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2018 Graphics Card Battle: nVidia vs AMD

I'm just a small-time guy working a normal job as a physician assistant. My passion is building PCs and testing/reviewing PC hardware.

2018 Graphics Card Battle

Hello everyone. Will here and today I am bringing you an update on several graphics cards and their performance after updates to driver and game optimizations. I decided to do this because it’s always good to see how performance improves or declines over the lifespan of a particular series of graphics cards. So, without further delay, let’s get to this.

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I tested multiple cards in this benchmark session beginning with the MSI RX 570 Armor OC along with its big brother, the MSI RX 580 Armor OC; both are 8GB models as are the rest except for the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 which is an 11GB card. I followed the RX 570 and RX 580 up with the PowerColor RX Vega 56 Red Dragon edition. To round out the AMD offerings, I benchmarked the PowerColor RX Vega 64 Red Devil edition graphics card. For the nVidia offerings, I went with the MSI GTX 1080 Duke followed by the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC edition graphics cards.

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Test System

For the test system, I used the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 16GB of G. Skill TridentZ RAM in dual channel configuration running at just 2400MHz. The CPU and GPUs were all run at whatever speeds they came stock from their manufacturers meaning they were all overclocked from the manufacturer at least in a little bit. The Ryzen 5 2600 however, was run at stock speeds.

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Test Methods

For test methods, I tested in range of synthetic benchmark tests and real time game experience tests. The included benchmarking tests were Cinebench R15 OpenGL, Time Spy 1.0, Fire Strike 1.1, Superposition, and Unigine Heaven benchmark. For games, I tested GTA V, Battlefield 1, Far Cry 5, and Fortnite. All games were run at maxed out settings and at 1080p only. Each game was tested in their respective benchmark modes and a 2-hour gaming session with FRAPS and Riva Tuner Statistics monitoring. My reasons for testing these cards at out of box settings was because a large majority of people with these cards will leave everything at stock and honestly, to me, that will give us a better gauge of performance.

MSI RX 570 Armor OC

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First up was the MSI RX 570 Armor OC. The card ran fairly quiet despite all of the rants over various sites that the Armor OC variant of any GPU is extremely loud and doesn’t cool well. During my testing, neither of the Armor OC cards went above 75 degrees Celsius and the fans only ramped up to around 50% speed. For results, the RX 570 held up okay but there was no real significant increase in performance when comparing to past results nor with any other reviewer’s results. Overall, if you can get this card for the original MSRP, it’s a pretty good deal for a mid-range gaming PC. However, at current prices, a GTX 1060 is a better option as you will get better performance at a lower price.

MSI RX 580 Armor OC

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The MSI RX 580 Armor OC shares a similar story to the MSI RX 570 Armor OC. Not too loud and decent temperatures at 50% fan speeds. The card performed as expected with no significant improvements from previous testing. As with the RX 570, the RX 580 is a decent deal for a mid-range gaming PC build if you can get it for the original MSRP. However, I’d still recommend a GTX 1060 over the RX 580 for gaming as again, for current prices, you will get better performance for less with the nVidia mid-range GPU offering.

PowerColor RX Vega 56 Red Dragon

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Next up was the PowerColor RX Vega 56 Red Dragon. This card is probably the best value of all of the AMD offerings. The performance didn’t really improve much with driver updates, etc from previous testing but even the previous testing gave a great gaming experience. The Vega 56 Red Dragon has dropped significantly in price and can be had now for around $400 which is roughly MSRP.

PowerColor RX Vega 64 Red Devil

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The final GPU for AMD tested was the PowerColor RX Vega 64 Red Devil. The Vega 64 held its own against the GTX 1080 Duke, edging it out in a few tests and games but price hinders this card quite a bit. With the price, I could not recommend it over the GTX 1080 Duke which can usually be had for less than the Vega 64. Still, both would be pretty good choices given their performance. Keep in mind though, that the Vega cards in general can get fairly hot and depending on the cooling system can be really loud though I did notice much with these cards until about an hour into gaming session in which both the Red Dragon Vega 56 and Red Devil Vega 64 sounded like F-16 jets taking off with their afterburners on full throttle.

MSI GTX 1080 Duke

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The MSI GTX 1080 Duke was next. This was one of the best performing cards of the bunch. Nothing significant as far as improvement with game updates and graphics driver updates. However, this card was a really good card when I first tested months ago and continues to be. For the price this card can be had today, it is definitely worth a look and long thought to buy.

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2

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Finally, the EVGA GTX 1080 Ti SC2 card. As with previous testing, this card is still the king of gaming and reigns supreme again, essentially blowing every card out of the water. Not a lot to say about this card except it is a great card and should definitely be considered as the prices continue to drop for these cards and EVGA has been having regular sales on this card for $700 or less.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. As I noted in most of these, there was little to no significant improvement. Still, the 1080 Ti rules supreme followed by the GTX 1080 and Vega 64. These are followed by the RX Vega 56 and if I had the GTX 1070 Ti and/or GTX 1070 on hand, they would most likely still edge out the Vega 56 though, the GTX 1070 would probably be on par with the RX Vega 56. All in all, the best deal to be had is most likely with the GTX 1070 Ti as it can reach GTX 1080 performance levels with overclocking and for a fraction less. Price to performance, I’d go with, in order, the GTX 1070 Ti, GTX 1080, and RX Vega 56. If you are a real enthusiast, then yes, go with the GTX 1080 Ti. Personally, at the current prices, I still cannot recommend the RX Vega 64 even though I use it in my base system every day.

I hope you have enjoyed this article/video and I hope to see you next time. Leave me a comment tell me what you think and share with your friends. Thank you so much for stopping by and for the support… I greatly appreciate it. I hope to see you next time.

MSI GTX 1080 Duke under $500 on Amazon.com

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.