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RTX vs GTX – What’s The Actual Difference Between The Two?

You don’t need to be a gaming enthusiast or expert builder to recognize two sets of three-lettered abbreviations, namely GTX and RTX. Your first thought was probably associated with Nvidia as well.

RTX Sampling RTX vs GTX

If you’re building your own PC for the first time, you’ll have several options for graphics cards thrown at you. But majority of them will either be RTX graphics cards or GTX graphics cards. And if you don’t know which one to choose, don’t fret.

This article aims to help you recognize the difference between GTX and RTX graphics cards, and which one’s more suited for your needs. In this battle between RTX vs GTX graphics cards, which one will reign supreme?

What Does GTX Stand For?

GeForce GTX RTX vs GTX

GTX stands for Giga Texel Shader eXtreme, and is graphics card variant under the brand GeForce. The GTX graphics cards were introduced for the first time in 2008 with Series 200. Their first line of graphics cards included GTX 260 and GTX 280.

With the advent of these graphics cards, the naming convention was greatly affected from then on. Nvidia’s naming convention had GTX or GT as prefix followed by the model number. So, what you would get is Nvidia GeForce GTX 200 series.

Nvidia later changed their microarchitectures with each variant, up until the latest lines of GTX cards called Series 16. These were the GTX 1650, GTX 1660, GTX 1660Ti, and then you have Super counterparts. The Series 16 was introduced in 2019.

What Does RTX Stand For?

GeForce RTX RTX vs GTX

RTX means Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme, and is the latest variant under the GeForce brand. The RTX line of graphics cards were designed for ray-tracing support, or giving you hyperrealistic graphics.

RTX graphics cards were introduced in 2018 and makes use of Turing architecture. The variants under the Nvidia RTX umbrella include RTX 2060, RTX 2070, RTX 2080, RTX 2080Ti, and the Super counterparts. Then you have the RTX 3000 series such as the RTX 3050, RTX 3060, RTX 3070, RTX 3080, and RTX 3090.

Earlier this month, the Nvidia RTX 4000 series was announced to the public.

Nvidia RTX vs Nvidia GTX at a Glance

Difference Between GTX and RTX RTX vs GTX

The age of the graphics cards notwithstanding, what’s the actual difference between the Nvidia RTX and GTX graphics cards? Both are using Turing architecture to achieve greater performance.

Here’s a short summary of their differences:

Launched

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX was introduced in 2008.
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX was launched in 2018 for desktops and laptops

Generation

  • The Nvidia GTX cards had a lot of series, starting from Series 200 all the way to Series 16. Upgrading from a Series 16 would lead you to the RTX 2000 series.
  • The Nvidia RTX cards were considered next-generation cards and featured ray-tracing support with DLSS 2.0.

Features

  • Nvidia GTX cards are notoriously known for their durability and long-term use. One could own a GTX 1660 without having to upgrade for the next five years at least.
  • Nvidia Geforce RTX cards are known for their performance and hyperrealistic graphic rendering.

Best For

  • Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics cards are best for games such as PUBG, Fortnite, League of Legends, and other eSports games.
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards are best for AAA games to guarantee both performance and quality, thanks to real-time Ray Tracing support. Imagine seeing realistic light reflecting off of a water surface.

Why didn’t we cover pricing and Availability for RTX and GTX Cards?

It goes without saying that there’s a shortage of stocks for both GTX series GPUs and RTX GPUs globally, mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the sudden hoarding of graphics cards for mining purposes.

Note that not all GTX series graphics cards are hyperinflated. Certain cards like the GTX 1660 are hard to find and inflated because they’re used for mining. We wish the same thing could be said for the RTX graphics cards.

But assuming that the availability of the RTX and GTX cards is high and the pricing is normal, which would be the better investment for gamers like you?

The best investment would be an RTX 2000 series card, like the RTX 2060. It’s affordable, sitting at a price tag of $300, up to $400. It’s a good entry level for RTX cards without the need for investing a lot of money into it.

If you can spend more money on graphics cards, then you could settle for an RTX 3060, RTX 3080, or the cream of the crop, RTX 3090. But these require a lot of power.

Wrap Up

So which is better RTX vs GTX? It boils down to what you really need out of their graphics card. Casual gamers might easily settle for something like a GTX 1660, while hardcore gamers could go for something like the RTX 3060 graphics card.

A lot of factors come into play, like availability, your budget, and your gaming needs. Real time ray tracing might not be something that people who play a lot of old games might fancy, but those who play Minecraft, Battlefield, and other RTX-supported games might enjoy tweaked-out graphics.

The GeForce GTX series isn’t entirely a bad investment either, especially if you get your hands on the 1660 or 1660 Super. But between GTX vs RTX, the latter is the best choice for future-proofing. However, we don’t want to discredit the GTX’s capability for futureproofing too. A GTX graphics card like the GTX 1660 can still last you for a couple of years, even with playing PC games heavily.

James Stephenson

james stephenson profile picJames is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as a Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.