Up For Debate - Which Top-End Nvidia GeForce or AMD Radeon GPU is the Best Buy in 2018?

Written by Jon Sutton on Fri, Sep 21, 2018 5:37 PM

The floodgates are now open. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and GeForce RTX 2080 are making their way into gamers’ hands. We’re inundated with reviews and benchmarks, detailing precisely how these new graphics cards perform. Sort of. There aren’t many Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) benchmarks available, and no actual gameplay whatsoever, while RTX ray tracing is completely non-existent until games actually start supporting it.

The first game to support ray tracing is likely going to be Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Lara’s latest launched last week and Eidos Montreal has promised there’ll be a patch soon. Then there’s Battlefield V, which was delayed to November 20th. Aside from that though, there aren’t really and headline-grabbing examples of how the full potential of the RTX 20 Series graphics cards can be used.

For now, we’re going to have to be satisfied with the raw performance gains over the previous generation. On that front, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti impresses. It’s the fastest graphics card in the world right now by a fair margin, outstripping the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti by about 35% in 4K gaming benchmarks. It’s exactly what you’d hope for when splashing out $1199 on a GPU though.

Perhaps a little more disappointing is the $799 GeForce RTX 2080. This new GPU does exactly what we’d expect, running neck and neck with the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. The only problem is the RTX 2080 is $100-150 more expensive than the GTX 1080 Ti. It does have the potential benefits of DLSS and ray tracing, but these are all still relative unknowns, so it’s fairly hefty price premium for a hope and a promise, rather than anything concrete.

Finally, for Nvidia, we have the current GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. More than a year old now, Nvidia’s previous flagship still offers performance that rivals the GeForce RTX 2080, only at a slightly more affordable price tag. Shop around for a refurb or second-hand model and you could find yourself with a bargain. The downside, naturally, is that it will never support DLSS or ray-tracing. For all we know, its performance could be left in the dust once DLSS support is widespread.

Last but not least, we have AMD’s only competitor in this area, the Radeon RX Vega 64. In fairness, this GPU is actually on par with a GeForce GTX 1080 rather than a 1080 Ti, so it’s undoubtedly the weakest of the bunch. It’s not exactly cheap itself, but it does come equipped with HBM2 memory and can compete with Nvidia in certain benchmarks, Vulkan in particular. There’s little denying that AMD has ceded the top end to Nvidia for now though, and those seeking the absolute best in performance are being forced to head to Team Green.

Four top-end graphics cards then, and one decision - which enthusiast GPU is the best buy in 2018? Should you stick to AMD? Does the GTX 1080 Ti sound like a bargain compared to the RTX 20 Series? Get voting and let us know why below!

Which High-End Graphics Card is the Best Buy in 2018?

Our favourite comments:

I have a feeling Nvidia are selling the 2080Ti overpriced to get rid of their 1080Ti stock, once that's all gone, watch the 2080Ti price drop.

dadada4

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22:17 Sep-22-2018

I have a feeling Nvidia are selling the 2080Ti overpriced to get rid of their 1080Ti stock, once that's all gone, watch the 2080Ti price drop.

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09:38 Sep-23-2018

They are selling the gtx 1080ti overpriced XD
And no the price will not drop when they sell out the gtx 1080ti, the price didn't fall for the gtx 1080ti when they sold out the gtx 980ti...

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18:44 Sep-29-2018

Mainly because of mining.

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17:28 Sep-22-2018

GTX 1080 Ti is the best value for money proposition at the moment.

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13:41 Sep-22-2018

I really don't get this bulls**t "The Founders Edition version of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti rings up for an almost obscene $1,199" Well a GTX 1080 Ti cost +1000 USD here in my County so wtf... Then the RTX in Croatia will cost +2000USD, right?

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11:53 Sep-22-2018

Best performance: no brainer, it is 2080ti. But the question was Best Buy, which is imho the combination of performance, power consumption + general efficiency and price as well. So 1080ti seems to win.

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11:09 Sep-22-2018

Not a fanboy but when it comes to performance per watt it seems team green beats team red every single time. Amd always plays catchup. Nvidia is for the most part 1 generation ahead of amd at all times so geforce would be the best buy.

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11:43 Sep-22-2018

AMD always plays catch up?
Nvidia played catch up from 2008-2016... Pascal was their first architecture to actually have more performance per die area.
The HD4870 was 25% slower than the gtx 280 that was a 2x times bigger die Chip. AMD's mid-range was 25% slower than Nvidia's top end.
Same with the HD5870 and gtx 480, but in that case AMD was only 10% slower, for at a 40% lower price and a mid-range AMD vs high-end Nvidia chip...
HD6970 was 60% cheaper for 15% less performance than the gtx 580, again a mid-range vs high-end chip.
HD7970 was 10% faster than the gtx 680, but had weak drivers for the first year, so it got better with time...
r9 290 was an upper mid-range 441mm^2 chip for 350-400$ that was 10-15% slower than a high-end chip gtx 780ti 561mm^2 for 700$... -_-

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11:47 Sep-22-2018

And I'm not defending AMD or anything, these are just facts... AMD are idiots as they cut their R&D budget for their GPU division since GCN 1.0 in 2011, betting on everything being integrated by 2020 and they were wrong. They have barely improved their architecture since 2011 and GCN 1.0... they don't seem to be planning anything special either.


The reason Nvidia GPUs consume less power than AMD GPUs, is because when Nvidia re-branded their "stream processors" to "Cuda Cores", they removed tons of functionality that wasn't very widely used in 95% of the time, Nvidia GPUs also don't have asynchronous engines, they don't support a ton C standard and many C++ libraries and various other programming languages, that's why they made CUDA to compensate for all that.

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11:50 Sep-22-2018

Also, Nvidia heavily relies on Delta Color Compression, to compress the bandwidth needed for the tasks their GPUs do, to cut the bus width which also reduces power consumption, but that works in games for example, but not in computing calculation. Which is why AMD's GPUs so far have always been preferred for raw compute performance.

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11:51 Sep-22-2018

AMD was also the first to overprice a mid-range GPU and call it high-end. The HD7970 has a 352mm^2 die and came out costing 550$ in 2011, when the HD6970 was a 389mm^2 die GPU that came out costing 350$ in 2010 only a year earlier... Greedy bastards...

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12:11 Sep-22-2018

Dang man... you know your stuff xD

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13:12 Sep-22-2018

@JMG998
Thanks bro.Too bad there are people here that don't believe anything anyone says, unless the company itself says it... THE COMPANY... the one with the most insentive to lie you and they do it all the time XD


After all it's cheaper to be sued, that to tell the truth and not scam your competition and your customers... sad but true.

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02:14 Sep-27-2018

The HD6950 was the last card that I bought from AMD because they were over pricing the HD79XX series. I switched to a GTX 670. An additional factor was the rather lackluster support of AMD HD3D in monitors. Where you could find 20 different monitors that either supported nVidia's 3DVision or had it integrated, you could only find 4 or 5 that supported HD3D and they were always out of stock.

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06:25 Sep-27-2018

@MasterZoen the gtx 670 was a 294mm^2 die GPU that came out costing 400$ MSRP, the gtx 560 was a 332mm^2 die GPU that came out costing 200$ MSRP a year earlier...

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11:02 Sep-22-2018

gtx 1060 for normal people who just want to play

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13:52 Sep-22-2018

Right now it's the only sensible choice - would wanna put here also the RX 570/580, but the prices are still beyond ridiculous...
The GTX 1060 is not to be over-praised as well - its BARELY at its MSRP price - from two years ago... Hope the newxt GTX 2060 comes are a decent price, 'cause if the roomers are true, its gonna be a ****-storm - -300 Euro as a starting price pfff, good luck with that

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15:26 Sep-22-2018

In my country:
RX 580 = 210 euro
RX 570 = 190 euro
gtx 1060 3GB = 190 euro
gtx 1060 6GB = 240 euro
For 2.5 year old cards... -_-
By now they should have fallen to 130-150 euro at the very least...

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10:33 Sep-23-2018

In Finland:
RX 580 = 350€
RX 570 = 260€
GTX 1060 3GB = 260€
GTX 1060 6GB = 280€


.....
You should be happy

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11:12 Sep-23-2018

Average Salary in my City is 453 euro before 20% tax and 3-5% insurance XD
And believe me, the average is inflated.


In my country, you either 1.work for Yourself, 2.work as a Doctor, 3.Engineer, 4. as a LawMan, or 5.you get less than average salary, with the first 4x options inflating the average salary quite a bit XD

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11:15 Sep-23-2018

The other 6th option is if you or your dad, grandad had connections when we were under the USSR Pseudo-Socialistic rule(what people call Communism, but isn't/wasn't) and got tons of land, apartments and other assets for free... -_-

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16:39 Sep-23-2018

Not that I don't agree, but at this point we should be glad if the MSRP is kept as a bare minimum at least xD

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10:43 Sep-22-2018

From those 1080ti without a shadow of a doubt. The gtx 2080 is more expensive basically the same +/- 5% performance and the gtx 2080ti is about 2x times more expensive(I found brand new 1080tis for 600$/euro, the RTX 2080ti is 1200$/euro) for a 22-24% more performance at 1440p and 30-34% more performance at 4k... And all the rtx 2080(Ti) reviews are done with overclocked GPUs by Nvidia... so the ones we buy might be 5-10% slower than that... just bad value...


Vega 64 is bad value, HBM2 is very expensive. Vega 56 on the other hand is a great choice if it's less expensive than the gtx 1070ti and vice versa.

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10:41 Sep-22-2018

no 2080ti or 2080 model fit into my itx case, so 1080ti

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09:30 Sep-22-2018

vega 64 is still relevant? lol

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09:55 Sep-22-2018

Actually it does. Apparently it does have ray-raping capability. If you want 20fps @ 480p then it sure is a better deal than 1080 or even 1080ti.
Though with -$50 price change it can be a good alternative for GTX 1080.

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08:51 Sep-22-2018

sticking w/ gtx 1050 ti until PS5 exist.

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09:02 Sep-22-2018

totally agree gtx 1050ti is enough for 1080p , mean while you have nice cpu , i need a a serious upgrade in this department , what i am short on budget .

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11:41 Sep-22-2018

a 2600k and some RAM will serve you as a cheap upgrade and work nicely with most games until the next wave of games (next-gen PS, XBOX) come.

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02:31 Sep-27-2018

An i7-2700K would probably be better than the i7-2600K. It's selling for around $300USD new, and the regular i7-2600 is selling for around $285USD new. The only listings I found for the 2600K were second hand. His RAM confuses me, 6 GB?

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08:48 Sep-22-2018

1080p i guess gtx 1070 enough till 2022 .

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07:56 Sep-22-2018

Well the 2080 and the 1080TI is like the exact same price around here. So I will just be getting the 2080 instead.

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09:17 Sep-22-2018

Changes in the future is what matters though. Prices of the 1080Ti will go down while the 2080 will increase in price for at least the next 12 months. So if you HAVE to buy one right now, the 2080 is the safest bet. If you can wait a month or 2, the 1080Ti will save you some money while still being future proof.

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10:00 Sep-22-2018

lol! They apparently sent overclocked cards to reviewers, even then its a modest 35% leap in performance. Though to be fair driver optimization could help a lot.

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04:42 Sep-22-2018

For 1080p gaming mid range graphics card are still the best for the price, such as RX 580 and GTX 1060.

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09:20 Sep-22-2018

Depends what games you play though. Fast games benefit from 144fps, which (in my experience) the mid range cards cant handle on 1080p. If you mainly play RTS, I agree you don't need a 1080Ti/2080.

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09:29 Sep-22-2018

I agree to disagree, 144fps is very much akin to 4K, a luxury. Which can be hard to pull off consistently, on a lower-end card like a 1060

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10:06 Sep-22-2018

Yes, that is what I said? You need a 1080(Ti) to play at 1080p 144fps? Well, if you consider 144fps or anything above 60fps a luxury, then you don't even need a 1060/580 for 1080p. Even a 680 or 770 can manage 1080p at 60fps.

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10:53 Sep-22-2018

My bad I misread there. 680's are starting to have really tough time running more recent games though, because of the VRAM limit. BF4 for example was unplayable.

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11:56 Sep-22-2018

I played BF4 on a 1GB VRAM GPU at 1680x1050... not maxed out of course, but still... unplayable? far from it...

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14:13 Sep-22-2018

@Psychoman Well my Zotac AMP 670 has all the beef needed to run it, and it did good but every now and then the VRAM hit the cap and fps dropped to near zero, a dead giveaway of VRAM limit. That ain't good in the middle of a gunfight

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15:49 Sep-22-2018

Had a hd6790 that never gave me problems and it was 1GB VRAM, I played on medium...

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04:41 Sep-22-2018

I can say that I have no regrets :)

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03:31 Sep-22-2018

None, i think the mid range gpus are the best bang for the buck just like the gtx 1060 and 1070 was.

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01:41 Sep-22-2018

Is this best buy on 2018 or best buy now? Vega 20 was left out, and it's touted to bring 1.25x performance compared to Turing with half the chip size. They talked about a whopping 20TFlops. We're most likely talking near half the price too.. I'd wait a few months for that, and whatever you do, don't waste money on first-gen RTX. Which was never meant to be raw performance per dollar.

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23:07 Sep-21-2018

I was saving for the Asus dual fan rtx 2080 at £715, which i thought is crazy priced but one day later and its now £825, seriously not impressed with that at all

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22:29 Sep-21-2018

Either 1080Ti or 2080Ti, depending on whether you want best bang for the buck, which is 1080Ti. Or if you want best performance, no compromise, cost is not a concern solution, 2080Ti. Yes 2080Ti is 25-30% faster at 70% price increase, but then again, it is top performing card which will do higher FPS 4k.

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22:31 Sep-21-2018

Don't understand me wrong, I don't like price hike, as well as promised "paradise" we can't taste yet, or know whether it actually is "paradise". But you just can't deny that 2080Ti does have higher performance, even if it is smaller leap and not worth the cost. Which is concern for some and not for others.

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22:34 Sep-21-2018

As far as Vega64 goes, I just can't bring myself to like the card. It is pushed beyond limit of architecture, meaning it is power hungry and hot. And it just doesn't show performance uplift for it in games. It fares better in productivity, but Vega is far better at what could be, but isn't.

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22:35 Sep-21-2018

The debate is "Best Buy" so it's aimed at the slightly above average consumer. In Croatia, 1080Ti costs about 1500-2000 kuna more (that's about 200-250$) than Vega64. It does offer better performance but for a steep price increase. Personally... I'm a favorite of the RX 580. Costs 150-200$ less than 1060 while offering slightly (-3-6 average fps) less at 1080p which is really not a problem since it can keep a steady 60fps in every game so far, and that's the underclocked laptop version on my ASUS ROG. (I always have v-sync or FPS limiter on)

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22:46 Sep-21-2018

The problem of best buy is because you can define it in few ways, it can be value or it can be top performance, or it can be in certain price range. You can have best value high end card, which RX580 isn't. If you want overall best bang for the buck, RX580 or 1060 are pretty much best, depending on prices in your area.

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22:48 Sep-21-2018

And definitely, if money is concern, 1080p 60FPS is really great value. It is not expensive to buy, it is not expensive to upgrade, it is not that demanding. Yes it is not top quality, but still very enjoyable. But not everyone will concern themselves with money and this is people who build 4k systems.

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22:51 Sep-21-2018

And for those 1080Ti is great value. Yes it is expensive. And yes, if you can find Vega64 cheap enough, it does make sense. But mostly it isn't that cheaper, though locally for Slovenia, I feel like 1080Ti went up in price before RTX release, which did give Vega64 bit more value.

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12:04 Sep-22-2018

I totally agree that chosing Best Buy (in any segment) really depends on location, especially in eastern Europe. I had the same RX580 or 1060 debate lately. RX580 was the clear winner for me. In other country maybe 1060 would win, who knows

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22:20 Sep-21-2018

Ok I'm just gonna go ahead and say this coz I'm sadistic:
The price gap is not the same, but I want to call out that fans of the red team would sometimes pay up for AMD GPUs on the hope that AMD's fine wine will, eventually, manifest itself and provide the added performance to justify the cost.
Just putting it out there! Peace!

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21:41 Sep-21-2018

GT 1030 DDR3 Variant

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Can They Run... |

| 30FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 5600 XT Sapphire Pulse 6GB 16GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 720p
Core i3-4030U 1.9GHz Intel HD Graphics 4400 Mobile 2GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 60FPS, Low, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz Radeon RX 570 4GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| High, 1080p
Ryzen R5 1600 GeForce GTX 1070 Ti MSI Gaming 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 9 5900HX 8-Core 3.3GHz GeForce RTX 3080 16GB Mobile 32GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| Low, 1080p
Core i5-4570 3.2GHz Radeon HD 7970 OC Sapphire Edition 16GB
Core i5-9600K 6-Core 3.7GHz Radeon RX Vega 64 Gigabyte 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Zotac Gaming Twin Edge 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Super 8GB 16GB
Xeon Processor X5690 GeForce GTX 1070 Zotac AMP! Xtreme 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-870 Quad 2.93GHz GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Edition 12GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i9-10900X 10-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2070 Super Gigabyte Gaming OC 3X 8GB 32GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz Intel HD Graphics 630 Mobile 32GB
0% No [2 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i7-4770K 4-Core 3.5GHz GeForce RTX 2080 EVGA XC Gaming 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 7 3700X 8-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Zotac Gaming 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [4 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-11400H 6-Core 2.20GHz GeForce RTX 3050 Mobile 8GB
| 30FPS, 720p
Core i7-5500U 2-Core 2.4GHz GeForce 940M 2GB 8GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Gigabyte G1 Gaming 8GB Edition 16GB