With Nvidia’s RTX series of graphics cards set to be launched on September 20, some people have started to wonder whether AMD can compete with Nvidia in the GPU market in the same way it has been competing with Intel in the CPU segment. However, such doubts about AMD’s GPU market position are largely dependant on blindly feeding on the hype created by the RTX cards.
The RTX technology and AMD’s position
What separates Nvidia’s RTX line of Turing cards from its earlier offerings and other competitors like AMD is its ability to perform real-time ray tracing on games. This essentially means that games will now feature realistic lights, shadows, and reflections, something that has been considered the Holy Grail of gaming. So far, so good.
But here is the problem — despite all the hype by Nvidia, the ray tracing calculations of the RTX cards will take a lot of computational power. As a result, though the game might look shiny and realistic, it comes at a cost that no serious gamer can ever tolerate — lower FPS. A serious gamer would prefer gaming at 120FPS with current graphical capabilities rather than play at 60FPS with ray tracing.
Then there is the issue with the price point. RTX cards are priced far higher than the previous generation top-end cards like the GTX 1080 and the 1080Ti. And compared to competitors like AMD, the prices will appear even higher.
Finally, the current RTX cards are only the first generation of the new tech. And as usually happens, it generally takes two or three generations for a technology to become mature enough to perform its task at its fullest efficiency. As such, thoughtful gamers would rather wait for a couple of years for RTX technology to improve and real-time ray tracing games to become more mainstream than to spend a ludicrous amount of money on them right now.
As such, Nvidia’s GTX cards and AMD’s Vega GPUs will continue to remain very popular with gamers. And AMD Vega card’s excellent price-to-performance ratio still gives it an advantage over Nvidia when it comes to budget gaming.
In addition, AMD also has its Navi range of 7nm GPUs in development, which will be launched by late 2018 or early 2019. These cards are expected to offer significant improvements over their current line of GPUs. And if AMD succeeds in outperforming the top range Nvidia GTX cards while keeping its price similar or lower, then it will appear far more attractive to gamers.
The GPU market will also see another major player enter in 2020 — Intel. Given how the company is known for its aggressive marketing tactics and a history of dominance in the computing segment, both AMD and Nvidia will see tough competition from Intel starting in 2020.
In fact, the company has promised that its dedicated GPUs will rival Nvidia and AMD, offering the best graphical performance at the most optimal price. Intel’s move into the graphics segment of computing technology is understandable given that it can no longer laze around because of AMD’s tough competition in the processor segment.
As such, Intel has to start launching CPUs with integrated graphics that can rival AMD’s Ryzen range and also make entry into the GPU market if it wants to keep revenues flowing. Ultimately, the intense competition between Intel, AMD, and Nvidia will only end up benefiting the customers in the form of better processors and GPUs at attractive price points.