Does a graphic card important for programming? and what are some best card available for a programmer?
The short answer is-
If you’re a game developer working on advanced computer graphics and renders or running heavy parallel computing, then yes, it’s worth spending extra cash on a dedicated card by either AMD or Nvidia. Even some of the modern Android Emulators that are integral to mobile application programming require a decent card with moderate clock frequencies.
Our top picks graphics card for programmers in 2021-
- AMD Radeon RX580
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super
- XFX RX 5700 Xt Thicc III Ultra
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
- Nvidia Quadro RTX 4000
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For basic programming tasks, and you can get away even with integrated options right off the bat. However, for those interested in pruning their skills in AI, deep learning, GPU programming, and computationally intensive programming, then it’s better to invest in a quality video adaptor.
I will discuss the best graphics cards for programming that you can get your hands on in 2021.
Table of Contents
1) AMD Radeon RX580
· Based on AMD’s top of the line Polaris architecture
· Reliable performance with high-polymer aluminum capacitors
· Advanced cooling technology in dual-fan setup
· Less than 230W of power consumption
· 8 GB video memory for quality processing
At the number one spot, we have the Radeon RX580 from AMD. AMD cards have often been overlooked in terms of their raw performance and added functionalities as compared to Nvidia. Still, this GPU genuinely deserves this special praise as it is a go-to option for software developers and content creators alike.
Besides progressive workflows, this beast of a card aims to deliver high-end framerates in even most of the recent titles. It’s a complete unit that covers each and every aspect while still retaining within the budget range.
The AMD Radeon RX580 boasts a sleek metal body that is complemented by elegant finishing at the backend. Due to its ergonomic stability and pleasant outlook, it will remain irresistible for any modern casing.
It comes in a dual fan setup that remains silent even in intense load, so you can easily pour hours into your next programming task without any complication.
Speaking of fans, AMD has equipped innovative fan technology within this model, which means they automatically adjust their stature according to the given process, giving you added peace of mind.
They are 90mm in dimension and work on par, with an advanced airflow section to dissipate heat and maintain the overall integrity of the card. As an added accessory, the AMD Radeon RX580 features Dual HDMI ports that are beneficial for connecting with the VR headset.
Another cool feature this card possesses is the Radeon Chill technology, which ensures that your card remains at stable FPS throughout your gaming session. If that’s not to your liking, then you will definitely praise AMD’s Free-Sync Technology.
It regulates the fluid display while tackling broken frames. Also, you will be getting 8GB of VRAM, which is more than enough for the majority of programming applications.
The boost clock speed on this card is stabilized at 1366 MHz, which is nothing extraordinary, but it sure helps tackle modern-day programs.
|One of the best graphics cards for programming and photoshop||Nothing ultra-fancy about its design|
|Prominent cooling solution||Lack of power efficiency for a budget model|
|Great for 1080 gameplay|
· Performance-driven base and boost clock frequency
· Based on quality-oriented Nvidia GeForce chipset
· Gigabyte’s variant brings WINDFORCE 2x cooling
· Fully operational on PCI Express 3.0 x16
· 6GB GDDR6 in 192-bit setup
Unlike any other desktop accessory, graphics cards are available in a range of sizes, features, and course specs. But for those building their setup specifically for programming or any other creative workflows and looking for great price to performance stature, they can’t go wrong picking the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super.
Like the RX580, it’s a solid contender in the budget market that aims to deliver moderate performance and added reliability.
Due to its optimal specs and ergonomically stable design, it will come in handy as you perform any graphical intensive process.
The great thing about these cards is that they come from a variety of third-party vendors; one of the prominent ones is Gigabyte. Gigabyte’s spin on this model further adds versatility and performance. The base clock frequency of 1660 super resides at 1530 MHz, which is boosted up to 1800MHz out of the box.
Thanks to the extra-large cooling fans, the temperatures are regulated for most of the part compared to previous models.
The WINDFORCE system and large heat sink further enhance the cooling department with little to no loss in power efficiency.
In addition to that, the acoustic levels are also kept well in control due to their intelligent construction. Now you can work tension-free on your newest software on the go. Moving to game performance, it is ideal for budget-oriented 1080p users.
So, enjoy the latest and greatest Esport titles and moderate AAA games with little to no stutters. As long as you lower the eye candy a bit, you’re more than ok.
In terms of IO, it’s lined up with 3 x DisplayPort and a single HDMI output, which means you can definitely work on your programs over multiple monitors at once.
On top of that, due to the small interface, you can easily incorporate the 1660 super even in mini-ITX cases.
|Great value graphics card for programming||Not ideal for advanced computational physics|
|The sleek design further adds aesthetic to the build||Minimum of 450W power supply needed|
|Excellent 1080p and responsive 1440p|
· Equipped with a highly intuitive 3X cooling design
· Unique ergonomics with some RGB lighting
· Large heatsink and over the edge fin stacks
· Made for Premium 4K experience
· Ideal overclocking headroom
If you’re an advanced software developer or a programmer who majorly works on 3D rendering and has huge bucks to spare, then this RX 5700 Xt from XFX is your one-stop-shop.
It gives solid GPU performance to the end-user while still incorporating a wide plethora of features that are pretty hard to find these days. On top of that, due to its powerful cooling solution, it won’t disappoint gamers who are looking to play their titles at ultra-high frame rates without any subtle fluctuations.
You will be mind-blown by the details that this monster of a card provides.
Being a high-end graphics card for creative work and gameplay, it comes packed with 1800MHz of a base clock, which can go up to 2000MHz during greater loads.
However, these clock frequencies come at a price of power consumption, so make sure to grab a decent power supply to operationalize this beast fully.
XFX has incorporated a dual BIOS switch for those who want a bit of versatility in their products. Thus, you will be able to maintain the power efficiency and regulate the GPU’s longevity.
It’s also worth noting that the RX 5700 Xt Thicc III Ultra is a triple slot GPU, sharing 12.4 x 5.16 x 2.24 inches of dimensions.
If you have a minor casing system, you’re better off with models like RX 580. The extra length also corresponds to some ergonomic changes as compared to its competition. This time you will be receiving two 90mm fan blades that have been plopped between a third 100mm one, which strengthens overall air dissipation.
For those worrying about noise concerns, you will be glad to know that XFX has implemented intuitive technologies like Zero DB in this model, which makes it whisper-quiet even at max loads.
Besides that, it’s equipped with next-gen 8K support, which is extremely hard to find, even at this price point.
|Made for premium desktop applications||It is not power-efficient and requires a hefty power supply|
|Equipped with auto fan stop feature||Extra-large dimensions|
|Bang for buck clock frequencies|
· Provided with next-gen RT & tensor cores
· Over the top 10GB GDDR6X video memory
· Handles up to 8K resolution with no fluctuations
· 1.71 GHz boost clock right of the bat
· Directx 12 & NVLink™ support
Coming at number 4th spot, we have the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080. If you’re a data scientist working with parallel computing or a software programmer handling 3D renders, you definitely want this beast of a card.
It absolutely demolishes any heavy system task you throw at it while still retaining ideal temperatures. Due to current market fluctuations, it’s extremely hard to find it under MSRP, but if you somehow get your hands on some of these, you will undoubtedly avail of top-tier performance.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is in high demand because of its top-of-the-line 4K performance at astonishing framerates.
Titles like Battlefield 5, Resident Evil Village, and Cyberpunk 2077 will look stunning under these effects, provided that the settings are at max. Furthermore, this beast of a card supports 10GB of VRAM under the latest GDDR6X interface.
Thus, your computations will be lightning fast. Due to robust architecture, it can even handle multiple (4) monitors at once, with a max resolution of 7680×4320.
Besides that, it has some heavy potential for overclocking, so you can continually strengthen its horsepower according to your heart’s desire.
Being a high-end RTX card, the power requirement on this particular model is a bit overkill. It consumes around 350W with a system PSU requirement of 750W.
However, keep in mind that incorporating the latest Ampere SM by Nvidia improves the power efficiency a bit.
Besides the reference models, you will find RGB implementation, especially from third-party vendors like ASUS & MSI. So, if you have extra bucks to spare and want a card that stands out in your rig, you should definitely go for them.
|One of the premium yet fastest GPU on the market||It’s quite expensive on the market|
|Equipped with Next-gen ray tracing functionality||Like any other 3000 GPU, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 is power-hungry|
|Anti-fan rotation helps in maximizing cooling|
· Photorealistic ray-traced rendering with its 36RT cores
· Can accommodate extensive data set with the aid of Turing architecture
· Advanced shading features help it to deliver immersive VR
· Fast-paced 8 GB DDR6 based video memory
· Compatible with most Ryzen motherboards
Finally, on our list, we have Quadro RTX 4000 that was manufactured for professional usage, especially in designing software like 3DS Max, Maya, blender, or CAD. So, Quadro RTX GPUs are among Nvidia’s newest lineup of cards that are pascal-based replacements for non-gamers at the high-end.
The great thing about them is that they boast SLI support, meaning you can incorporate multiple cards within the same workstation. With this functionality, users can instantly handle complex data sets.
This particular model is optimized on previous-gen architecture and features double the memory, which is quite handy in terms of rendering or other high-end computations.
With this amount of memory support, Nvidia GPUs can compete directly with dramatic scale CPU architecture. On average, Quadro RTX cards, including these 4000 models, are made for handling highly intensive workloads, so you don’t have to worry about replacing them anytime soon.
The base design of this GPU is quite simple at first glance, measuring 2 x 4 x 8 inches in dimensions.
Thus, being a thin card, even older Dell casings can easily incorporate it. Additionally, with the aid of advanced architecture, this GPU is heavy on OpenGL, so the performance boost you will be getting is quite exceptional. RTX cards from the previous generation lacked single-precision compute capabilities due to the lower range of t-flops. However, this isn’t the case with the Quadro 4000.
Besides that, the ray tracing and deep learning capabilities that this product offers are just phenomenal. In the end, it could be said that for most of the 3D applications (like Solidworks), getting the RTX Quadro 4000 is a must.
It can outperform even the 2080Ti series video adaptors in a variety of computational tools. So, if you have the budget, you should definitely choose this professional card compared to any other consumer GPU.
|Top of the line performance in SolidWorks||It lacks a solid heatsink support|
|It can deliver a professional level experience||Not suitable for gaming|
|Known for its real-time rendering|
Is Graphic card Important for Programming?
The short answer to this question is No; you won’t be needing a prime graphics card if you’re mostly indulging yourself in basic programming tasks related to Python or handling regular Data Structures.
Sure, a dedicated card can make your code run a bit fast, but still, it’s not worth spending huge bucks for everyday programming tasks. It is better to invest in a stable CPU or added storage, which can help you massively in these scenarios. As for the long answer, well, it depends.
Thus, it’s best to invest in graphic processing power as compared to other system accessories.
With that said, we will recommend you not to overspend on the GPU itself. Anything like a 1660 super will suffice for dealing with IDEs, shells, and even multiple monitors, which is kind of integral in many workflows these days.
At the end of the day, these were our picks for the best graphic cards for programming and visual editing that should be available in 2021.
They were selected on the basis of ratings, budget, performance, and reliability, so no matter which option you go for, it will eventually be worth your time. However, it’s worth putting your own research and personal needs before you make up your mind.
Trust me, this will boil down to cards that will ultimately give you the most bang for the buck in the long run.
Other than that, both Nvidia & AMD GPUs are optimal for the price to precision.
But if we have to pick any among these, then we will suggest team green as they are lined with better drivers and architecture suited for professional workflows.
Q1, Does working on Python require a solid GPU?
For basic Python programmers, availing of a GPU is not a requirement. However, it sure is handy for the system if you have extra bucks to spare.
Q2, What CPU is best for programming?
Any 3rd or 5th gen Intel processor or Ryzen 5 or 3 series CPU is sufficient in modern programming needs.
Q2, Is a 4GB system ram enough for programming?
Although 4GB ram will do the trick, for the most part, it isn’t effective in the long term. That’s why we will advise you to get at least 8GB RAM to balance system load or to eliminate stuttering.