Nvidia GTX 970 vs AMD RX 580: Which is Better for Gaming?

Nvidia GTX 970 vs AMD RX 580

In this article, I’ll test out and compare 15 different games at 1080p and 1440p resolutions to help you see the performance difference between them, and find out which is better value for money. I’m using the MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 970 4GB and Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 8GB for this review.

Model

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Brand
MSIGIGABYTE
Model
GTX 970 GAMING 4G

GV-RX580GAMING-8GD

Interface

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Interface
PCI Express 3.0 x16

PCI Express 3.0 x16

Chipset

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Chipset Manufacturer
NVIDIA
AMD
GPU
GeForce GTX 970
Radeon RX 580
Boost Clock / Core Clock
1279 MHz (OC Mode). 1253 MHz (Gaming Mode). 1178 MHz (Silent Mode).
1355 MHz (OC Mode) / 1340 MHz (Gaming Mode)
CUDA Cores / Stream Processors
16642304 Stream Processors

Memory

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Effective Memory Clock
7010 MHz
8000 MHz
Memory Size
4GB
8GB
Memory Interface
256-Bit
256-Bit
Memory Type
GDDR5

GDDR5

3D API

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

DirectX
DirectX 12
DirectX 12
OpenGL
OpenGL 4.4

OpenGL 4.5

Ports

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

HDMI
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x HDMI (Gold Plated)
Multi-Monitor Support
4
5
DisplayPort
1 x DisplayPort 1.2
3 x DP (Gold Plated)

Details

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Max Resolution
SLI Support

Virtual Reality Ready

YesYes
Cooler

With Fan
WINDFORCE 2X
Operating Systems Supported

Thermal Design Power

185W
System Requirements

Power consumption: 145W Recommended PSU: 500W
System PSU Limitation: 500W
Power Connector

6-Pin / 8-Pin
HDCP Ready

Yes

Form Factor & Dimensions

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Max GPU Length
232 mm
Card Dimensions (L x H
10.91" x 5.51"
9.13" x 4.57"
Slot Width
Dual Slot

Dual Slot

Additionl Information

MSI GTX 970

GIGABYTE RX 580

Date First Available
December 10, 2018
December 16, 2019

Pros and Cons Listed:

[i2pc pros_icon="icon icon-plus-thick" cons_icon="icon icon-minus-thick" show_title="true" title="Nvidia GeForce GTX 970" show_button="false" pros_title="Pros" cons_title="Cons" ][i2pros]Top-notch 1080p and 1440p gaming
Impressive efficiency
Smaller and overclocked SKUs available
[/i2pros][i2cons]More expensive than R9 290
Not able to play 4K games smoothly
[/i2cons][/i2pc]
[i2pc pros_icon="icon icon-plus-thick" cons_icon="icon icon-minus-thick" show_title="true" title="Radeon RX 580" show_button="false" pros_title="Pros" cons_title="Cons" ][i2pros]8GB of memory
Good DX12 performance
A refined take on last year's RX 480
[/i2pros][i2cons]Not substantially different from the RX 480
Uses more power than Nvidia's equivalent GTX 1060 6GB
[/i2cons][/i2pc]

Comparison & Detailed Review:

Above we have shown the overview and depth specifications of both the graphics card. Now, we are sharing the full review and in-depth comparison of both graphics cards.

QUICK SPECS: GTX 970 vs RX 580

GTX 970

RX 580

Released in September 2014 Released in April 2017
1664 CUDA Cores 2304 Stream Processor
1050 MHz Base Clock 1257MHz Base Clock
1178 MHz Boost Clock 1340MHz Boost Clock
4GB GDDR5 Memory 8GB GDDR5 Memory
256-Bit Memory Interface 256-Bit Memory Interface
Memory Bandwidth 224GB/S Memory Bandwidth 256GB/S

The RX 580 is based on the 14nm GCN 4th gen architecture and was released in April 2017, while the GTX 970 was released in September 2014 with Maxwell 2.0 architecture.

Note that things like Cuda cores and stream processors are not directly comparable, even clock speeds aren’t too comparable here given both are different architectures. Something to take note of though is that the 970 has 4GB of GDDR5 memory, while the RX 580 has 8GB, so we may see that additional memory comes in use at higher resolutions with higher settings in some titles. The 580 is also available in the lower tier 4GB model, however, we’re not looking at that here.

PERFORMANCE: GTX 970 vs RX 580

For the testing, I’m using the MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 970 4GB and Gigabyte Radeon RX 580 8GB Gaming graphics cards. Expect slightly different results with different models.

The system that I’m testing with has an Intel i7-8700K CPU overclocked to 5.0GHz in an MSI Z390 Gaming Pro Carbon motherboard, along with 16GB of T-Force Night Hawk CL16 memory from Team Group running at DDR4-3200 in dual channel.

Now let’s see the results:

Assassin’s Creed: Origins

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Let’s start out Assassin’s Creed: Origins, which was tested with all settings maxed out. In terms of average FPS the GTX 970 was 5FPS ahead of the 580 at 1080p, though this lowers to 6FPS lead at 1440p.

Battlefield 1

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Battlefield 1 was tested in campaign mode rather than multiplayer, as it’s easier to consistently reproduce the test run. I found both cards to deliver a playable experience with high settings, with the RX 580 just 12FPS ahead at 1080p and 10FPS ahead at 1440p.

Apex Legends

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Apex Legends was tested with the built-in benchmark using high settings, and the RX 580 was coming out ahead here, just 1FPS faster at 1080p, and no difference at 1440p.

Anthem

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Anthem was tested with the built-in benchmark using Vulkan with Async compute enabled maxed out at ultra settings. This was an interesting result, while I expected the GTX 970 to do well with Vulkan, I didn’t expect the results to be this close. In terms of average FPS, the RX 580 was only 1FPS ahead at 1080p and 1440p.

Far Cry New Dawn

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Far Cry New Dawn was tested using the built-in benchmark with high settings, and the RX 580 was ahead in all regards this time. At 1080p we’re looking at almost a 1FPS more and 2FPS more at 1440p.

Resident Evil 2

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Resident Evil 2 was also tested using the built-in benchmark with high settings. In this test, the RX 580 was 9FPS ahead of the GTX 970 at 1080p, lowers slightly to 6FPS at 1440p.

Metro Exodus

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Metro Exodus was tested using the replay feature with the exact same replay on both graphics cards. While I thought the game ran fine even at 1440p on either card even with high settings in use, the RX 580 was a fair bit ahead here, with 4FPS ahead at 1080p and 3FPS ahead at 1440p.

World War Z

RX 580 vs GTX 970

World War Z was tested with the built-in benchmark at high settings. The actual game performs a fair bit ahead of this, so this is more of a synthetic test rather than representative of actual gameplay, but it does allow me to accurately compare between the two graphics cards. With that in mind, the RX 580 was 30FPS ahead of the GTX 970 at 1080p, however, the gap lowers at 1440p with the RX 580 with just a 22FPS lead.

Gears of War 5

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Gears of War 5 was also tested using the built-in benchmark with high settings. At 1080p the RX 580 was 8FPS ahead of the GTX 970. At 1440p, this game saw the gap narrow, with the RX 580 giving higher 4FPS.

F1 2019

RX 580 vs GTX 970

F1 2019 was tested using the built-in benchmark at high settings. The GTX 970 is performing quite well here, seeing nice improvements over the RX 580. With that said though, the RX 580 was still 8FPS ahead of the GTX 970 at 1080p and 6FPS ahead at 1440p.

GreedFall

RX 580 vs GTX 970

GreedFall was tested with the Ulletical FPS benchmark, and both cards were delivering under 60FPS, although at 1080p there was just 8FPS difference, however, the RX 580 was ahead of the GTX 970 at both resolutions.

Borderlands 3

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Borderlands 3 was tested in the practice range as I can easily perform the same test run compared to playing with bots or other players which will differ every time. Both of these cards were not capable of providing a great experience at 1440p. In terms of the differences at 1080p the RX 580 was 4FPS ahead of the GTX 970, then at 1440p, this lowers slightly to the RX 580 being 3FPS ahead of the GTX 970.

Call of Duty Modern Warfare

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested using the replay feature with the exact same replay at high settings, and the RX 580 was a fair bit ahead in this game, 9FPS faster than the GTX 970 at 1080p and 6FPS at 1440p.

Red Dead Redemption 2

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Red Dead Redemption 2 is a resource-intensive game and was tested with high settings. In my opinion, this one doesn’t need a high frame rate to play, I can get by with a solid 30 FPS, so both cards were giving me a playable experience at 1440p. As for the differences, at 1080p the RX 580 was 3FPS ahead of the GTX 970. At 1440p the RX 580 is now 4FPS ahead of the RX 580.

Need For Speed: Heat

RX 580 vs GTX 970

Need For Speed: Heat was tested with the built-in benchmark and high settings in use, and is another resource-heavy game. At 1080p the RX 580 was 6FPS ahead, lowers a little at 1440p to a 4FPS lead.

CONCLUSION & PRICE

Now for the MAIN difference, the price. The prices will change over time. In the US, my MSI GAMING GeForce GTX 970 4GB is going for $435. The Gigabyte RX 580 I’m using currently goes for around $200 USD, although there are other models for the $190 mark at the moment.

Personally, I will pick RX 580 here. The RX 580 is $200 cheaper than the GTX 970. And the RX 580 is performing much faster than GTX 970.

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