Intro to Mining: What You Need to Know about Graphics Cards

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As the joint maintainers (mining workers) of Ethereum, AE, Beam, Grin and other cryptocurrencies, the GPU should be known as the most important hardware for the mining workers.

In daily community discussions, many beginners often discuss the performances of GPU based on different models. In most cases, the GPU models can precisely reflect their different performances. Based on the models, we can easily understand which GPU has more computing capability.

Now, we’d like to take Nvidia as the example to get started about what we can learn from the model numbers.


Letters in Model Numbers

Let’s talk about the letters in the model numbers first. The Nvidia video card begin with an English letter that is in the same way of the naming of racing car.

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In the early years of the 21st century, the Nvidia video card used to be named by a four-digit number ending with 00 and the English letter was then placed at the end of the card model.

For example, 5700GT, 8800GS, 9800GS, etc.

These letters are arranged based on the performance levels, such as GS for the standard version, GT for the enhanced version and GTS for the super-enhanced version and GTX for the flagship (final) version.

When the 9XXX series was used up, the Nvidia video card was named by a three-digit number and the English letter was then moved to the front of the model name, such as GT430, GT780, GTX980, etc. It should be noted that the GS version didn’t appear in the 3-digit model name.

After the release of the latest 20 series video cards, in order to highlight the ray tracing technology, the Nvidia card changed the original G letter into R and maintained the subsequent letters unchanged, so in the current market there are such models as RTX2070, RTX2080, etc.

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Numbers in Model Name

Then we’d like to talk about the numbers in the model names.

In general, the first number of the model name represents the core technology updating of the graphics card.

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In other words, the first number represents the “generation” of the graphics card. For example, the 980 graphics card (the 9th generation) is more advanced than the 680 graphics card (the 6th generation).

Perhaps the graphics cards are updated too fast, since the release of the GTX990 in 2015, the Nvidia graphics card is named by 4-digit number again. The difference was that the first two digits represent the process “generation”, such as 1070, 1170, 2080, etc.

Of course, the process can only determine the performance of graphics cards to a certain degree. Other factors such as the materials and the number of stream processors, also greatly influence the computing capability of the graphics cards.

For the purpose of more accurate comparison of graphics card performances, we should focus on the second digit. If the “generation” digit is the same or not big different, the graphics cards with larger second digit often owns more excellent performance.

For example, the 980 graphics card is more powerful than the 970 graphics card.

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Other Letters in Model Numbers

In addition to the common desktop, we can also find that some graphics cards are followed by an letter M in terms of some portable computers such as notebook. It means the graphics card is dedicated to mobile terminals and such a naming rule is also applicable to the CPU.

For the application in low-energy environment of the mobile devices, the performance of M-version graphics cards is often “castrated”, which is quite different from the conventional version.

In addition, we can often find Ti at the end of the model name, which represents “enhanced version” in another way and makes a more detailed classification of the graphics card.

In the case of the same English letters and numbers, the graphics cards with TI has higher performance than that without the suffix; however, the TI-version is, of course, more expensive.

For example, the GTX980 TI graphics card has a 30% improvement in performance compared to the original GTX980; however, the price is also about 25% higher.



With all the introductions on the naming rules of most models, we must have better understanding on the information provided by the model names of graphics cards. When purchasing graphics cards, we will never get confused by such a long series of numbers and English letters in the model names.



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