions Of Every Graphics Card

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, Oct 15, 2016 4:00 PM

If you’ve ever shopped for a graphics card, and I’m presuming most of you have, you’ve probably ran into the wall of choices. And I’m just talking about whether to go GeForce or Radeon, or whether to pick up at an RX 460 or RX 470. No, I’m talking about the dozens upon dozens of variants of each and every individual graphics card, each with minute changes from one to another. Suddenly your bombarded by talk of TwinFrozr, copper heat pipes, chassis, and boost clocks. It’s confusing enough for us, but imagine what it’s like for complete newcomers to PC gaming.

Now, the end result of which graphics card you buy might not actually be all that important in the grand scheme of things. One might be a few percentage points faster than another. Or another may run totally silent. At the end of the day though, you’re getting a very slight variant of a single graphics card.

Let’s just pull out an example of how ridiculous it can get though. Take AMD’s Radeon RX 480. A great, popular card, sure. AMD add-in board partner XFX makes its own versions of the Radeon RX 480, including both the 8GB and 4GB models. The total number of RX 480 graphics available from XFX? 11. Seven 8GB variants and four 4GB versions. That’s a lot to take in and then to understand and know which is the best buy for you. As far as I can tell some models just come with slightly different coloured fans. Others have got some decent factory overclocks. At the end of the day though, they’re all just Radeon RX 480s.

So with all these minor changes between the graphics cards, you’d think it would be a simple case of picking the best one. But it’s not, as it turns out. Some promise markedly better performance, for a pretty hefty markup in price. Let’s take a look at MSI. To my knowledge they have four different GTX 1070’s. The cheapest is the Aero, which carries an MSRP of $419, while the most expensive is the Sea Hawk X, which will set you back $549. That’s over $130 more for what is the same core graphics card. By the time you get to the top end you’re really not far off a $600 GTX 1080. How is the average consumer expected to know which is the better buy.

So my question to you is - are there just too many variations of graphics cards to choose from? Or is a cause of the more choice the better? What do you look out for when buying yours?

Are there too many types of graphics cards?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
1,041
Offline
senior admin badge
12:03 Oct-16-2016

actually there are only very few really good models, such as EVGA Classified ACX, ASUS Strix, MSI TwinFrozr and maybe few more,
all the rest is just mediocre housing for mediocre gpu chips :D

5
Rep
106
Offline
admin approved badge
11:46 Oct-16-2016

Only EVGA... All those dif models from the 900 series made my head hurt >.&#60

0
Rep
94
Offline
11:06 Oct-16-2016

I think the best is to take the beefiest cooler for the cheapest price (windforce has a premium price tag though) and overclock it. Guarantee that you have similar performance at lower temps.

0
Rep
207
Offline
admin approved badge
11:30 Oct-16-2016

Gigabyte RX 480 is the worst aftermarket model i have seen in a few years the temps are equal to the reference models

0
Rep
210
Offline
admin approved badge
08:30 Oct-16-2016

It's great to have options but balance is the key for most things, too much or too little is bad no matter how you look at it.

5
Rep
67
Offline
admin approved badge
01:53 Oct-16-2016

It gives a little flavor for everyone


...the prices though

7
Rep
94
Offline
11:03 Oct-16-2016

Yes, I mean, when I bought my gpu:
4GB EVGA SSC: 218 euro
2GB EVGA SSC: 220 euro (wtf?)
2GB Windforce 3x: 270 euro (Premium price af, better get the cheapest 970)

1
Rep
67
Offline
admin approved badge
16:18 Oct-16-2016

when i bought mine it was $615
it then went up to $645 for 2 month and is now $619, same as Founder Edition...
stupid....
(all CDN $)

0
Rep
50
Offline
23:13 Oct-15-2016

my only issue with the shear number of different cards is that there are not many AIO AIB watercooled cards

1
Rep
17
Offline
23:04 Oct-15-2016

I believe the variety provided is not really the issue for me at least. I just feel that with all the different variants on the market, each card should be marketed and explained a bit better for the newer people coming to PC gaming. There are some cards which have much higher overclocking potential, other might be quiter and some few that are very specific in terms of the uses.

0
Rep
9
Offline
22:56 Oct-15-2016

More is Better.
and Only EVGA or Zotac.

0
Rep
83
Offline
22:31 Oct-15-2016

I only go for Msi or Asus, over the past years, prefer Msi twin frozr gpu's

0
Rep
14
Offline
22:24 Oct-15-2016

my first card was gtx 9800gt gainward.because i didn't know any thing about graphics(that one still works,bought at 2008).second was the 560 ti leadteck.was the best for the money i had (third best one at nvidia at the time with 570 and 580).now if u ask me im going NVIDIA ONLY and MSI ONLY.never the x80 always the x70.maybe soon ill switch to amd because they finally got some driver support and decent chips for far less $$$
this is purely my opinion

0
Rep
60
Offline
22:56 Oct-15-2016

Well they had driver support for a long while now and their chips were usualy cheaper than nvidias atleast in europe for me

0
Rep
95
Offline
21:35 Oct-15-2016

Its not really confusing for me. Just get the cheapest one that fits.

3
Rep
23
Offline
admin approved badge
21:27 Oct-15-2016

There are way to many variants of cards imo. It can be confusing for a person just starting out in the world of PC gaming to know what to get. On the other hand, it's great for enthusiasts. I for one, don't mind the variety of cards out there, but again, someone just starting out may have a really difficult time picking out the right card they need.


Personal preference:
Nvidia, I go with EVGA
AMD, I go with MSI or ASUS

1
Rep
7
Offline
22:22 Oct-15-2016

sapphire makes some good cards too

1
Rep
207
Offline
admin approved badge
23:21 Oct-15-2016

sapphire failed with RX

0
Rep
69
Offline
04:06 Oct-16-2016

how so?

1
Rep
207
Offline
admin approved badge
11:34 Oct-16-2016

@ErgoProxi the highest temps of all , the most power used out of all GPUs and VRAM chips get to hot sometimes plus the card has noise levels very high

0
Rep
132
Offline
11:04 Oct-16-2016

Nah, XFX are just as good.

0
Rep
50
Offline
21:16 Oct-15-2016

When i'm shopping for a new card I look at the model I want and buy the cheapest variant of it on whatever website im looking at, if there are overcooked ones. then I come on here to see the performance difference and decide if its worth it

1
Rep
2
Offline
20:23 Oct-15-2016

For AMD cards, generally Sapphire is the best choice (not always) and for NVIDIA EVGA (well I don't use NVIDIA cards to much so this opinion is from experience from the other people and internet reviews).And I'm talking mostly about the most reliable solution.

3
Rep
35
Offline
admin approved badge
18:54 Oct-15-2016

Just you unfortunately - my country shops have imported on average only 10 different RX480s in total, though its silly to see XFX have 11 different 480s. o-o


I've personally gone for the bang for the buck version out of my favourite brand when selecting a card, but as said earlier - Easier to do so here lol.

3
Rep
0
Offline
18:51 Oct-15-2016

I think it is good to have options in the market and that it encourages people to become more knowledgeable about PC hardware. I wish that there were more OC'd versions of the stock coolers for Nvidia at a decent price, I really like the design and it would look great in my build.

4
Rep
11
Offline
18:43 Oct-15-2016

we have just the enough cards and choose whatever we want at least in my country its only 3 4 brands and thats it

1
Rep
29
Offline
18:29 Oct-15-2016

Well why not

0
Rep
247
Offline
admin approved badge
18:27 Oct-15-2016

I'm all for more custom cooling versions.
But what I don't understand is when Asus,Gigabyte,MSI... take a reference card,change absolutely nothing and slap their name on it. What's the point? So you have like 5 different versions of the same card with the same cooling system and same everything.

3
Rep
59
Offline
17:46 Oct-15-2016

ASUS: I'm cool!
MSI: I'm hot!
Gigabyte: I rock!
sapphire: i AMD!
EVGA: i got you!
XFX: i burn you!

0
Rep
85
Offline
admin approved badge
17:58 Oct-15-2016

XFX 480 is coolest..

0
Rep
14
Offline
18:06 Oct-15-2016

best joke i have ever heard about rx 480 :D :D :D :D

-5
Rep
85
Offline
admin approved badge
18:10 Oct-15-2016

Sorry to burst you bubble but RX 480 GTR is actually coolest..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWASNajSdpg


I checked online and people get approx 63-64 avg at max load in closed cases..
OC is simply amazing.. It was almost on par with Fury at 1475 Mhz..

1
Rep
59
Offline
21:14 Oct-15-2016

nowadays GPUs Manufacturers are focusing more on the temp to not hit high levels even for the reference models

0
Rep
-11
Offline
11:54 Oct-16-2016

I have the xfx 480 gtr black edition and it barely goes over 65 with no OC.

0
Rep
59
Offline
21:09 Oct-15-2016

not judging just on the Rx GPU. cant say that to my friend's xfx 7970 DD

0
Rep
85
Offline
admin approved badge
13:25 Oct-16-2016

I only said about RX 480.

-1

Can They Run... |

| Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 3 3300X 4-Core 3.8GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E7500 2.93GHz Radeon R7 250X Sapphire 1GB Edition 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10870H 8-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
APU A10-9700E 4-Core 3.0GHz Radeon R5 M320 2GB 12GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Asus TUF Gaming 6GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Core i5-6500 3.2GHz GeForce GTX 1060 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3500 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Asus Phoenix OC 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1060 Gigabyte Windforce 2X OC 3GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-12700K 16-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Asus ROG Strix Gaming OC 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X Radeon RX 550X 4GB 24GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-10600KF 6-Core 4.10GHz Radeon RX 580 Asus Dual 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-11400F 6-Core 2.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 6G Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 Radeon RX 580 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-8086K 6-Core 4.0GHz GeForce GTX 980 4GB 32GB
| Low, 1080p
Core i5-7400 3.0GHz GeForce GTX 1050 Palit StormX 2GB 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gigabyte Aorus Master 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 4k
Core i9-10900KF 10-Core 3.70GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super MSI Ventus XS OC 8GB 64GB