Is GTX or RTX Better? (Comprehensive Guide)

The GTX and RTX series are two of Nvidia’s most popular and successful GPU lineups. They have the most cutting-edge technological advancements, and we always get to see a new one every couple of years. Because they’re both good and perform similarly, the big question is whether GTX or RTX is better.

In most performance benchmarks, the RTX series outperforms the GTX series. This makes sense because it is the successor to the GTX series. Still, the GTX series isn’t too bad. In most settings, the performance of both GPUs is very close, often only varying by a few percentage points.

Read on to see detailed comparisons, and by the end, you’ll be able to decide which is best for you. Let’s get started.

A Quick Overview of GTX and RTX

Let’s start with a quick overview of the two GPUs so you have a general idea of what to expect.

What Does RTX Stand for Nvidia

RTX stands for Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme. It is a variant of Nvidia that supports RTX in real-time. All of the RTX cards from Nvidia’s 20-series debuted in 2016.

Let’s dig a little deeper to learn more about RTX—

What Is RTX

nvidia deep learning super sampling

RTX or Ray tracing is a modern-day graphics technique that allows games to track the movement of light and shadows inside a game in real-time. It’s an extremely complicated process, but super powerful.

All these GPUs have something called RT cores and Tensor cores. The RT cores allow RTX cards to have no more artificial light and shadows in games, leading to a realistic experience.

The Tensor cores are used to improve deep learning, AI, and HPC (High-Performance Computing).

It’s been a hit since its release, but it’s also quite pricey. But this is only true for the top-of-the-line RTX 30-series cards.

The RTX 2080 is a good example of a powerful RTX card that doesn’t break the bank. We’ll use it as a reference throughout this article.

What Does GTX Stand for Nvidia

GTX stands for Giga Texel Shader eXtreme. The series was launched in 2008 and has been producing the most powerful, top-tier GPUs ever since. The most powerful GTX cards are from Nvidia’s GTX 10-series.

Let’s dig a little deeper to learn more about GTX—

What Is GTX

GTX 10-series is run by Pascal architecture. Pascal is like a lower-end version of the Turing architecture used on RTX cards.

This makes GTX cards almost as powerful as RTX cards, but less expensive. The GTX 10-series has some outstanding GPUs that are both high-end and affordable. The GTX 1080 is a good example of this.

When it comes to performance, GPUs like the GTX 1080 are on par with RTX cards. Even though they were made a long time ago, they work well at both 1080p and 1440p. however,  RT cores and ray tracing aren’t available on GTX cards.

Update: Nvidia recently released their new GTX 16-series graphics cards, which employ Turing architecture. The new GTX 16-series cards use less power than their predecessors, making them faster, cooler, and quieter while taking full advantage of Turing’s more advanced graphics features.

Technical Differences Between GTX and RTX

In terms of performance, usually, RTX cards do better than GTX cards. This is because GTX cards are built the same way as RTX cards, but they don’t have as many features. This includes DLSS, ray-tracing, and a few other features that make RTX a more powerful option.

The biggest difference between GTX and RTX is that GTX doesn’t have any RT cores. This means that GTX cards aren’t as strong as RTX cards. In addition, they do not support ray-tracing.

But first, let’s look at the technical differences between GTX and RTX —

Technology FeaturesRTXGTX
ArchitectureTuringPascal
NVIDIA Adaptive ShadingYesNo
VR ReadyYesFrom GTX 1660 or higher
Concurrent Floating Point & Integer OperationsYesNo
Turing NVIDIA Encoder (NVENC)YesFrom GTX 1650
Ray-Tracing CoresYesNo
Tensor CoresYesNo
NVIDIA DLSSYesNo

As you can see, the main difference between GTX and RTX is that GTX doesn’t have RT cores and doesn’t support ray tracing. Aside from that, as you can see, GTX and RTX cards perform pretty similarly.

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If you have a good GTX card, you can get performance comparable to an RTX card. So while GTX isn’t bad, RTX is far superior. These are the general differences in specifications, but what about their actual build?

Let’s take a look at the technical differences between two of the best GTX and RTX GPUs: GTX 1080 and RTX 2070.

StatisticsRTX 2070GTX 1080
ArchitectureTU106GP104
Process1216
Transistors (billion)10.87.2
Die size (mm^2)445314
SMs3620
CUDA cores23042560
Tensor cores288N/A
RT cores36N/A
Base clock (MHz)14101607
Boost clock (MHz)16201733
VRAM Speed (MT/s)1400010000
VRAM (GB)88
Bus width (bits)256256
ROPs6464
TMUs144160
GFLOPS (boost)74658873
Bandwidth (GB/s)448320
TDP (watts)185180
Place in Performance4248
Release date27th August 20186th May 2016
Launch Price$499$599
Core Clock Speed1620 MHz1607 MHz
Texture Fill Rate233.3277.3
Length229mm267mm
Maximum RAM8 GB8 GB
Memory clock speed14000 MHz10000 MHz
DirectX12 Ultimate12 (12_1)
Shader Model6.56.4
OpenGL4.64.6

In almost every comparison, the RTX 2070 outperforms the GTX 1080. Their differences, on the other hand, aren’t that noticeable; they’re quite similar. Even in games, they do almost the same and get about the same FPS.

The GTX 1080 is designed for 1080p and 1440p gaming, while the RTX 2070 is designed for 1440p and 4k.

Even with all of that, RTX 2070’s memory is better and faster than GTX 1080. However, as it has more CUDA cores, the GTX 1080 outperforms the RTX 2070 in terms of clock speeds.

Key Differences Between GTX and RTX

Now you should have a pretty good idea of how well both GTX and RTX work. Now, let’s talk about some important things you need to know about GTX and RTX—

Architecture

turing vs pascal architecture
Turing vs Pascal architecture

Unlike RTX graphics cards, GTX graphics cards use Pascal architecture. The Turing architecture found in RTX 20-series cards performs slightly better than Pascal, but the difference isn’t always noticeable.

However, when it comes to high-resolution gaming at 1440p or even 4K, RTX cards perform significantly better than GTX cards.

The RTX 30-series uses NVIDIA’s newest Ampere architecture. The streaming multiprocessor (SM) got better with this generation of GPUs, and there are also new ray tracing (RT) cores and tweaked Tensor cores. All of this leads to increased overall efficiency and performance of the RTX 30-series cards.

Update: Nvidia recently released their new GTX 16-series graphics cards, which employ Turing architecture. The new GTX 16-series cards use less power than their predecessors, making them faster, cooler, and quieter while taking full advantage of Turing’s more advanced graphics features.

Ray Tracing and RT Cores

GTX cards use Pascal architecture, which has no RT cores and doesn’t support ray-tracing. This makes GTX cards less powerful in demanding games, unlike RTX cards, which can do well even in high-end games.

On the other hand, RTX cards fully support ray-tracing and have RT cores. The RT in RTX stands for ray-tracing, so it’s not hard to tell it’s perfect for ray-tracing. RTX GPUs are usually used for running high-end games with advanced ray-tracing at high resolutions.

Future-proofing

When it comes to being future-proof, RTX cards do a better job than GTX cards. As mentioned earlier, RTX cards have RT cores and support ray-tracing. This is an essential feature for both current and future games.

Considering that RTX graphics cards are newer and more powerful than GTX cards, RTX GPUs are expected to last 5 to 10 years.

GTX cards are future-proof as well, lasting up to 5 more years even if you have a recent model. This means that if you already own a GTX 10-series graphics card, you won’t have to upgrade anytime soon.

However, the lack of ray-tracing support and sufficient CUDA cores in the GTX can be problematic in the long run.

For comparison, RTX 2070 and GTX 1080 are two good GPUs. Both of these can last for at least 5 years, even if you play the newest games.

RTX and GTX prices

In terms of price, RTX cards are generally more expensive than GTX cards. This is because RTX graphics cards have better specifications and high-end real-time RTX support.

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GTX cards are usually cheaper than RTX cards, but the higher-end GTX cards aren’t much cheaper than RTX cards.

This is seen in the GTX 1080, which costs about $499, while the RTX 2070 costs about $599 but performs better. You can see that the difference in price is very small, but the performance is still the same.

That isn’t always the case, though. Some GTX cards, especially the improved versions like Ti or Super, are more expensive than RTX cards.

A good example of this is GTX 1080 Ti. It costs around $699, while the RTX 2070 costs $599.

At the end of the day, it’s worth it to get RTX cards because GTX cards aren’t always as powerful as you’d think. The steep price increase in RTX cards can be justified by their consistent performance.

Is GTX or RTX Better?

Now, to finally answer the much-anticipated question. In general, RTX outperforms GTX. This is the result of all factors, including cost, future-proofing, ray-tracing, architecture, and performance.

What Makes RTX Better

RTX graphics cards are usually significantly better and more powerful than GTX. But this doesn’t mean GTX is bad. Sometimes, GTX cards do better than RTX cards in certain situations, like when playing games with low resolution.

So you can’t completely dismiss GTX cards as bad. They aren’t bad, but RTX is better.

Does this make the GTX obsolete?

Even though RTX is faster than GTX, GTX graphics cards are still viable options. This is because, if you’re on a tight budget, GTX cards usually provide the best value for money.

A good example is the GTX 1080, which costs $499 but performs similarly to the RTX 2070 while being less expensive.

It can easily run games at 1080p or 1440p while maintaining 60 fps. Even 4k at a good 15 or 20 FPS is possible. It comes as no surprise that GTX cards are also excellent.

All in all, GTX is made for people with smaller budgets, while RTX is made for people who want better performance. However, RTX is superior to GTX in terms of overall performance. And, as time goes on, RTX cards will become more affordable while remaining powerful.

Best GTX and RTX GPU in 2022

It should come as no surprise that modern games require a more powerful graphics card to run. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of six different GTX and RTX graphics cards to assist you in selecting the best one for your needs.

Best GTX Graphics Cards

GeForce GTX 1650

GeForce GTX 1660 Super

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

Best RTX Graphics Cards

GeForce RTX 2060 Super

GeForce RTX 3060

GeForce RTX 3080

Without a doubt, the RTX 3080 is the most powerful graphics card on the market for its price. It broke performance records that other RTX cards couldn’t even come close to. It can run 4K at over 144 FPS and is extremely powerful overall.

After conducting extensive research and tests, we have determined that the performance of the following six graphics cards is superior to that of other products in their respective price ranges. If you need a powerful graphics card, we really think you should buy one of these.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does RTX Increase FPS?

Yes. RTX is a type of graphics card made by Nvidia that supports ray-tracing. It’s made for heavy gaming, and using any RTX card will help you get over 120 FPS in most games. RTX can even run 1440p or 1080p games at over 144 FPS.

Does ray tracing affect performance?

Everything comes at a cost, and RTX does slightly affect your performance. Turning RTX on may cause your computer to slow down or lag. But it’s still not going to affect your performance that much, as it depends on the game you’re playing.

Does RTX work with laptops?

Yes. RTX works on laptops. Recently, Nvidia has released their gaming laptops with the most powerful RTX graphics cards like RTX 3080. But it’s still recommended to get RTX on a PC instead since laptops aren’t as powerful as desktops.

Can you change your GPU on a laptop?

No. In most cases, your laptop graphics card is attached to the motherboard, and you can’t remove it. If you want to upgrade your laptop GPU for gaming, you should get a desktop or just buy a gaming laptop that has a better GPU.

Is GTX low-end?

No. Most GTX cards aren’t low-end, especially the 16-Series GTX cards by Nvidia. They can support most 1080p and 1440p games while being at over 60 FPS.

But graphics cards made before the 10-series, like GTX 560, aren’t going to give good performance in today’s games.

Final Thoughts

I hope you now know the answer to your question, “Which is better, GTX or RTX?” We’ve compared two of the best GTX and RTX GPUs, as well as gone over their general differences.

At the end of the day, there isn’t much of a difference in performance between the cards if you compare two models in the same price range. If you don’t care about 1440p or 4K gaming and can find a good GTX card within your budget, we recommend going for it.

We hope this blog has helped to clarify the main differences between the GTX and RTX video cards. We hope you enjoyed this blog article, if you did please let us know!

Chris Martin is a professional tech writer. He's been covering tech tutorials, hardware reviews, and more as a professional writer for over seven years now and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon! In addition to writing about the latest gadgets on the market, he also covers topics such as how to set up your home network or troubleshoot any computer problems you may have.

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