When building your own computer, you’ve likely been introduced to the concept of the GPU. Currently, there are two major GPUs on the market: the GTX and the RTX. So which one of these two options is the better one for gaming?
Regarding gaming, RTX GPUs will deliver a much smoother experience, featuring higher framerates, higher resolutions, and better lighting through ray tracing. This is because RTX GPUs are much newer than GTX ones. Though, GTX GPUs are usually much cheaper.
After reading this, you may have been convinced that the RTX GPU gives you better performance than the GTX. But just how much better is the RTX? Let’s discuss this debate in more detail to help you determine the right part for your PC.
What is the Difference Between RTX & GTX?
RTX and GTX are two different graphics cards (GPUs) developed by Nvidia specifically for use with gaming computers. However, many readers likely don’t know much more about these two graphics cards. So what makes the RTX line of GPUs different from the GTX line?
The GTX line of Nvidia GPUs was first introduced back in 2008 with the introductions of the GTX 260 and the GTX 280. The name GTX comes from the words Giga Texel eXtreme, referring to the fact that the GTX line surpassed the giga-texel rendering threshold.
Meanwhile, the RTX line was introduced to the world much more recently in 2019. RTX is meant to symbolize Nvidia’s first foray into the world of ray tracing, an advanced lighting technique in video games that is very taxing on a computer’s GPU. Even the name refers to this, with the full name being Ray Tracing eXtreme or RTX.
The RTX line of GPUs achieves ray tracing by having certain parts of the GPU specifically dedicated to the feature. RTX cards have both ray tracing cores and the traditional shader core. The shader core part of the GPU handles all regular lighting, while the ray tracing core handles all ray tracing the GPU has to load.
This means your GPU’s shader core won’t get overloaded while trying to load both regular shades and ray tracing. These jobs are instead sent to their designated sections to be loaded simultaneously.
This results in games with vastly improved lighting that will look almost lifelike. However, it’s also worth noting that if this lifelike lighting isn’t your cup of tea, most, if not all, games will allow you to turn it off.
Is RTX Better Than GTX?
When these two lines of GPUs were competing, this was much more of a debate. When RTX was initially launched, Nvidia was still making new entries into their GTX series. However, recently Nvidia has only been putting out new RTX GPUs.
The last entry in the GTX series was made in early 2020, while as of the time of writing, the newest entry in the RTX series was made in November of 2022. This means that RTX GPUs are much more modern than their GTX counterparts.
To put it clearly, the fact Nvidia has seemingly abandoned GTX to focus on RTX entirely has led to the GTX line missing out on all of the technological advancements made in the last couple of years. So the RTX line can render impressive lighting with ray tracing and is much better at rendering things traditionally than the GTX line.
In the battle between RTX and GTX, there is only one area where the GTX line still reigns supreme. GTX GPUs are traditionally found to be significantly cheaper than RTX GPUs. This is because RTX cards are currently in extremely high demand.
The debate between GTX and RTX comes down to the classic debate between cost and effectiveness. The RTX line is much more effective than the GTX line in almost every aspect, but the GTX line is much cheaper.
This will lead many people to wonder whether a GTX GPU is good enough for modern gaming. But, of course, the answer to this question depends on the game you’re trying to play.
The most recent GTX GPU will likely be able to play most games currently on the market. However, it likely won’t be able to play them on their maximum settings. This means you will need to determine how vital game performance is to you compared to price.
Can GTX Be Upgraded to RTX?
If you’ve been sold on getting an RTX GPU, but your computer already has a GTX GPU installed, there’s likely one simple question: Is it possible to replace your GTX GPU with a new one RTX GPU?
Swapping out your old GTX GPU with a new RTX GPU is possible. All you have to do to upgrade your GPU is remove the old model from the inside of your computer and replace it with the new model.
After doing this, you will experience many of the benefits that come from an RTX GPU. These benefits include higher framerates, higher resolutions, and support for ray tracing.
It is no wonder that RTX GPUs are growing in popularity exponentially. According to Steam’s user data, the most common GPU and the second most common GPU among steam users are GTX GPUs. However, this is rapidly changing.
If you change the data to instead show the percentage change from month to month, you will see the top four GPUs people have swapped to are all RTX GPUs. According to Steam, RTX GPUs are becoming increasingly common among PC gamers.
Are RTX Graphics Cards Worth it?
So far, we’ve determined that going from a GTX graphics card to an RTX graphics card will improve the presentation of the games you play. However, just how much of an improvement is it? Furthermore, is upgrading to an RTX graphics card worth the price?
To determine how big of a difference switching to RTX makes, we need to compare the performance of the two GPUs.
For this comparison, we will put the most recent addition in the GTX line of GPUs against the most recent addition in the RTX line of GPUs.
When playing 2019’s Red Dead Redemption 2 at 4K resolution, the RTX 3060 (on Amazon) managed to get an average of around 45 frames per second. Meanwhile, at the exact resolution, the GTX 1060 (also on Amazon) only managed to get the game running at about 18 frames per second.
If we lower the resolution to 1440p, the RTX 3060 gets the game running at around 76 frames per second, and the GTX 1060 runs at about 31 frames per second. Finally, if we lower the resolution to 1080p, the RTX 3060 runs the game at around 99 frames per second, and the GTX 1060 runs it at about 42 frames per second.
Switching from a GTX GPU to an RTX GPU will undoubtedly increase your computer’s performance. First, however, you need to determine if this significant improvement is something you can afford. Currently, the RTX 3060 (on Amazon) we used for comparison costs around $400.