AMD and Nvidia, which have long been rivals in the graphics card industry, have recently released new and powerful GPUs. AMD has revealed its Radeon RX 480 just last month, while Nvidia announced and released its new GeForce GTX 1080 (along with the GTX 1070) back in May. These new models are packed with many new features and updates, prompting many tech geeks and avid gamers to ask: which graphics card is better than the other? To answer this question, we’ve created this guide to help you decide.
It might seem surprising, but the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1080 do have a few things in common with each other. They’re both ready for virtual reality technology, which means they can work with most of the VR headsets in the market and support current and upcoming VR games. They also both have delta color compression, which allows them to store data at half its size and reduce memory bandwidth demands.
At the basic level, the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1080 differ in the architecture that they use. The former is built on Polaris architecture with 14-nanometer FinFET transistor nodes, while the latter is built on Pascal architecture with 16-nanometer FinFET transistor nodes.
In terms of memory, the GeForce GTX 1080 has better performance with its 8GB GGDR5X memory that provides a maximum memory bandwidth of 320GBps and a memory speed of 10GBps. The Radeon RX 480 trails behind, although it does have a decent 256GBps memory bandwidth and a memory speed of 8GBps in its 8GB version. (The 4GB version has a memory bandwidth of 224GBps and a memory speed of 7GBps.)
One of the biggest differences between the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1080 is that the former has asynchronous compute engines, which allow the Radeon RX 480 to run multiple tasks at the same time. As a result, it provides substantial support for games that run on the DirectX 12 graphics technology and give them a huge boost in performance. It also works well with the asynchronous timewarp feature that is used in Oculus Rift VR headsets.
GeForce GPUs previously didn’t have an answer to AMD’s asynchronous compute engines, but the GeForce GTX 1080 strives to change this through its dynamic load balancing feature. This allows the GPU to adjust task partitioning in real time and ensure that no resources stay idle. The GTX 1080 is also built with “pixel level pre-emption” and “thread level pre-emption” technologies, which further allow it to prioritize time-critical activities and quickly switch from one task to another.
Finally, the Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1080 differ in their price and target markets. The former is targeted to regular gamers who usually play mainstream games and is sold at $200 for the 4GB version and around $300 for the 8GB version. The GeForce GTX 1080, meanwhile, is targeted to hardcore gamers who want to get the first dibs on VR games and has a starting price of $699.
The Radeon RX 480 and GeForce GTX 1080 are both advanced GPUs that will satisfy gamers’ thirst for fast and powerful graphics card. They both have pros and cons in terms of price and features, so do your research to decide which card is the right option for you.
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