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I am looking to buy a new graphics card, but I am not sure what to be looking for, what is more important? CUDA Cores, Clock Speed, Memory, etc.

Here are some examples

Core Clock                900MHz      900MHz      732MHz 
Shader Clock              1800MHz     1800MHz
CUDA Cores                192         192         480 
Effective Memory Clock    4100MHz     4104MHz     3800MHz 
Memory Size               1GB         1GB         1280MB 
Memory Interface          192-bit     192-bit     320-bit 

In these examples, the first two both have better clock speeds, but the last one has more CUDA cores, and larger memory. What is an important factor when looking for a good/decent graphics card. How do I know what would be a better card when one has a better X component but the other has a better Y component?

When I do finally choose the graphics card that is right for my needs, I will probably use it for some games such as "StarCraft" and "SimCity", I may also use it for "Blender" and "PhotoShop" but I am not sure how much Blender/PhotoShop rely on the graphics card.

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closed as not constructive by Tog, Brad Patton, Scott, Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, davidgo May 11 '13 at 20:51

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Probably should add what you plan on using it for. CUDA cores for example can be critical if editing with Adobe Premiere Pro. Otherwise, they might not matter much. –  LilCodger May 10 '13 at 21:03
    
@LilCodger Okay I updated the question. –  Ryan Naddy May 10 '13 at 21:11
1  
As stated in the FAQ, it's off-topic to be "asking for a shopping or product recommendation". I think your question could stay if you re-wrote it to be more generic, e.g. I plan on looking for a video card for ____, what should I be looking for, specifically with regards to clock speeds, memory, CUDA, etc. –  ernie May 10 '13 at 21:16
    
I am not looking for a recommendation, I am really just asking what should I be looking for when one has a better one thing than the other if that makes sense. –  Ryan Naddy May 10 '13 at 21:18
    
@ernie I updated the question. Better? –  Ryan Naddy May 10 '13 at 21:22

1 Answer 1

When comparing parts with different architectures / chips, the best way to decide is to do some research. Web sites such as the Tech Report and Anandtech have great reviews on computer hardware like this, where in many cases they thoroughly test the hardware in a variety of different games and productivity applications. Have a look:

http://techreport.com

http://anandtech.com

If you're comparing two identical cards (like the two 550's), check out user / buyer reviews on NewEgg.com or Amazon.com and see which comes out better. In many cases like this, there is no absolute right answer. The differences are so small you will not ever benefit.

Beware of brand-biases as many people are fanatical about brands. I've been playing with parts for over 15 years now, and I can safely say that NO ONE MANUFACTURER gets everything right, every time. Some parts are great, others are bad. Ultimately it depends on the part. And of course there's always the rare lemons, the parts shipped in bad packaging, etc.

Footnote: The GeForce 5xx series is last generation. Current generation is the 6xx series. Most of them offer better performance at lower power consumption (see http://techreport.com reviews of 660 for example). There is yet another generation of 7xx cards set to debut this year as well. Just so you're aware :)

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the 660, confusingly uses a more power efficient, but less powerful, newer core than the 660 ti. Got a 660, and its a decent card ;p –  Journeyman Geek May 11 '13 at 12:05
    
@JourneymanGeek It's not that much different. Have a look here: techreport.com/review/23527/… –  Joshua May 11 '13 at 17:43

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