What’s the Difference Between Nvidia GTX and Nvidia RTX? Nvidia’s graphics cards are divided into two categories: Giga Texel Shader eXtreme (GTX) and Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme (RTX). Nvidia owns the GeForce brand, which includes these versions.
GTX and RTX cards, which were released ten years apart, have different features and architecture. However, understanding the key differences will help you decide whether you want to invest in an Nvidia GTX or Nvidia RTX graphics card.
What is Ray Tracing?
Real-time ray tracing from Nvidia generates images with a more lifelike depiction of how light interacts. This level of realism makes games feel more immersive, and ray tracing can be handled more efficiently without sacrificing performance thanks to Nvidia’s RTX architecture.
Ray tracing is accelerated by RT Cores, which provide developers with ray-traced rendering. As a result, objects and settings can display realistic illumination, providing a more compelling experience. When combined with Nvidia’s Tensor Cores, you get attractive, realistic visuals that give a high-quality performance improvement via AI upscaling and DLSS.
Nvidia GTX vs Nvidia RTX
The GTX 260 was the first GPU of the Nvidia GTX family, launched in 2008. Nvidia’s RTX cards were released a decade later in 2018, providing real-time ray tracing to give a new and immersive gaming experience.
The primary distinctions between Nvidia GTX and Nvidia RTX are as follows:
|Architecture||The Pascal and Turing architectures underpin the Nvidia GTX series. The Nvidia RTX series is based on the more advanced Turing and Ampere architectures, with Ampere used in the RTX 3000 and RTX 4000 series.|
|Performance||Nvidia’s RTX GPUs outperform the previous GTX GPUs as newer hardware, especially considering that three GPU generations have passed since the last GTX release.|
|Ai||Nvidia Tensor Cores are built into the Nvidia RTX GPUs, enabling AI and deep learning capabilities. The GTX GPUs lack Tensor Cores and so cannot compete with the AI and deep learning processing capabilities of the RTX.|
|Ray Tracing||One of the most noticeable differences is the RTX series’ hardware-accelerated ray tracing. RTX cards provide dedicated RT (Ray Tracing) cores that allow for real-time ray tracing in games and applications, resulting in more realistic lighting, shadows, and reflections.|
|Power Efficiency||Despite requiring more power, Nvidia’s RTX GPUs outperform the older GTX GPUs in terms of performance per watt.|
|Price||RTX GPUs are, predictably, more expensive than GTX GPUs.|
Ray tracing is a complex method that calculates how light rays reflect off surfaces and how shadows develop. The ultimate result is shadowed with softer and smoother edges, creating more realism. Although images become more realistic, ray tracing requires more processing power.
The other significant distinction between GTX and RTX graphics cards is DLSS. According to Nvidia Developer: DLSS stands for Deep Learning Super Sampling and is a type of graphics technology that employs AI to increase performance by creating extra frames.
NVIDIA DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is a neural graphics technique that uses AI to build totally new frames and display better resolution via picture reconstruction—all while offering best-in-class visual quality and responsiveness.
Of course, the presence of technologies such as ray tracing and DLSS implies that the only difference between Nvidia GTX and RTX graphics cards is their pricing. That’s understandable considering the progression of generations. While ray tracing was implemented in a 2020 Nvidia driver update for some Nvidia GTX GPUs, they aren’t powerful enough to make the most of the technology, and results are typically below what you’d expect.
|Detail||GTX 10 Series||RTX 20 Series|
|VR Ready||Only on GTX 1060 or higher.||Yes|
|Ray Tracing||Some models||Yes|
In terms of performance, the RTX 2060, the entry-level graphics card in the RTX 20 Series, outperforms the GTX 1660. According to UserBenchmark tests, the average bench for the GTX 1660 is 68.3%, while the RTX 2060 is 89.8%. Furthermore, even though the RTX 3050 is the newer GPU, there are other reasons why you should consider the RTX 2060.