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General Ranking List of Graphics Cards Released Between 2002-2012

I have been following the gaming graphics card market for over a decade now, ever since I became interested in computer hardware. Over the past ten years, there have been many revolutions in graphics card technology, with 3D graphics in games becoming ever more realistic with each year. Watching the never-ending graphics war between nVIDIA and ATI (now AMD) has been intriguing and it’s this fierce competition that has driven many innovations that make today’s ultra high end 3D graphics possible.

During that time, I have been constantly comparing the performance between graphics cards. I have kept up a general performance list for a majority of the graphics cards that have been released since 2002. I have extrapolated benchmark results from several graphic card reviews to create this list and categorize them into five categories, based on their performance in modern 3D games: ultra high-end, high-end, mid-range, low-end, ultra low-end and basic.

This is by no means a definitive list, as graphic card performance really depends on what game is being played, the set resolution, processor, motherboard, and RAM that is used in conjunction with the graphics card. I have only listed graphics card capable of DirectX 9 and above, as older DirectX cards have become totally unusable in almost all 3D applications in use today. The list below is set as if there were no CPU/RAM/system bottlenecks in place.

Graphic Cards General Performance Ranking (As of February 2012)

(Ranked in Terms of General Performance, Best to Worst)

ULTRA HIGH-END: Can play graphic intensive DirectX 9/10/11 games of 2011-2012 at max settings at extreme resolutions (1920×1200 and above) with extreme anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) enabled. All games released prior to 2011 will run easily at the maximum settings and highest resolutions on these cards.
(Playable: Battlefield 3, Crysis, Crysis Wars/Warhead, Metro 2033)

HIGH-END: Can play graphic intensive games DirectX 9/10/11 (as of 2012) at max / very high settings at high resolutions (1680×1050 and above) with high anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) enabled. All games released prior to 2008 will run easily at the maximum settings and highest resolutions on these cards.
(Playable: Battlefield 2: Bad Company, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Mass Effect 2, Resident Evil 5, StarCraft II, TES V: Skyrim)

MID-RANGE: Can play graphic intensive games (as of 2012) at mid / high settings at standard or high resolutions with some or none anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF) enabled. Games released prior to 2008 will run games at maximum / high settings with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled, and high resolutions.
(Playable: Call of Duty 4, Fallout 3, TES IV: Oblivion, Half-Life: Episode I/II, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2, Command & Conquer 3, Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, World of WarCraft: Wrath of the Lich King)

LOW-END: Can play graphic intensive games (as of 2012) at low settings at low or standard resolutions with no anti-aliasing (AA) and anisotropic filtering (AF). Games released prior to 2006 will run games at maximum / high settings with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled and high resolutions.
(Playable: Call of Duty 2, Doom 3, Quake 4, Far Cry, Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, Guild Wars, The Sims 2, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory)

ULTRA LOW-END: May or may not be able to run graphic intensive games (as of 2012), depending on if they support DirectX 10. Even if they do support DirectX 10, graphic cards in this category are likely to be unplayable. Games released prior to 2004 will run games at maximum / high settings with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled and high resolutions.
(Playable: Call of Duty, Call of Duty: United Offense, Final Fantasy XI, Max Payne 2, Unreal Tournament 2003, Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow)

BASIC: Graphic intensive games (as of 2012) are highly unlikely to run on any of these cards, due to lack of supported 3D features (such as SM 3.0 support), or just really extremely slow performance. Games released prior to 2002 will run games at high – low settings at standard resolutions, depending on the graphic card used.
(Playable: Quake III Tournament, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, WarCraft III, Counter-Strike, Team Fortress Classic, Half-Life, The Sims, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Splinter Cell, Ragnarok Online)





GeForce GTX 590 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 6990 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 7970 (DX 11.1)

Radeon HD 5970 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 7950 (DX 11.1)

GeForce GTX 580 (DX 11)


GeForce GTX 570 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 480 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 6970 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 560 Ti (DX 11)

Radeon HD 6950 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 295 (DX 10)

Radeon HD 4870 X2 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 5870 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 470 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 4850 X2 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 6870 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 5850 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 465 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 460 1 GB (DX 11)

Radeon HD 6850 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 460 768 MB (DX 11)


GeForce GTX 285 (DX 10)

GeForce GTX 280 (DX 10)

GeForce GTX 275 (DX 10)

Radeon HD 4890 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 5830 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 6790 (DX 11)

GeForce GTX 550 Ti (DX 11)

GeForce 9800 GX2 (DX 10)

GeForce GTX 260 216 SP (DX 10)

Radeon HD 4870 (DX 10.1)

GeForce GTX 260 (DX 10)

Radeon HD 5770 (DX 11)

GeForce GTS 450 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 3870 X2 (DX 10.1)

GeForce GTS 250 (DX 10)

GeForce 9800 GTX+ (DX 10)

Radeon HD 5750 (DX 11)

Radeon HD 4860 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 4850 (DX 10.1)

GeForce 8800 Ultra (DX 10)

GeForce 8800 GTX (DX 10)

GeForce 9800 GTX (DX 10)

GeForce 8800 GTS 512 MB (DX 10)

Radeon HD 4770 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 4830 (DX 10.1)

GeForce 9800 GT (DX 10)

GeForce 8800 GT (DX 10)


Radeon HD 5670 (DX 11)

GeForce 9600 GT (DX 10)

GeForce 8800 GTS 640/320 (DX 10)

GeForce GT 240 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 3870 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 4670 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 2900 XT (DX 10)

Radeon HD 3850 (DX 10.1)

GeForce 7950 GX2 (DX 9c)

GeForce 7900 GX2 (DX 9c)

Radeon X1950 XTX (DX 9c)

Radeon X1900 XTX (DX 9c)

GeForce 7900 GTX (DX 9c)

Radeon X1900 XT (DX 9c)

GeForce 7900 GTO (DX 9c)

Radeon X1800 XT (DX 9c)

Radeon HD 2900 GT (DX 10)
GeForce 7950 GT (DX 9c)

GeForce 7800 GTX 512 (DX 9c)

HD Graphics 2000/3000 [Core i3/i5/i7 Sandy Bridge] (DX 10)

GeForce 7900 GT (DX 9c)

Radeon X1900 GT (DX 9c)

GeForce 7800 GTX (DX 9c)

Radeon HD 5450 (DX 11)

GeForce 7900 GS (DX 9c)

GeForce 7800 GT (DX 9c)

GeForce 8600 GTS (DX 10)

GeForce 8600 GT (DX 10)


GeForce 7800 GS (DX 9c)

Radeon X1650 XT (DX 9c)

Radeon X850 XT (DX 9)

GeForce 7600 GT (DX 9c)

Radeon X800 XT (DX 9)

GeForce 6800 Ultra (DX 9c)

GeForce 6800 GT (DX 9c)

GeForce 6800 GS (DX 9c)

Radeon X800 Pro (DX 9)

Radeon X800 GT (DX 9)

Radeon X1600 XT (DX 9c)

GeForce 6800 (DX 9c)

GeForce 7300 GT (DX 9c)

Radeon X700 XT (DX 9)

GeForce 6600 GT (DX 9c)

Radeon X700 Pro (DX 9)

Radeon 9800 XT (DX 9)

Radeon X1300 Pro (DX 9c)

Radeon 9800 Pro (DX 9)

GeForce 6600 (DX 9c)

GeForce FX 5950 Ultra (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5900 Ultra (DX 9)

Radeon 9800 (DX 9)

Radeon 9700 Pro (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5900 XT (DX 9)

Radeon 9700 (DX 9)

GeForce 9400 (DX 10)

GeForce 8400 GS (DX 10)

GeForce 9300 (DX 10)

HD Graphics [Core i3/i5/i7 Clarkdale/Arrandale] (DX 10)

Radeon HD 4200 (DX 10.1)

Radeon HD 3200 (DX 10)

GeForce 8300 (DX 10)

GeForce 8200 (DX 10)


GeForce FX 5800 Ultra (DX 9)

Radeon 9500 Pro (DX 9)

Radeon 9500 (DX 9)

GMA X4500 (DX 10)

GeForce FX 5700 Ultra (DX 9)

Radeon 9600 XT (DX 9)

Radeon 9600 Pro (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5700 Ultra (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5700 (DX 9)

Radeon 9600 (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5600 (DX 9)

GeForce 6200 (DX 9c)

GMA X3100 (DX 10)

Radeon Xpress X1200 (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5200 Ultra (DX 9)

GeForce 6150 (DX 9c)

GeForce 6100 (DX 9c)

GeForce FX 5500 (DX 9)

GeForce FX 5200 (DX 9)

GMA 950 (DX 9c)

GMA 900 (DX 9)

GMA 500 (DX 10.1)

TechPowerUp – AMD Radeon HD 7950 3 GB

AnandTech – NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470: 6 Months Late, Was It Worth the Wait?

XBit Labs – Clarkdale’s Second Half: Intel HD Graphics Review

AnandTech – AMD’s Radeon HD 5770 & 5750: DirectX 11 for the Mainstream Crowd

AnandTech – AMD’s Radeon HD 5870: Bringing About the Next Generation Of GPUs

TechPowerUp – AMD Radeon HD 4890 CrossFire

Guru3D – GeForce GTX 275 review | test
DriverHeaven.net – Sapphire Radeon 4850 X2

Guru3D – ATI Radeon HD 4670 review

AnandTech – The IGP Chronicles Part 3: NVIDIA’s GeForce 9300

AnandTech – ATI Radeon HD 3870 & 3850: A Return to Competition

Notebook Check – Comparison of Graphic Cards

Tom’s Hardware – All Gaming Graphics Charts Q1/2008

TechReport – Nvidia’s GeForce 7900 GS graphics card

Tom’s Hardware – All Desktop VGA Charts 2006

XBit Labs – Brother Against Brother: Gigabyte GV-RX19X512VB Vs. GV-NX79X512DB

Tom’s Hardware – All Desktop VGA Charts 2005

FiringSquad – NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT Performance Preview

Wikipedia – GeForce FX Series

HardOCP – GeForce FX 5800 Ultra Preview

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