Ever wonder about the improving performance of graphics processing over the years? When you’ve been upgrading for years — nay, decades — it just comes naturally. At CoolNation we’re running a ton of different test rigs and home computers, all at varying levels of up-to-dateness. My own home rig is still pretty impressive, even if it’s a bit older (specs below).

Especially for mid-tier GPUs that’s an important question. Not only do we want decent performance for our gaming and graphics processing, we want it at a reasonable price. And if it’s improving at a good pace yearly, then we know the industry is moving with forward momentum, with progress.

TechSpot turned back the clock and investigated performance of a handful of GPUs, dating back to mid-2015. The set of cards are all household names:

  • 2015 – AMD Radeon R9 370X, NVidia GeForce GTX 950
  • 2016 – AMD Radeon RX 470, NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • 2017 – AMD Radeon RX 570
  • 2019 – AMD Radeon 5500XT 4GB, NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 + 1650 Super

See that gap for 2018? That’s when mining bitcoin was all the rage, so there was a glut of videocards.

The findings are interesting. The RX 470 nearly doubled performance from the previous year, but there’s only a 33% boost from the GTX 1650 Super over the 470. That’s a serious drop in performance growth. Which is not to say don’t buy new GPUs, but that there has been a slowdown in performance growth over time. That shouldn’t come as a major surprise; the more significant focus for both AMD and NVidia in the past few generations has been jumping past 1080p gaming, so while we’re getting higher transistor count on newer cards, the bigger change is an increase in VRAM.

That additional compute power doesn’t translate 1-to-1 for framerate performance at lower resolutions (if only!). Which makes sense why both AMD and NVidia have put out the 5500 XT and GTX 1650 Super, respectively: these mid-tier cards focus on 1080p performance. Even if you’re not looking to upgrade, these two cards will get you where you need to go for a few years, at least.

  • Intel i7-5960X @ 4.3GHz
  • 32GB (8 DIMM) G.Skill Ripsaw 4
  • NVidia GeForce GTX 980 x2
  • ASUS Rampage V Extreme
  • Samsung 850 Pro 512 + Samsung 840 Pro 256 + 1TB Hitachi HDD