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Understanding Video Card Model Numbers

Modified on: Tue, 2 Feb, 2021 at 12:21 PM

The two major video card manufacturers are AMD and NVIDIA. They both have their own model schemes that you can use to help determine what video card to purchase. I have neglected to include laptop specific models as recommended laptop video cards will follow the same conventions below (more or less).


AMD has recently switched from a 3-digit system to a  4-digit system; however, it also has some video card models that don't follow normal conventions like the Vega line of graphics. Their products range from the 500 series to the Vega series, the 5000 series and most recently the 6000 series. After you've determined which series the card is, you can then figure out the performance value. Typically, you will find that a higher number corresponds to a more powerful video card. The RX 540 is the is the lowest performing graphics card in the 500 series and the RX 590 is the most powerful. The Vega 56 is the entry-level card in the Vega series and the RX 6900 XT is the most powerful card available from AMD currently and is a part of the 6000 series. The XT models indicate a slightly faster variant of the non-XT models. You can find a list of AMD graphics cards on their website.

Performance Examples:

Low Performance: RX 540, 550, 560, 570

Mid Performance: RX 580, 590, Vega 56, Vega 64, RX 5500, 5500 XT, 5600 XT

High Performance: RX 5700, 5700 XT 

Ultra Performance: RX 6800, 6800 XT, 6900 XT


NVIDIA, thankfully, has been much more consistent in their numbering conventions over the last few years. The current generations from oldest to newest are the 10th, 16th, 20th, and 30th generation NVidia cards. The final two numbers for each model will indicate the performance level with 10 being the lowest performance value and 90 being the highest performance value. The GT 1030 is the lowest performance model that NVidia currently makes while RTX 3090 is the most powerful model that they currently make. You can find a list of NVIDIA graphics cards on their website.

Performance Examples:

Low Performance: GT 1030, GTX 1050, 1050 Ti, 1060, 1650

Mid Performance: GTX 1650 Super, 1660, 1660 Ti, 1660 Super, 1070, RTX 2060

High Performance: GTX 1070 Ti, 1080, RTX 2060 Super, 2070, 2070 Super, 3060

Ultra Performance: GTX 1080 Ti, RTX 2080, 2080 Super, 3070, 3080, 3090

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