Help Me Choose: Video Cards

Whether you’re gaming, watching DVDs or editing video on your Alienware desktop, the quality of the graphics you experience is only as good as your video card. Along with the computer monitor itself, the video card determines the number of colors that can be displayed, as well as the contrast, resolution and overall gaming graphics.

How video cards work

Discrete video cards can provide better performance, as compared to integrated video cards. Discrete video cards are separate from the motherboard and include a specialized graphics processing unit (GPU). Because of their onboard GPU, discrete video cards don’t have to share the CPU with other programs.

Discrete video cards include memory of their own, measured in gigabytes (GB). Graphics memory is used by the GPU to accelerate graphics performance, store textures using game graphics and make gaming, movies and other entertainment intensely realistic. High-performance graphics cards require a significant amount of graphics memory.

How to get the highest performance

In Aurora and Area-51, NVIDIA® and AMD® video cards use a technology called Scalable Link Interface (SLI™) or CrossFire™ to enable two or three cards to work together when processing graphics data. Naturally, having two or three video cards working together to render graphics increases the available frame rate and provides more depth and detail. With the added horsepower of dual graphics cards, you can use higher-resolution displays and enjoy high-definition (HD) gaming without sacrificing graphics performance.

Compare

Available ConfigurationsSingle Graphics Card OptionsDual Graphics Card OptionsTriple Graphics Card Options
DESKTOP GRAPHICSNVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 950
NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 1060
NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 1070
Radeon™
RX 480
NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 1080
AMD Radeon™ R9 FURY XNVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX TITAN X
(Pascal)
DUAL NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 950
DUAL NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 960
DUAL NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 1070
DUAL NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX 1080
Dual AMD Radeon™
R9 480
DUAL NVIDIA®
GeForce® GTX TITAN X
(Pascal)
TRIPLE AMD Radeon™
R9 480
Available on:Aurora
 Aurora
Area-51Area-51Area-51
Dedicated Graphics Memory2GB GDDR56GB GDDR58GB GDDR58GB GDDR58GB GDDR5X4GB HBM12GB GDDR5X

2GB GDDR5
per card

2GB GDDR5
per card
8GB GDDR5
per card
8GB GDDR5
per card
8GB GDDR5
per card
12GB GDDR5X
per card
8GB GDDR5
per card
WidthDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual SlotDual Slot
Approximate Wattage90W120W150W150W180W250W180 W (2 x 90 W)240W (2 x 120W)300W (2 x 150W)360 W (2 x 180W)300W (2 x 150W)250W450W (3 x 150W)
Controller Speed/Graphics Clock (MHz)10241506150612661607up to 105014171024112715061607126614171266
NVIDIA CUDA™ Cores76812801920N/A25603584768102419202560N/A3584N/A
API's supportedDirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12
Open CL 2.0
Open GL4.5
Mantle
DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 1.2, MantleDirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 11.2, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.4, OpenCL 1.2DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12
Open CL 2.0
Open GL4.5
Mantle
DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5DirectX 12
Open CL 2.0
Open GL4.5
Mantle
Maximum Resolution5120x32007680x4320@60Hz
single DP
5120x3200
dual DP
7680x4320@60HzDP: 4096x2160
HDMI: 4096x2160
7680x4320@60Hz4096x2160 DP7680x4320@60Hz5120x32004096 X 2160 X 24 bpp @ 60
single DP
5120x3200
dual DP
7680x4320@60Hz7680x4320@60HzDP: 4096x2160
HDMI: 4096x2160
7680x4320@60HzDP: 4096x2160
HDMI: 4096x2160
     4096x2160 HDMI  4096×2160×24 bpp @ 60 Hz HDMI     
        2560x1600 DVI (Dual Link)     
HDMI SupportYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
HDCP SupportYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes
 I/O ports Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3xDisplayPort 1.2Stacked Dual Link DVI (DVI-I, DVI-D), One HDMI, One DisplayPortStacked Dual Link DVI (DVI-I, DVI-D), One HDMI, One DisplayPort3xDP 1.2
(DP1.4 HDR Ready)
HDMI 2.0b
Stacked Dual Link DVI (DVI-I, DVI-D), One HDMI, One DisplayPortHDMI, 3xDisplayPort 1.2Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3xDisplayPort 1.4Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3xDisplayPort 1.2Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3xDisplayPort 1.2 per cardStacked Dual Link DVI (DVI-I, DVI-D), One HDMI, One DisplayPortStacked Dual Link DVI (DVI-I, DVI-D), One HDMI, One DisplayPort3xDP 1.2
(DP1.4 HDR Ready)
HDMI 2.0b
Dual Link DVI-I, HDMI 2.0, 3xDisplayPort 1.43xDP 1.2
(DP1.4 HDR Ready)
HDMI 2.0b