Up For Debate - What features do you look for in a graphics card other than performance?

Written by Chad Norton on Sun, Oct 24, 2021 5:00 PM

Graphics cards are an extremely important part of anyone’s PC build. Usually it's the most expensive part of your system, and is the main powerhorse behind what kind of performance you can get in the latest games. But simply choosing what GPU you want is only half the battle, as there are also other benefits to look out for.

To put it simply, when buying a graphics card there are two major brands to choose from: Nvidia or AMD. With Nvidia, you’ll get many benefits like the GeForce Experience and DLSS support. AMD has a similar software to GeForce Experience, and its version of DLSS (FSR) is available for GPUs from other brands, so the software there is a bigger selling point.

That’s one of the more obvious choices to make when buying a new card and the benefits that come with it. But then custom cards also introduce different designs with various cooling options, clock speeds, and other benefits like RGB lighting support or even a small LCD screen on the side.

Either way, picking the right graphics card isn’t always just about buying what you can afford (although, that is certainly the case at the moment), as there are other features you can look out for. So we want to know what features do you look for in a graphics card other than performance? And just to be clear: we're talking about choosing between different brands and what they offer for the same GPU, not necessarily the difference between buying differently performing cards.

So what do you think? How do you normally choose your graphics card? Is it based on price, performance, or other features you get with it? Do you care about smaller features like RGB lighting or a small LCD screen on the side? And how has your experience been with the GPU you’ve chosen in terms of extra features? Would you choose a different brand or design next time? Let’s debate!

What is your main reason for upgrading to a brand new GPU?

Whats the main feature you look for other than performance?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
1,041
Offline
senior admin badge
16:43 Oct-27-2021

interesting topic,


for me it's noise but when I think about it I'd say it's synonym to cooling,


I require fanless operation when not playing games, with most graphics cards kicking fan in around 60°C means card itself needs to passively cool itself well-enough not to reach such temps (in decent case ofc),


my ASUS 1080 Ti STRIX is noticeably better than previous EVGA 980 Ti Classified but it's noticeably larger heatsink (2.5 slot vs 2 slot) and longer (3 fans vs 2 fans) so there's definitely a tradeoff by physical dimensions too....

0
Rep
12
Offline
12:27 Oct-26-2021

its always the price to performance ratio for me, can't believe the 1st time i went to my local hardware store picking a gpu (1060) would be my last. im hoping its not.

0
Rep
-19
Offline
22:41 Oct-25-2021

my work requires the top-end card. normally I get two because the software still uses it. I go for the model with an aio if I cant get my hands on a waterblock fast enough. i do that because it keeps the clocks more stable and it's a lot quieter. my work GPUs trickle-down to my home when they get replaced or to a co-worker if they are in need of something better.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
16:07 Oct-25-2021

I buy Nvidia because:


1) Tied with CUDA for professional work and applications


2) Never had things broken driver-wise (personal experience)


3) I like the value-add features (streaming for Shield TV, Shadowplay, Nvidia Broadcast, etc)


4) I consider FE cards reliable and that's what I buy (personal experience)


5) Performance (I've basically bought xx80 and/or xx80Ti products before they botched the VRAM amount on Ampere)

4
Rep
0
Offline
16:01 Oct-25-2021

Affordability, availability, reliability, cooling, in that order. Doesn't matter how powerful it is if I can't get or afford one.

0
Rep
0
Offline
16:02 Oct-25-2021

Currently anything that is a significant jump in performance from my 8 year old GPU is simply unaffordable, so I'm locked out of current gen GPUs.

0
Rep
36
Offline
14:57 Oct-25-2021

I thought brand loyalty should've been up there, I know I really don't like using anything other than EVGA cards. Just a preference for my own system, I've built a few others for friends and recommended different things based on their needs.


Otherwise, cooling, that's the big ticket item for OC

1
Rep
-25
Offline
14:34 Oct-25-2021

Need to be nvidia.

0
Rep
160
Offline
10:09 Oct-25-2021

How can a price be a reason to upgrade? Like I doubt someone would buy a new GPU if it had worse performance than their current one even if the price of the new GPU was low.

0
Rep
0
Offline
09:43 Oct-25-2021

I Only Look For Liquid Cooled GPUS They have the Highest Performance and Maintain The Highest Clocks With The Best Temps Power Consumptions means Nothing To Me

1
Rep
1
Offline
08:33 Oct-25-2021

Other than performance, I look for:



  1. Good Price

  2. Power consumption and TDP

  3. Temperatures operating at full load

  4. Size and Weight


I like GPUs under 150W TDP ideally, max 200W TDP.

0
Rep
210
Offline
admin approved badge
07:22 Oct-25-2021

Ha ha ha... funny, very funny!

3
Rep
-1
Offline
22:43 Oct-24-2021

With the way much technology is today the TDP increase is concerning. I also look at performance leaps, I intend to give AMD a go later.

0
Rep
55
Offline
22:31 Oct-24-2021

As of right now nothing because I would like for fiction and fantasy to be in real games and not in real life as there are no GPUs to be had so there is nothing to think about.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
20:11 Oct-24-2021

I mostly upgrade based on performance, once I need to drop few too many settings or just don't get good experience, then I upgrade. Most important to me is basically price to performance. I am not willing to go all out on performance, so after I get to tier where I want to buy, it is up to prices. Also I usually won't buy more expensive models and stick to about MSRP models, it can be bit above, but I am not overpaying. Though beside performance it is pretty much down to cooling and noise. I am not after coolest temperatures, but more after less noise with good enough cooling. So something like LCD screen or excessive RGB,... is just for me personally waste of money, no offense to anyone who cares, I am not saying they shouldn't exist. Also software, beside driver, the less the better. I really don't like to run RGB software and stuff, like one thing I absolutely hate about my keyboard is how backlight does this breathing effect and only way to make it constant is via software, that has to keep running. Whoever thought breathing effect was good idea... lets just say I got few harsh words for him. And since I am not big on overclocking, I really don't care about clock, they all perform within few FPS anyway. And size for me is just like, if it fits, I don't care.

2
Rep
105
Offline
22:24 Oct-24-2021

I also dislike the blinking / breathing lights on my keyboard, lucily it has a static color mode that i change with season.

1
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
16:09 Oct-25-2021

Same, not a fan of RGB vomit. I much prefer the slicker design of current 30-series FE cards than the aftermarket ones.

0
Rep
28
Offline
19:47 Oct-24-2021

Strange topic theres nothing to debate...everyone wants a good price/performance gpu that runs cool and quiet...dont think there would be much to argue?

3
Rep
45
Offline
admin approved badge
19:13 Oct-24-2021

Cooling is definitely my main concern with GPU's these days. Since I was using AMD's cards for a while it was the second thing I'd look up after performance benchmarks.

0
Rep
38
Offline
19:12 Oct-24-2021

I just look for performance and a somewhat competent cooling system.


Out of the box clock speeds are irrelevant since manufacturers tend to charge a premium for them, even though you usually can manually overclock most cards to the same level anyways.

0
Rep
29
Offline
admin approved badge
19:02 Oct-24-2021

Personally, I only buy a new GPU if my current one dies.

4
Rep
60
Offline
18:01 Oct-24-2021

Video encoding is an important factor for me, I often convert media to H265 to save disk space compared to H264 in which most media is encoded. However, to do this on a larger scale I need a good gpu since software encoding is really demanding.

0
Rep
83
Offline
17:44 Oct-24-2021

Great cooling and low/reasonable tdp, i wasn't happy that the 3080 uses 300+ watts, hopefully the 4070 sorts that out and has more than 8gb vram, for me looks like im done buying x80 cards and will look to the x70 cards, will save me money too i guess

0
Rep
160
Offline
23:24 Oct-24-2021

well you can always try UV, basically use 60-70% of the power while getting 90+% perfomance

0

Can They Run... |

Ryzen R5 1400 Radeon RX 560 2GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i7-11800H 8-Core 1.90GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Mobile 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Core i7-7700K 4-Core 4.2GHz GeForce GTX 1080 MSI Gaming X 8GB Edition 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Core i7-3770 4-Core 3.4GHz GeForce GTX 950 MSI Gaming 2GB Edition 8GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Core 2 Duo E6600 2.4GHz Radeon HD 5570 1024MB 4GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Core i5-11400 6-Core 2.7GHz GeForce RTX 3060 Ultra 16GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super Gigabyte Aorus 8GB 32GB
0% No [1 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1440p
Ryzen 5 5600X 6-Core 3.7GHz GeForce RTX 2080 Super Gigabyte Aorus 8GB 32GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i5-480M 2.66GHz HD i5 M480 8GB
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
APU A6-5400K Dual-Core Radeon HD 7450 4GB
| 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 [3 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
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 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
0% No [1 votes]
| 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