AMD and NVIDIA: Best 3D Modeling & Rendering Graphics Cards

by user

July 6, 2020

The two largest manufacturers of high-performance graphics cards are AMD and NVIDIA, but which series and models are a better buy? This breakdown is designed to help you decide for yourself on which processor is right for your work and your wallet.

7 Best AMD Radeon Series Graphics Cards

AMD’s powerful but cost-effective Radeon series, is made up of excellent mid-level consumer GPUs that are at the top of the gaming and design worlds. If you’re looking for a reliable graphics card that delivers power and display precision at a fraction of the cost compared to the competition, Radeon is the best option for you.

Note: All prices are accurate at the time of publication.


GPU Name GPU Chip GPU Bus Graphics Memory GPU Clock Memory Clock Shaders / TMUs / ROPs Price
Radeon VII Vega 20 PCIe 3.0 x16 16 GB, HBM2, 4,096 bit 1,400 MHz 1,000 MHz 3,840 / 240 / 64 $649.99
Radeon RX 5700 XT Navi 10 PCIe 4.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR6, 256 bit 1,605 MHz 1,750 MHz 2,560 / 160 / 64 $379.99
Radeon RX 5700 Navi 10 PCIe 4.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR6, 256 bit 1,465 MHz 1,750 MHz 2,304 / 144 / 64 $329.99
Radeon RX 5600 XT Navi 10 PCIe 4.0 x16 6 GB, GDDR6, 192 bit 1,130 MHz 1,500 MHz 2,304 / 144 / 64 $289.99
Radeon RX 590 Polaris 30 PCIe 3.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR5, 256 bit 1,469 MHz 2,000 MHz 2,304 / 144 / 32 $199.99
Radeon RX 580 Polaris 20 PCIe 3.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR5, 256 bit 1,257 MHz 2,000 MHz 2,304 / 144 / 32 $232.00
Radeon RX 570 Polaris 20 PCIe 3.0 x16 4 GB, GDDR5, 256 bit 1,168 MHz 1,750 MHz 2,048 / 128 / 32 $295.00

7 Best NVIDIA GeForce Series Graphics Cards

NVIDIA’s line of consumer-grade GPUs are considered top of the line in performance and efficiency. Great for processor-heavy operations like gaming and design, these are the best cards that money can buy. Though NVIDIA’s Titan and Quadro series workstation cards greatly surpass the power of the GeForce series, they are usually reserved for more complex processes and applications like AI, scientific computation, and data collection.

Note: All prices are accurate at the time of publication.

GPU Name GPU Chip GPU Bus Graphics Memory GPU Clock Memory Clock Shaders / TMUs / ROPs Price
RTX 2080Ti TU102 PCIe 3.0 x16 11 GB, GDDR6, 352 bit 1,350 MHz 1,750 MHz 4,352 / 272 / 88 $1,198.00
RTX 2080 Super TU104 PCIe 3.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR6, 256 bit 1,650 MHz 1,937 MHz 3,072 / 192 / 64


RTX 2080 TU104 PCIe 3.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR6, 256 bit 1,515 MHz 1,750 MHz 2,944 / 184 / 64 $709.99
RTX 2070 Super TU104 PCIe 3.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR6, 256 bit 1,605 MHz 1,750 MHz 2,560 / 160 / 64


RTX 2070 TU106 PCIe 3.0 x16 8 GB, GDDR6, 256 bit 1,410 MHz 1,750 MHz 2,304 / 144 / 64 $659.09
GTX 1660 Super TU116 PCIe 3.0 x16 6 GB, GDDR6, 192 bit 1,530 MHz 1,750 MHz 1,408 / 88 / 48


GTX 1650 Super TU116 PCIe 3.0 x16 6 GB, GDDR6, 192 bit 1,530 MHz 1,500 MHz 1,280 / 80 / 32 $159.99

How to Compare GPU Specs

For 3D model designers, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is the most important hardware in your workstation. It must be as powerful as possible in order to perform complex, processor-heavy tasks required by the graphics accelerated programs of today’s design software. In order to adequately compare each high-power GPU on the market from AMD and NVIDIA, it’s important to understand what specs are worth looking at.

Gaming vs. WorkStation GPUs

When you first begin searching for a new graphics card, keep in mind that they are separated into two distinct classes.

Consumer-grade graphics cards Designed for gaming and content creation (video editing, design)
Dedicated graphics cards (Workstation GPUs) Designed for more processor-intensive and sophisticated applications (scientific computation, artificial intelligence)

For example, NVIDIA produces graphics cards for both uses. The GeForce series are consumer-grade cards known as “gaming GPUs,” while the Titan and Quadro series are dedicated graphics cards geared toward CAD rendering, AI, and scientific computation. The distinction between these two series is their optimized performance and price. The GeForce line is built to be optimized for gaming while the Titan and Quadro lines are considerably more expensive due to their efficiency for professional-level graphics.

GPU Chip

The mixture of processor cores and microarchitecture are what make the graphics card function. The most highly recognized chips are built with what’s known as Turing architecture, manufactured by NVIDIA and used in most of its consumer-grade and workstation GPUs. AMD’s Vega and Polaris architectures are very strong competitors and are used in AMD’s Radeon RX series.


The ability to quickly access the transfer of data between a GPU and its system, or bandwidth, is determined by the GPU bus that connects the GPU to its machine. This speed varies depending on the type of GPU being utilized. A high bandwidth means a faster connection.

Graphics Memory

Graphics memory is dedicated to your GPU and the workload it operates on, separate from the system memory connected to the computer’s motherboard. The most popular primary specifications being DDR3 and GDDR5/6 SDRAM.

GPU memory is regularly used as a marketing incentive. When it comes to consumer-grade units, users who are more inclined to gaming are conditioned to believe that more memory equals better performance. However, more seasoned users know that when it comes to PCs, balance is much more important.

GPU Clock

The speed of the GPU clock (also known as the core clock) indicates how fast the cores of a GPU are. Since the purpose of the cores are to render graphics, the higher the clock speed (usually gauged in megahertz), the faster the process. Overclocking a GPU is a regular practice as well. Doing so can potentially increase the performance of your card by boosting the speed of the processor. Some cards are better at doing this than others, however.

Memory Clock

The video memory (also known as the VRAM) on your GPU is used to temporarily store assets like textures that are being used in a game you’re playing or graphics you’re designing. Faster video memory lets your graphics card process those assets faster, while more video memory allows for more assets to be stored at one time. A higher VRAM clock speed (gauged in megahertz) can also help those assets process significantly faster.

Shaders, Texture Mapping Unit (TMU) & Render Output Unit (ROP)

Shaders are the number of cores in your GPU. A GPU has many more of these than a CPU (over a thousand at a minimum), but they are much smaller and more specialized than the ones in your CPU. As their name suggests, the typical function of shaders is used for displaying the shading in 3D objects and scenes, but they are also used for video post-processing and rendering computer generated effects.

A Texture Mapping Unit (TMU) is able to scale, rotate, and distort an image, or texture sample, and associate it to a plane of a given 3D model as a texture. This is known as texture mapping. A Texture fill rate measures the speed with which a particular card can perform this process. The more TMUs you have, the higher the fill rate and the faster the mapping.

While TMUs work on textured pixels, a Render Output Unit (ROP) works to display all pixels regardless of texture. More ROPs also lead to a higher fill rate. ROPs are also responsible for accurate ray tracing and anti-aliasing. The more there are, the better your results.


Of course, at the end of the day, price is going to be the deciding factor for your purchase. It’s a balance of what you need and how much you’re willing to spend.

Stay Competitive in the 3D Modeling Industry

With every generational advancement in processing technology comes more powerful and more efficient GPUs, so keep in mind that these lists will change with time. AMD and NVIDIA are constantly evolving and always introducing more sophisticated hardware, setting the bar for what’s capable in both your computer’s hardware and software. If you’re looking to maximize your workflow and stay competitive in the 3D modeling industry, be sure to also check out our guides to the best computers for rendering and best software for rendering. Happy rendering!