When shopping for a graphics card, many of us will look for a good and the latest model and then look for the best price possible and be on our way. But you will find more than one manufacturer that makes the same model
The first question that comes to your mind is, why are there so many different manufacturers? Having more than one brand for the same thing might make you think to the point of confusion.
This situation is similar to that of a person who wants to buy a shirt, and he has made up his mind about which material he wants and the range of price, and the seller shows him multiple brands to choose from that offer the same product. It is a bit of an odd situation.
The same is the case for graphics cards. If you search a graphics card by name, you will see multiple brands offers on the first page itself. For example, if you do a quick search on Nvidia RTX 3080, you will come across various brands, and pretty much all of them have pretty much the same capabilities. So, do the differences between these manufacturers matter?
It is all primarily based on business-to-business relationships in the market of graphic cards. Nvidia and AMD sell their chips to the electronic manufacturers to incorporate these cards in all kinds of things like laptops, desktop computers, gaming consoles, mobile phones, and even cars. These manufacturers buy these boards and chips and then pair them with important extra parts like video game ports, plastic cases, and coolers and then sell them to buyers at retailers.
Do the Differences Between the GPU Brands Matter?
All these manufacturers get the GPUs from Nvidia and AMD, but when selling to their consumers, they need to make small changes to make their product stand out. These changes could either be on price or features or packages, but these retail prices cannot make much room for more.
So, if one of these retailers lowers their price or extends it, the rest follow suit. In simpler words, the manufacturing and distribution costs are essentially set, and there are only so many ways these manufacturers can come up with to stay profitable.
These brands come up with different ways to make their GPU brand stand out. Some of these might offer other packages like blower coolers, air coolers, or maybe the lower price for another product as you buy a package.
Some might even make their cards short so that they can fit in minor cases. Others will try to create visually appealing changes to the card by adding RGB lights or a fancy cooling fan.
Many of these manufacturers use the technique to make a few minor changes to the card’s GPU or V-RAM design. Except for a few changes, such as pre-installed water-cooling setup or memory modules, these changes do not matter that much as they only enhance the performance.
If the cards are from NVIDIA or AMD or the same model, they will fit in your computer’s case and easily be able to plug into your motherboard. There will not be a big difference in the graphics of the display of your games.
What Changes Really Matter?
There are not a lot of changes that matter in the end, apart from a few. The card size is the most prominent and essential factor, especially if you look for something more expensive. It will not matter how fast your card is if the case you have will not hold it in place.
The designs with double or triple cooling fans will be more extended, and the ones specifically made for small, compact cases will be shorter.
The length of your graphics cards is mainly written with the specifications page for your PC’s case. If you cannot find it, you can open the case and take measurements yourself.
The cooler design must be either a blower or an open cooler. The difference is slight, but it is essential with cases that have little airflow. Your device can get loud depending on the cooling fans, and the noise decibels rely on the size and area they are packed in.
High temperature reduces the longevity of graphic cards. The heat can badly damage the GPU or the other components on the board. Improved cooling on the boards results in faster clocking and more excellent performance.
Some cards with a higher price may have high-performance coolers like liquid cooling, while others might have a simple blower fan.
Some cards are factory overclocked while some are not. The degree to which the cards are overclocked depends on different models of the GPUs. Overclocked cards will cost more than the ones that are not. Your card will not wear out because it hit several cycles (overclocking).
Overclocking a card can help improve its usefulness.
One of the output designs is that some manufacturers will have dual DVI, a display port, and HDMI on a single card, while the others will have only four display ports. This factor is essential to know because if your monitor does not have native DP, you will have to get four adapters, which could cost you more.
Another significant change that we can focus on making the performance better is some cards accommodate extra RAM. Extra RAM modules, and sometimes secondary manufacturers will directly install them to the PCB.
The benefit of more RAM is that the card will hold more data in the memory, which includes high-resolution textures and game files. Having more RAM will result in more boost to performance in general. It’s important to note that extra RAM cannot be added to all graphics cards.
If a manufacturer included it, they might mention it on the specifications and increase the price from the original.
The board design is also something worth considering. A cheaper card may have used a reference board design, while a more expensive one might have a custom board design despite being made by the same GPU company. The benefit of custom boards is that they provide better power delivery to the GPU and allow better overclocking.
When we look at the price of the graphics cards, then the more known brands will have higher prices than the ones that are not. This is mostly just because you’re paying a little extra to buy from a reputable brand. However, they do add some value to justify the added price.
Aesthetics is another factor for people who like visual appeal in their technical components. The appearance of the cards varies, but usually, the look of the higher-end boards with a clean backplate is more visually appealing.
Some people like to use the cards for a bit of time and then resale them. Now you never get the amount you put in a card in return on a resale, but it does help to resale a card with better features, appeal, warranty, and a well-known brand.
The Main Differences
The natural and main differences that you should consider are price, warranty, and the brand’s credibility. If there is only a tiny overclock or a barely altered cooler that is differentiating the price of two cards you are considering, then obviously, the cheaper the card is, the better option.
It will not be such a bad idea if you choose to spend a bit more on the graphics card for new graphics. A card you get from a more credible brand will more likely give you peace of mind as well. Quality and support are probably some of the most critical factors as buying from the mainstream, and familiar brands sounds safer naturally.
A reliable brand is pretty important when dealing with electronics that are so complex, and such brands or manufacturers also provide a warranty of what they are selling to their consumers, which is even better. More prominent brands mostly have better support than most, especially when you want to contact them regarding minor issues.
Most manufacturers offer warranty for 2-3 years with their cards, and some of them provide extensions according to their system and policies.
The brand of GPU matters, even if it makes a slight difference. So, whenever you go out to get yourself a new graphics card, and you find yourself stuck between two different brands, then run them down the significant points of differentiation, will the card fit in your PC case?
Which one of these is cheaper? Which one has additional RAM? Which one has a better cooler design that is better for my case? And, which one has a better warranty? If you can’t seem to decide which company to go with, choosing a Tier-A variant such as EVGA, Asus, GeForce, MSI, etc., are the safest bets.