The following information was found here. The main reason graphics cards naming is so confusing is because they like to cram a lot of information in the name including; GPU manufacturer and model number, card manufacturer and model number, memory interface, motherboard slot, what it support, and more. If you cram a bunch f information into a name, you will get confusion.
Graphic card naming schemes can be a
bit difficult to decipher until you
know what each part means. It can vary
somewhat from manufacturer to
manufacturer, but for the most part is
pretty universal. Let's look at a
typical card and parse it out.
Here is a typical description:
- EVGA 640-P2-N829-AR GeForce 8800GTS SSC 640MB 320-bit GDDR3 PCI Express x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card
Here's what that all means:
- EVGA: This is the manufacturer of the card, in this case, EVGA. There
are many card manufacturers, but only
2 main GPU manufacturers. This is
similar to motherboards and CPU's.
There are many motherboard
manufacturers, but only 2 main CPU
manufacturers. This is usually the
first part of the description.
- 640-P2-N829-AR: This is the manufacturer's model number, almost
always following the manufacturer.
- GeForce: This is the manufacturer of the GPU. There are two
main GPU manufacturers, Nvidia and ATI
(owned by AMD).
- 8800GTS SSC: This is the GPU model number. The main part of this is
the 8800GTS. This is the model number
from Nvidia, and will give you the
best indication of the speeds of the
card. More information on this below.
- 640MB: This is the amount of memory on the video card.
- 320-bit GDDR3: This is the memory interface.
- PCI Express x16: This is the type of motherboard slot that will be
required to plug in this card. The x16
is the speed of the PCIe slot. PCIe
speeds include x1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and
32, with 32 being PCIe 2.0.
- HDCP Ready: HDCP is a digital copy protection developed by Intel.
HDCP ready means that the card can
read and play HD DVD and Blu-ray
discs. Without this, you would not get
- SLI Supported: SLI is Scalable Link Interface. This is a technology
designed to allow 2 or more graphics
cards to be used in a single system.
The other 3 numbers refer to the market that the card is marketed for. They go in
increments of 50.
- 000-450: These are Nvidia's mainstream cards. The price range of
these cards is usually under $150.00
and they usually have less than 512MB
of memory. Current games will be
playable at low to medium settings.
- 500-750: These are Nvidia's performance cards. They are priced
from $100 - $300, and for the most
part will play the current releasing
games, on medium settings. These cards
will have from 256 - 512MB of memory.
- 800-950: These are Nvidia's Enthusiast cards. They are priced from
$200 - $700. These cards will for the
most part play the current releasing
games at high graphic levels. Memory
on these cards will range from 512MB -
ATI's naming convention is similar.
Their card numbers will relate to the
different markets that they are aimed
towards. The ATI naming scheme has
changed over the years, this is their
most recent. The first number in the
name refers to the series of the
graphic card. The next three will
determine what market the card is
- 350-590: This is ATI's budget line. These cards will cost less than
$100 and have 64MB - 128MB of memory.
These cards will usually need graphics
set to low settings for current games.
- 600-790: This is ATI's Mainstream line. These cards will cost
from $100 - $200, with 128MB - 512MB
of memory. These cards will normally
play today's games at medium settings.
- 800-990: This is ATI's Enthusiast line. These cards will cost
over $150, with 512MB - 1GB of memory.
These cards will play today's games on
Note: I've been contacted by a number
of builders asking about the ATI
radeon graphics cards; they are no
longer available on the retail market
but can be found through third-party
board manufacturers, who build and
sell the Radeon-based boards.