Top 10 Most Significant AMD GPUs of All Time

SamiHA

Posts: 42   +53
Staff member
Only owned a ATI 3D RAGE PRO (my first 3d gaming card) and 4850,

Gotta say the rage pro was a great card for me, I remember playing Rogue Squadron and Viper Racing. Then I got a RivaTNT2 and was blown by it, I've been mostly nvidia since then.

Considering getting a 6800 if I can ever get my hands on one.
I had one of those 3D Rage Pro cards too. It was so long ago but I remember also having the 3D Rage version of MechWarrior 2, and being wowed by it back then,
 

SamiHA

Posts: 42   +53
Staff member
Let's see... cards that I've owned which were mentioned in the article are the VGA Wonder, the A8-3500M, the HD 4870 1GB, the HD 7970, the R9 Fury and RX 5700 XT. I've also owned an EGA Wonder and HD 5870 (not in the article).

I don't understand why Sami focuses on the two places where the 1st-Gen APU was least successful, in the low-power (Brazos) and desktop (Llano A8-3850). Brazos was was designed to compete with the Intel Atom in Netbooks which were kinda cute-looking but extremely limited in capability. They were so bad in fact that people stopped buying them and extinction set in. Desktop Llano wasn't really competitive because with an unlimited amount of electricity, the efficiency of Llano was overshadowed by the fact that it couldn't keep up with a lot of high-end discrete cards.

Where AMD Fusion really shined was in the mobile Llano platform because it an incredibly efficient and solid-performing IGP, the Mobility Radeon HD 6620G. The A8-3500M and its rival, the i5-2520M were like two sides of a coin. The Intel APU dominated in CPU-intensive workloads while the AMD APU dominated in GPU-dominated workloads.

They weren't equal sides of the same coin though. The A8 was "heads" and the i5 was "tails" because the A8 was far more balanced and therefore more versatile than the i5. While the A8 was slower in CPU-intensive tasks, it could still perform them to completing, it just took longer. However, in a lot of GPU-intensive tasks, specifically games, the i5's pedestrian HD 3000 IGP was completely useless. Several games that were playable on the A8-3500M were completely unplayable on the i5-2520M, assuming that they would even load.

Back when Tom's Hardware was good, they did an extensive 23-page review of the A8-3500M. They mistakenly called it a desktop-class APU (it's mobile) but it's what convinced me to buy my old Acer A8-3500M craptop. It's still decent for most tasks today, 9翻 years later:
The AMD A8-3500M APU Review: Llano Is Unleashed

Thanks for the detailed feedback! I really appreciate it, as I'm kinda new here and am always trying to get better and deliver the goods for you guys.
You're right though, the earlier APUs was best showcased with the A8-3500M. I brought up the other APUs as they first demonstrated the new strategies and technologies for the company as well as the potential of this new approach to chips in the low-power, mobile and desktop spaces.
 
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Let's see, had the X800XT, HD 6850, HD 7970, RX 480, and then RX 5700 XT but returned that after having a lot of driver issues and waited to get an RTX 3080 which I'm currently rocking. I've had a smattering of Nvidia cards in there as well and never really had driver issues until the 5700 XT.
 
My first Radeon card was the ATi 64mb Radeon 7200 AGP (the one with the snake-like metallic creature on the box.) I purchased it from a Fry's electronics store. To this very day in 2021 I still preffer the Radeon products due to their amazing price to performance ratio. They are also very overcklock friendly.

I also owned the ATi All-In-Wonder 8500DV, ATi All-In-Wonder 9700 and ATi All-in-Wonder X1900. I wish at least one of the All-In- Wonder cards had been mentioned on this list. they had a great price to feature ratio.

The last desktop Radeon that I owned was the XFX Radeon 7970 Dual Dissipation edition. That card was a distributed computing workhorse. It chewed trough BOINC Seti@home GPU tasks without breaking a sweat. It was a great mining card as well but I never used mine for such tasks.

I love the fact that AMD kept the overall look of the Radeon products after they were aquired from the Canadian ATi company. The box cover artwork is eye candy to me.

I happen to be an Intel CPU fanboy and I admit that there are very few Intel/Radeon builds out there.
 
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Lounds

Posts: 897   +796
My Graphics card timeline:
2006 - Geforce 7300LE 128MB
2007 - Geforce 8600GT 256MB (I regret buying this tbf).
2008 - ATI 4850 512MB (loved this card it powered through a lot of games at the time).
2012 - Geforce GTX 460 1GB (upgraded to play BF3)
2013 - Radeon 7870XT 2GB (7930) (recommended by Steve at the time for 1080p gaming).
2014 - Radeon 7870XT 2GB to do CrossFire, (I was stupid and didn't really understand bottlenecks or that dual GPU setups were very unoptimised.)
2018 - Sold one of my 7870XT's with my old build and put the other one into a Ryzen 1600 system, games such as Far Cry 4 ran much faster than before.
2019 - 7870XT died :'( replaced by a used RX 470 4GB, twice as much performance at half the wattage.
2021 - I'm looking for maybe a 3060ti or 6700XT



 

yukka

Posts: 980   +152
My graphics card history :

Matrox Mystique
Voodoo1
Voodoo2
TNT1
Voodoo3
Geforce 2mx
Radeon 9100
Radeon 9700
Nvidia 8800GT
Radeon 4850
Nvidia 460GTX
Radeon 570
Nvidia 1660 Super
Nvidia 2070 Super
Nvidia 3060TI

The last 4 cards were since March when I dug out my old PC and started an upgrade cycle from a nehalem i7 266 to a 3600
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,727   +2,047
TechSpot Elite
Thanks for the detailed feedback! I really appreciate it, as I'm kinda new here and am always trying to get better and deliver the goods for you guys.
You're right though, the earlier APUs was best showcased with the A8-3500M. I brought up the other APUs as they first demonstrated the new strategies and technologies for the company as well as the potential of this new approach to chips in the low-power, mobile and desktop spaces.
I'm always glad to help. It wasn't a knock against you because I enjoy your articles, it was just something that puzzled me and thought that I should throw out there. To be fair, it's probably because I actually went out and bought one after reading the review and to this day, I'm blown away by just how well the thing has worked over the years. Hell, I managed to get Skyrim to run on that craptop (not for long because I don't game on craptops) which just blew me away. As long as you're at 720p with medium detail, the A8-3500M will run Skyrim reasonably smoothly. The A8-3500M is probably the most impressive APU that I've ever seen because of what it could do at the time of its release.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,727   +2,047
TechSpot Elite
Let's see, had the X800XT, HD 6850, HD 7970, RX 480, and then RX 5700 XT but returned that after having a lot of driver issues and waited to get an RTX 3080 which I'm currently rocking. I've had a smattering of Nvidia cards in there as well and never really had driver issues until the 5700 XT.
You know what's funny? I'm not the least bit convinced that the drivers were the problem with the RX 5000 series. I honestly think that there may have been a hardware issue with the cards themselves, specifically the power delivery. I say this because the driver packages had no negative effect on either of my R9 Furies and when I sent my 5700 XT in for an RMA, the one I got back was an upscale model. I started doubting my own sanity because the auxiliary power connectors were different, something that I hadn't seen on two cards of the same type before. I looked up the specs and found out that sure enough, they were different:
5e99dc997b28209cf8480f20_5700-1_package.jpg

This was my original model of card, the XFX 5700 XT Triple Dissipation. If you zoom the picture, you'll see that in the bottom right quadrant (where the break in the back shroud is), just to the right of the cooling fins, are the telltale 4 squares of an 8-pin power connector and just below it, the 3 squares of a 6-pin power connector.

XFX replaced my Triple Dissipation with the much larger and beastlier THICC III:
5db6f8ed2d032cfa56e36b4d_THICCIII_1_web.jpg

If you look in the same place, you'll see that there are twin 8-pin connectors instead of an 8 and a 6. The violent crashes that the original card displayed were complete system reset-style crashes. They reminded me of the crashes that I experienced back in the day when my PSU was failing and unable to deliver sufficient power to my twin HD 4870 1GB cards (ironically, also XFX). However, I knew that it wasn't my PSU for two reasons:

  1. My PSU is an EVGA 1000 G2 Supernova (1kW, 80+Gold).
  2. The R9 Fury draws more juice than the 5700 XT and it works fine.

The driver package used did have some effect on the original card (the WHQL driver crashed more often) but had no effect on the replacement card whatsoever. When I received the replacement, I went out of my way to try to force it to crash. I didn't use DDU, didn't even change the driver package that I was using with the R9 Fury that was my backup card (which uses the same driver package anyway), something that would cause the original card to crash and burn. However, the replacement card NEVER crashed. I have a feeling that the 8+6 power delivery setup may have been sufficient for the RX 5700 but not the RX 5700 XT.

The other big reason I think this is a hardware problem (even if I'm wrong about the power delivery) is that reviewers never saw these problems. If it were a driver problem, they would have seen it for certain because their rigs are made of the same stuff as everyone else's. If the problem was hardware-based, then no amount of experimentation would succeed in re-creating the problem regardless of the driver package used if their card wasn't defective to begin with.

If the problem was limited to, say, 25% of cards, that's still thousands of people with these errors. If thousands of people are complaining online about issues with these cards, it would definitely seem like they're all bad because that's a lot of negative posts. Meanwhile, the majority of people who have had great experiences said nothing because they had no idea that some cards did have problems. It also means that each reviewer had a 75% chance of getting a card without problems, a percentage high enough to realistically assume that they just never got any bad cards.

This is why I tell people that if their card's acting up, just RMA the thing.
 
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maestro0428

Posts: 42   +38
Ive owned many ATI gpus. Rage, 9000, 9600, 9800pr,o 9800xt, 1800xl, 1950xt, 3850s in crossfire, 3870x2, FireGL 7350, FireGL v5800, 4850, rx460, rx580. There's probably more, I just can't think of them.
 

Fuzzy Dunalap

Posts: 28   +55
The 4850 was the first time I stepped into mainstream gpu performance. I want to say I bought it with in the first couple of years it came out. Boy, did I play that thing to death, for real. Overclocked it and never looked back, never had to care about graphic settings.

I knew the highest settings was for 4870. One tick below and that bad boy ran it quite well.

Before that, it was just the straight budget options, I on lowest settings.

True story. Only gpu's I had that died on me where both from Powercolor. Hell, I still have my PNY 7900GS
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,727   +2,047
TechSpot Elite
The 4850 was the first time I stepped into mainstream gpu performance. I want to say I bought it with in the first couple of years it came out. Boy, did I play that thing to death, for real. Overclocked it and never looked back, never had to care about graphic settings.

I knew the highest settings was for 4870. One tick below and that bad boy ran it quite well.

Before that, it was just the straight budget options, I on lowest settings.

True story. Only gpu's I had that died on me where both from Powercolor. Hell, I still have my PNY 7900GS
I had problems with the only Powercolor cards that I've ever owned as well. They were both HD 7870 XT models (which should have been called HD 7930). They would crash the system every time I tried to crossfire them. I got them from NCIX and they tried replacing both of them with the same result. I ended up giving them back and just getting twin Gigabyte Windforce HD 7970s instead. :D
 

YSignal

Posts: 45   +33
ATI/AMD cards I've owned:.
Radeon 9600 ago
9700 pro
4850
270x2gb
280x3gb
Rx5808gb
And now 5700xt

No complaints with any of them really. I think the 9700 pro died a bit early and I replaced it with an nvidia gpu. Forget the model.

I would say that polaris deserves to be on this list.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,727   +2,047
TechSpot Elite
I will never forget that 9700 in my Systemax, it chewed games up like nothing I ever had.
Ah Systemax! That brings back some memories of working at Tiger Direct! :D
I like to imagine the 5700 as a middle fighter, fencing off the bigger opponents, until the big brother (RX6800 series) could join the fight.
And that's exactly what it did. From the numbers that I've seen, the RX 5700 XT outsold the RTX 2070 Super. It was a really hot item when it came to sales, kind of like the RX 580.
ATI/AMD cards I've owned:.
Radeon 9600 ago
9700 pro
4850
270x2gb
280x3gb
Rx5808gb
And now 5700xt

No complaints with any of them really. I think the 9700 pro died a bit early and I replaced it with an nvidia gpu. Forget the model.

I would say that polaris deserves to be on this list.
I would agree with you. If it weren't for the miners buying them up left and right, I believe that Polaris-based cards would be #1 on the Steam survey instead of the GTX 1060. I remember back in 2017 when so many people were griping about wanting a Polaris card but the situation with Polaris was only slightly better than the situation with RDNA2 is now. Availability was sparse and prices were driven high by the sellers.
Title should have probably been Top 10 Radeon GPUs. Since most of these are when it was ATI
Technically, it has always been ATi, even to this day. The term "Radeon Graphics Group" is nothing more than meaningless branding. The HQ of the "AMD Radeon Graphics Group" in Markham has always been listed on AMD's website as "ATi Technologies ULC". So too is their branch in Calgary. I had a conversation with neeyik about this not too long ago in which I found definitive proof that ATi is still legally called ATi:
My conversation with neeyik about ATi still existing
Personally, I think that the re-branding of ATi video cards to AMD was both arrogant and stupid. Branding matters and far more people had heard of ATi than AMD. I really think that AMD shot themselves in the foot with that and should bring the ATi brand back.
 

Thunder6230

Posts: 66   +40
I had an xfx 4890 1gb. That was my last vga card. I loved it very much. After a 8800gt which was amazing either was a big upgrade. I bought it secondhand for about 150euros bucks ( 33000 hungarian forints). It was high end card. Now this level is 1000 euro不不不 I can't find the word's.
 

Yad

Posts: 73   +8
Well this brings back many memories.
I still have a few old cards in my store which I use mainly for display.
I have hundreds of Ati 3470 lol.
Cards I have bought from ati were Radeon HD 5770 and what I currently own R9 280x.
I have switched to console now,pc needs a lot of money to stay up to date.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,727   +2,047
TechSpot Elite
I had an xfx 4890 1gb. That was my last vga card. I loved it very much. After a 8800gt which was amazing either was a big upgrade. I bought it secondhand for about 150euros bucks ( 33000 hungarian forints). It was high end card. Now this level is 1000 euro不不不 I can't find the word's.
Yeah, I can't either. One of my friends bought an RTX 3080 and when he told me what he paid, I said to him "OMGWTFBBQ! That's more than I paid for my entire platform!". (Platform being CPU/mobo/RAM)

I have a rule. My video card must NEVER cost more than my platform components combined.
 
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neeyik

Posts: 1,881   +2,199
Staff member
I have a rule. My video card must NEVER cost more than my platform components combined.
But what if your platform components comprises a Threadripper Pro 3995WX, ROG Zenith II Extreme Alpha, 256 GB of DDR-3400 ECC, and four 8 TB M.2 SSDs? :)