Top 70 Video Cards Compared With Full Performance Specs
It is darn near impossible to figure out what is the best video card for your specific needs. Gamers require blazing speeds, FPS rates in the stratosphere, and all the GPU horsepower that they can possibly afford. Enthusiasts, prosumers, and home theatre owners require lower levels of performance out of their video hardware than gamers, but still several levels above those of conventional, average home and business users.
You can check the specifications of various video cards until you're blue in the face and unless you are a dyed in the wool video card phreak, you're going to come out more confused than you were when you started. Comparing the actual raw performance of a video card in a personal computer is an exceedingly difficult task and it is very easy to get lost in the figures until you don't know which way is up.
Gamers are well aware that some games require different aspects of performance from the GPU circuitry as they make much higher demands on the graphic processing. This aspect is essentially separate from the "raw horsepower" of the video card which is by far the most important consideration for the 99.5% of all personal computer users who don't spend the majority of their lives trying desperately to gain one FPS in Crysis over your online gaming buddy on the other side of the world.
That's why I've come up with a "pure" performance index to accurately compare the performance of the top 70 video cards available today. This index measures the actual physical performance aspects of the GPU subsystem and does not take specific applications or drivers into consideration.
The formula I used was to take the Shader and Core Clocks, index them to the total of the 70 cards, and then weigh them at 50% each for a singular index. Then I did the same with the Pixel and Texture Fill Rates. I then added them all to the index of the Memory Bandwidth and the FLOPS performance. This produced a Weighted Index that is a purely unskewed benchmark to determine the relative performance of a graphics subsystem in a broad range of environments and applications.
Given the fact that new cards seem to hit the market every month and each new release brings a downwards avalanche in the retail prices of all the other video cards on the market, it is necessary to be able to make an accurate determination of what video card suits your specific needs and pocketbooks.
Some people don't care what they spend on their graphics subsystem, as money is no object and they will stop at nothing in order to get the absolute best and fastest, even if it is darn near impossible to discern the difference to the runner up card in any way but a synthetic benchmark. However, most of us do keep an eye on our budget thus it is important to us to be able to get the most bang for our bucks. The correlation is simple: Get the highest weighted performance index card for the amount you have budgeted and you'll be just fine.
Here is the full Performance index Comparison Chart, followed by the basic specifications of each card in the summary, listed into specific categories according to the type of use that it is primarily and best suited. This list is accurate as of the date of the composition of this HubPage, April, 2009.