NVIDIA’s first RTX cards came out in 2019, along with its 16-series GTX cards. Switching to the name ‘RTX’ was meant to show that these new GPUs could do ray tracing faster on the hardware side. Since “GTX” stands for “Graphics Processing Unit,” it’s safe to assume that “RTX” stands for “Ray Tracing Extreme.” Ray tracing is a way to model light in which each ray of light is simulated. The traditional way that games render light, which is how NVIDIA’s GTX cards do it, is nowhere near as accurate or detailed as ray traced lighting.
Tracing individual rays is not easy, and traditional GTX GPU hardware can’t do it anywhere near as fast as would be needed for games to use these techniques in real time. So, NVIDIA made RTX cards with both traditional shader cores and RT (ray tracing) cores. These RT cores were made to handle ray tracing, so these RTX graphics cards can do “hardware-accelerated” ray tracing. This means that ray tracing doesn’t use up all of the shader cores to slowly calculate and render.
The GeForce 7800 GTX, which came out in 2005, was the first NVIDIA GTX graphics card. When NVIDIA’s GPUs reached the “giga texel” rendering threshold, they were given the “GT” name. Then, to show better performance, they added the “X,” which stands for “extreme.” So, “GTX” stands for “Giga Texel Extreme,” and NVIDIA used it as a way to name its graphics cards from the 7000-series to the 16-series.
The most recent NVIDIA GTX graphics cards are the ‘Turing’ generation, which came out in 2019 along with the 20-series RTX cards. This was the only generation in which both GTX and RTX cards came out at the same time, before RTX took over completely.
NVIDIA RTX vs GTX: Comparison Table
|Feature||RTX Series||GTX Series|
|Architecture||Turing, Ampere||Pascal, Turing|
|Ray Tracing||Yes (RT Cores)||No|
|Tensor Cores||Yes (AI Acceleration)||No|
|DLSS||Yes (Deep Learning Super Sampling)||No|
|CUDA Cores||Varied (depends on the specific model)||Varied (depends on the specific model)|
|Performance||Generally higher performance compared to equivalent GTX models||Performance varies depending on the specific model|
|VRAM||Varied (GDDR6, GDDR6X)||Varied (GDDR5, GDDR6)|
|Memory Bandwidth||Higher (wider memory bus, higher bandwidth)||Lower (narrower memory bus, lower bandwidth)|
|Power Consumption||Generally higher power consumption compared to equivalent GTX models||Lower power consumption compared to RTX models|
|Price||Generally higher price compared to equivalent GTX models||Generally lower price compared to equivalent RTX models|
|Features and Technologies||DLSS, Ray Tracing, AI Acceleration, NVIDIA Reflex, NVIDIA Broadcast, NVIDIA Studio Drivers, RTX IO||NVIDIA Ansel, NVIDIA GameWorks, NVIDIA Studio Drivers, NVIDIA Ansel, VR Support|
|Official link||Visit Website||Visit Website|
NVIDIA RTX vs GTX: Features
NVIDIA RTX Series:
- Ray Tracing: The RTX series of graphics cards are made with special RT Cores that make ray tracing possible in real time. Ray tracing makes lighting, reflections, and shadows in games and other applications look more real.
- Tensor Cores: RTX cards also have Tensor Cores, which are hardware units designed specifically for processing artificial intelligence (AI). These cores run features like DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), which uses AI to improve the quality and performance of lower-resolution images in real time.
- DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling): DLSS is a feature that is only available on RTX cards. It uses AI algorithms to improve the quality of lower-resolution images while keeping their clarity and sharpness. This lets games run faster without lowering the quality of the graphics.
- NVIDIA Reflex: This feature speeds up response times in competitive games by optimizing the rendering pipeline and lowering system latency.
- NVIDIA Broadcast: RTX cards come with the NVIDIA Broadcast app, which gives content creators access to AI-powered features. It has features like the ability to get rid of background noise, create virtual backgrounds, and track frames automatically.
- NVIDIA Studio Drivers: These drivers are made for creative applications and make tasks like video editing, 3D rendering, and graphic design run faster and more smoothly.
NVIDIA GTX Series:
- High Performance: The GTX series of graphics cards are great for gaming and other graphics-intensive tasks, but they don’t have special hardware for ray tracing and AI processing in real time.
- NVIDIA GameWorks: GTX cards support NVIDIA GameWorks, which is a set of libraries and tools that game developers can use to improve graphical effects, physics simulations, and the overall visual quality of games.
- NVIDIA Ansel: GTX cards come with Ansel, a powerful tool for taking photos in games. Users can take high-resolution screenshots, edit them, add filters, and even take 360-degree panoramic pictures.
- VR Support: Many GTX cards have support for virtual reality (VR) games and applications. When paired with a VR headset, this makes for an immersive experience.
NVIDIA RTX vs GTX Performance
There can be a big difference in how well NVIDIA’s RTX and GTX series of graphics cards work. Thanks to improvements in architecture, more CUDA cores, and better memory configurations, the RTX series usually has better performance than similar GTX models. Since RTX cards have their own RT Cores and Tensor Cores, they can do ray tracing and AI processing in real time. This leads to more realistic graphics and better visual effects.
With the addition of DLSS technology, RTX cards can now use AI-based upscaling to provide higher frame rates and better image quality. On the other hand, GTX cards still work well for gaming and other graphics-intensive tasks, but they don’t have the special hardware that RTX models have for real-time ray tracing and AI acceleration. Even though the difference in performance depends on the specific card model and the software being used, the RTX series tends to offer a more powerful and future-proof performance for gaming and content creation needs that are demanding.
NVIDIA RTX: Pros and Cons
- Real-time ray tracing for more realistic graphics.
- Optimized drivers for creative applications.
- RTX IO for faster data loading in supported games.
- Higher price compared to equivalent GTX models.
- Higher power consumption.
- Limited availability of ray tracing and DLSS in older games.
GTX: Pros and Cons
- NVIDIA GameWorks for enhanced graphical effects.
- NVIDIA Ansel for in-game photography.
- Support for virtual reality (VR) experiences.
- Lack of dedicated ray tracing and AI processing hardware.
- Lower performance compared to equivalent RTX models.
- Limited future-proofing for emerging technologies like real-time ray tracing and DLSS.
Which one should you consider?
What you do will depend on what you want to do. RTX is the new kid on the block. It can do everything that GTX can do and more. Also, it is harder to get and costs more. Are you a gamer who plays all the time or a graphic designer or editor? Do you want a show that will always blow your mind? Then you need an RTX 30-series. You might be looking for something like the new 3080.
On the other hand, if you want good performance on a budget, a GeForce GTX graphics card still has a lot to offer. The GTX 16XX Super series can reliably run most modern games at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. Even older graphics cards like the GTX 1070 or 1080 are still good enough for a cheap gaming PC.
In general, the RTX card series performs better than the GTX series, especially in games that support ray tracing and Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). But the difference in performance can be different depending on the models and uses being compared.
The GTX GPUs don’t have Tensor Cores, so they can’t keep up with the RTX’s ability to process AI and deep learning. Price: RTX GPUs cost more than GTX GPUs, as you might expect.