Following AMD’s recent release of their R7/R9 300 series and their announcement of the Fury X, I’ve decided to write a blog post compiling my thoughts on how AMD and nVidia work, as well as shedding some light on the fire AMD has been getting recently, in my personal opinion.
In my opinion, AMD is team hardware. Their processors’ true potential is always unknown, and their GPUs can always somehow keep being competitive with nVidia’s, despite logically speaking they should’ve been outdated and irrelevant long ago.
- The Secret Weapon and the Rebrand Mania: At least recently, AMD seems to work by endlessly refreshing their cards, using the very same GPU and making some tweaks to the board, before slapping a new name on it (for example, the R9 300 series is essentially a refresh of the R9 200 series, which IN TURN was a refresh of the HD 7xxx series). While that may seem like a very poor tactic and will get AMD to bankrupt in no time, somehow those cards never get old. That makes me feel like everything AMD makes is like a secret weapon. You use it everyday, but you can’t really comprehend what it’s really made of and what it can really do. Still, because of this tactic, AMD is losing a lot of popularity, which put it in an even tighter spot than before, and made it even harder for AMD to actually release a new architecture. This is understandable though, as nVidia’s cards are much more popular than AMD’s (for reasons I’ll discuss in the nVidia section), thus leaving AMD in a poor financial situation.
- All for the Top Dog: However, there’s always an exception to this rule: AMD’s flagship card. While the lower cards from the Rx 2xx and Rx 3xx series are all rebrands, the flagship on the other hand is always something entirely new. The R9 290/R9 290X used the Hawaii GPU, which was not a rebrand. The Fury series will also use the Fiji GPU, an entirely new processor again. This proves that they are indeed capable of releasing new chips, but unlike nVidia, who normally tries to please all kinds of users, AMD seems to focus only on the top market segment, the rich, enthusiastic gamers who are willing to shell out anything. They don’t give other users the new, experimental things, even though the refreshed cards do have performance boosts that keep them competitive.
- Mad Engineering: AMD only has one thing in mind when it comes to their cards, and that’s raw power. Ever since the creation of Pangaea, AMD cards have been known to pack a lot of power for the price, hardware-wise, and that’s somehow still true today, despite the Rebrand Mania. However, on the other hand, AMD cards are infamous for running hot, using up a lot of power, and poorly optimized with poor drivers (though this particular problem has softened a lot nowadays, but it’s still there) and software support compared to nVidia’s cards. They are willing to trade everything to have a stronger card, and that’s a major part of their… current difficulties. Consumer cards (the Radeon series) are already bad enough at this, since every new engine seems to support nVidia. Gameworks, PhysX, etc. etc. Sure, AMD’s frameworks do come once in a while, but they are always easily overshadowed by nVidia’s counterparts. The pro segment is even worse. Not many people even know that AMD’s professional FirePro line even exists, since it’s very darn hard just to find something that supports it at all.
“nVidia. The way it’s meant to be played”, you should be familiar with that phrase by now, and to be honest, that’s not far from the truth. Everything is now optimized for nVidia, using nVidia’s exclusive engines. Thus, saying that nVidia is the way things are meant to be played isn’t stretching it too much.
- The Mainstream: If AMD is an enthusiastic gamer/engineer, then nVidia is a true executive. They market a lot, and they monopolize all the frameworks, making developers nearly always optimize their games for their cards. Thus, nVidia is much richer than AMD and has a lot more market share, at more than 80%! Chances are most of the graphics cards you see around you are from nVidia, especially pre-builts’ cards. It’s rare to see a pre-built with an AMD card, and AMD’s laptop GPUs are pretty much irrelevant by now. It’s always GTX xxx.
- The way it’s meant to be played: Name some of the graphics engines that pop first into your mind. CUDA, PhysX, mental ray, GameWorks, etc. Where do they all come from? Bingo, nVidia. AMD has some cool engines like Mantle and TressFX too, but they are often short-lived (Mantle hasn’t even fully matured yet and they’re already killing it in favor of the newer Vulkan), and nowhere near as game-deciding as CUDA, PhysX, and mental ray, all of which you WILL have to use if you even want to survive in the cyberworld, and they are all made by team green for green cards. Not only that, but, with their amount of money of power, nVidia can also always tell game developers to optimize their games for them, giving nVidia an edge no matter how strong the AMD cards really are.
- Keeping up with the times: Unlike AMD, who keeps rebranding stuff, nVidia always update their cards with new GPUs. That said, their cards always look newer, and thus, are always seen as the latest trend, where as AMD’s cards always look like they are having troubles catching up, even though performance-wise they are around the same. AMD’s HD 7xxx series, which AMD’s got its current GPUs from, were around since the time of the GTX 6xx, and, as you should’ve known, they are already at GTX 980 Ti now, and no one can say that nVidia’s cards are just refreshed. And you know what do users like? Users like, as my friend kindly put it in a trip to the local Intel factory, “new sh*t”.
That’s my opinions on how AMD and nVidia work, and the reasons behind nVidia’s success and AMD’s recent decline. However, to be honest, I still like AMD more, because I feel like they are actually trying to make strong cards, and thus being closer to us consumers, unlike nVidia, who’s, in my opinion, a bit ethically shady (what’s with the GTX 970’s 3.5 GB VRAM ruckus and all… my point is not that 3.5 GB or 4 GB is good, but it’s how I think nVidia is not entirely honest), and as the “executive” in this game, always finding tricks to get their cards to be the most relevant, and building their own world.
Just as a side note, I myself am using a Gigabyte 2 GB R9 270X Windforce Edition.
Thank you very much for reading up until this post. ^^ So, what’s your preferred brand out of the two? Can you please state why? Again, thank you very much for supporting me in advance! ^^