Currently, the very best of the best gaming graphics cards are AMD's Radeon RX 6950 XT and Nvidia's GeForce RTX 3090 Ti, both of which can run the most graphically demanding games at maximum settings and resolutions while boasting high frame rates.
Being upgrades to the previous top ranking cards, the RTX 3090 and RX 6900 XT, both cards were released earlier this year, with Nvidia's flagship coming out two months before AMD's contender in March. Although these cards do not feature that big of an upgrade over their predecessors, they still provide people with enough reason to purchase them, even with the slightly increased price. But the question remains, which between the two is the best?
Both AMD and Nvidia's flagship cards will offer top performances while gaming at 4K
There are quite a few differences between the cards. AMD's RX 6950 XT boasts a better architecture as it is built on a smaller process node that features higher clock speeds. Nvidia, on the other hand, has double the number of shaders, more VRAM, and almost twice the memory bandwidth, which more than compensates for the inferior processor.
Another major difference is the amount of power each card needs. Nvidia's card requires 115W more than the AMD RX 6950 XT, making it far less efficient. Getting the AMD card will allow users to settle for a lower-rated PSU that will save money on top of additional savings on monthly electricity bills. Surprisingly, with Nvidia's innovative engineering, it remains cool under load.
Even with AMD having the upper hand in some specifications, the Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti has better performance in almost every benchmark. Many gamers buy top-end cards for their ray tracing capabilities, and Nvidia's flagship is the market-leader in this regard. When ray tracing settings are turned on in various games, the performance will degrade significantly when using the RX 6950 XT, but not so much with the RTX 3090 Ti.
When comparing the performance of the two cards in lower resolutions such as 1080p and 1440p, there is not a lot of difference as they are not being utilized to their maximum potential. But when the two cards are compared while running games at 4K resolution, the performance difference widens, with the RTX 3090 Ti dishing out higher average frame rates than its competitor by up to 15 to 30% in games such as F1 2021, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Watch Dogs: Legion, and others.
The biggest differentiator between the two cards has to be the retail price. It is also one of the biggest dealbreakers for users who wanted to buy the Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti, but were unable to because of its $2000 price tag. The AMD Radeon RX 6950 XT's official price is $1100, making it a whopping $900 cheaper than its competitor.
If you are looking to buy the best in the market currently, the RTX 3090 Ti is the best choice for you. But if you are looking to make a smart purchase for 4K gaming, the RX 6950 XT is the better choice as it can run the latest games in the highest resolution while dishing out ~25% fewer frames, which is certainly worth saving $900 for.
Finally, if you are not in a hurry to buy a new graphics card, waiting a couple of months for the release of the next generation would be smart. The RTX 4000 series cards are set to be released in the coming months and AMD's RDNA 3 architecture cards are also speculated to be released before the end of this year. The next generation of cards will have a much higher price-to-performance ratio and are sure to further future-proof your PC.