NVIDIA and AMD make up the current duopoly of the PC graphics card market , and each has its own nomenclature . In this article we are going to explain what pattern both manufacturers follow when naming their products, why they do it this way, and how just by knowing the name of one of their graphics cards you can already know a large part of information about it.
Since AMD acquired ATI Technologies in 2006, it has always used the legacy name ” Radeon ” for its graphics cards, while NVIDIA has always used GeForce as a complement. In this case, both Radeon and GeForce simply denote that the product that follows this name is a dedicated graphics card, neither more nor less, since both NVIDIA and AMD also manufacture other types of products. Since AMD manufactures processors the difference is obvious, there are no “Ryzen Radeon” CPUs, and in the case of NVIDIA we can also see the NVIDIA Shield and not the “GeForce Shield”.
AMD graphics card nomenclature
The case of AMD is somewhat particular, since not long ago they decided to change the pattern of their nomenclature. For example in 2008 we had the Radeon HD 4000 Series , and it remained that way until the Radeon HD 7000 Series in 2012. However, when they released their next generation of graphics cards in 2013 the nomenclature changed and instead of being the 8000 Series , became the Radeon 200 Series . Thus it remained for two more generations until the 400 Series and then jump to the Vega Series, and in 2019 they changed again to be called Radeon RX 5000 Series . In 2020, the Radeon RX 6000 Series arrived following this latest nomenclature.
Despite the fact that AMD seems to be very fond of messing with users by constantly renaming their products, the nomenclature remains having more or less the same meaning.
|Prefix||Mobility Radeon||Generation||Performance Tier||Revision||X / XT|
|RX prefix||Mobility Radeon||Generation 4||Performance Tier 8||Revision 0||X / XT|
|R9 prefix||Mobility Radeon||Generation 3||Performance Tier 9||Revision 0||X / XT X|
|R5 prefix||Mobility Radeon M||Generation 3||Performance Tier 5||Revision 0||X / XT|
|RX prefix||Mobility Radeon||Generation 6||Performance Tier 9||Revision 00||X / XT XT|
In the table above you have some examples, which, broken down, give us the following information:
- Prefix : traditionally, the R3 and R5 prefixes were for the entry range, R7 for the gaming range and R9 for the high-end range, but with the current nomenclature all graphics simply carry RX as a prefix regardless of their segment.
- Mobility Radeon : Laptop graphics have an M for “Mobility” on the front.
- Generation : Designates the generation of the GPU.
- Performance Tier : This is what was previously indicated in the prefix. The higher this number, the better the segment to which the GPU belongs.
- Review : When two GPUs share the same range, AMD usually adds a 5 to them in the review.
- X / XT : This suffix is used for the fastest versions of the same tier or revision.
NVIDIA Graphics Card Nomenclature
With NVIDIA it is a bit easier than with AMD, since they have respected the nomenclature of their graphics cards for many generations, with the exception that when they arrived at the GTX 1000 Series they jumped to the 2000 Series instead of the 1100 Series. Even so, the names are much more understandable.
Let’s see the NVIDIA graphics nomenclature as a table and now we break it down:
|GTX prefix||Generation 9||Performance Tier 8||Revision 0||Suffix Ti|
|GT prefix||Generation 2||Performance Tier 1||Revision 0||Suffix|
|GTX prefix||Generation 8||Performance Tier 6||Revision 0||Suffix M|
|RTX prefix||Generation 30||Performance Tier 6||Revision 0||Suffix Ti|
- Prefix : GT is used for entry-level or low-end graphics, while GTX is for gaming-oriented GPUs from entry level to enthusiast. In recent generations this prefix has been changed to RTX for graphics that have dedicated Ray Tracing hardware.
- Generation : the higher this number, the more modern the graph will be.
- Performance Tier : indicates relative performance, the higher the number the better.
- Review : same as AMD graphics.
- Suffix : in NVIDIA the «Ti» (Titanium) is more or less equivalent to the XT of AMD graphics, they are faster graphics than those without this suffix. NVIDIA also puts an “M” here for laptop graphics.
So, now you know that just by looking at the name of an AMD or NVIDIA graphics card you can know a lot about it, such as the generation or the market segment to which they belong.