Are you looking to build a new high-end gaming PC or workstation? One of the most important decisions is choosing between NVIDIA and EVGA graphics cards. Both companies produce top-tier GPUs, but they have some key differences you should know about.
In this detailed guide, we‘ll compare the history, performance, pricing, warranties, and customer service of EVGA vs NVIDIA. By the end, you‘ll have the knowledge to decide which brand is right for your next rig.
Introduction: EVGA Cards Use NVIDIA GPUs
First, it‘s important to clear up that EVGA does not actually manufacture GPU chips. Instead, all EVGA graphics cards utilize GPUs designed by NVIDIA.
EVGA takes NVIDIA‘s processors and creates custom printed circuit board (PCB) designs around them. They also develop unique cooling solutions and software tools.
So NVIDIA is the chipmaker, while EVGA produces customized cards using NVIDIA‘s technological foundations. Think of it like Intel and ASUS – ASUS builds unique motherboards leveraging Intel‘s CPU architectures.
Now let‘s dive deeper into the history and offerings of these two industry leaders.
History and Background
NVIDIA – Pioneering GPU Innovations Since 1993
NVIDIA has a long legacy of pushing the boundaries of graphics processing performance. They‘ve brought many revolutionary technologies to market over the past three decades:
- 1993 – Founded by Jen-Hsun Huang, Chris Malachowsky, and Curtis Priem. Initial focus on multimedia and 2D/3D graphics acceleration.
- 1995 – First product developed, the NV1 graphics card, featuring quad texture mapping.
- 1999 – Launches the landmark GeForce 256, the first GPU with fully integrated transform, lighting, triangle setup/clipping, and rendering engines. This kicked off the GPU computing revolution.
- 2001 – Provides the graphics processor for Microsoft‘s original Xbox console. Massive breakthrough bringing high-end gaming GPUs to living rooms.
- 2004 – Introduces scalable link interface (SLI) allowing multiple NVIDIA GPUs to operate as one for extreme performance.
- 2006 – Acquires PortalPlayer, allowing entry into mobile device GPU market.
- 2012 – Launches Kepler architecture and CUDA GPU computing platform.
- 2016 – Debuts Pascal architecture with 16nm fabrication and support for next-gen compute techniques like deep learning.
- 2018 – Revolutionary Turing architecture arrives, featuring dedicated ray tracing and AI cores (Tensor Cores).
- 2020 – Ampere architecture sets new standards for power efficiency and raw performance.
As you can see, NVIDIA has consistently pushed boundaries with both their architectures and software over the past 30 years. They release new GPU series showcasing major technological leaps nearly every 2 years.
EVGA – Providing Custom NVIDIA Cards Since 1999
Unlike NVIDIA, EVGA does not actually develop graphics chip architectures. Instead, the company is focused on building custom PCBs, cooling solutions, and software utilities for NVIDIA‘s GPUs.
- 1999 – Founded in Brea, California by Andrew Han.
- 2002 – Starts exclusive partnership with NVIDIA to become one of few authorized board partners.
- 2005 – Releases first graphics card, the e-GeForce 6800 GT.
- 2008 – Launches EVGA Precision overclocking utility to make overclocking user-friendly.
- 2010 – Begins producing the Hydro Copper series with integrated water blocks for liquid cooling.
- 2011 – Introduces SuperClocked (SC) models with factory overclocking.
- 2014 – Classified series debuts for ultra-enthusiasts pushing overclocking limits.
- 2016 – Starts Step-Up program allowing easy upgrading to newer gen GPUs.
- 2018 – Releases iCX2 cooling bringing 9 thermal sensors and improved heat dissipation.
You can see EVGA specializes in taking NVIDIA‘s latest architectures and optimizing them for performance, cooling, and ease-of-use. Their contributions around overclocking, cooling, and customer service have made them a favorite among PC enthusiasts.
Technical Performance Comparison
When it comes to gaming or professional workloads, the underlying GPU architecture from NVIDIA is doing most of the heavy lifting. However, EVGA‘s custom designs result in some performance advantages:
Many EVGA cards come pre-overclocked out of the box for extra performance. For example:
- NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition – Boost Clock 1710 MHz
- EVGA RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra – Boost Clock 1800 MHz (90 MHz faster)
This means EVGA cards can achieve 5-10% higher frame rates in games before you even overclock them yourself.
EVGA also utilizes more robust cooling solutions compared to NVIDIA‘s stock cooler. This allows their cards to run cooler and avoid thermal throttling.
For instance, the EVGA 3080 FTW3 uses a triple fan design versus the NVIDIA Founders dual fan:
Image source: PCMag
The EVGA maintains GPU temperatures around 20C cooler on average compared to NVIDIA FE models.
- EVGA cards offer factory overclocked models pushing higher clocks and frame rates.
- More capable cooling solutions reduce throttling and keep sustained boost clocks higher.
- In benchmarks, EVGA RTX models perform around 5-10% faster than NVIDIA FE equivalents.
So while the underlying NVIDIA GPU drives overall performance, EVGA‘s enhancements result in measurable framerate improvements in games.
Pricing and Cost Considerations
When shopping for a GPU, price is often the primary factor. Due to wildly fluctuating prices over the past two years, cost comparisons can be tricky. But in general:
- NVIDIA Founders Edition GPUs tend to have slightly lower MSRP prices than comparative EVGA models.
- However, EVGA offers a wider array of models – some more competitively priced with NVIDIA FE.
- EVGA‘s highest-end offerings with max overclocking carry around a $50-$100 premium over NVIDIA FE MSRP.
For example, the NVIDIA RTX 3080 Founders Edition originally retailed for $699. EVGA‘s RTX 3080 FTW3 Ultra carried an MSRP of $799.
Here‘s a price history chart showing retail costs for those models over time:
Image source: TechSpot
As you can see, actual retail pricing has varied wildly. But EVGA‘s FTW3 cost around $100 more than NVIDIA FE consistently.
However, EVGA also offers more affordable options like the XC3 Ultra priced closer to the FE MSRP.
For budget-focused builds, NVIDIA Founders Edition GPUs provide the lowest entry pricing in most cases. But EVGA also caters well to a variety of price points for different needs.
Customer Service and Warranty
One area where EVGA clearly dominates over NVIDIA is customer service and warranty policies. They offer some of the strongest customer support in the industry.
EVGA Support and Warranty
- 24/7 dedicated phone and online web support
- 3 year limited transferable warranty on all new GPUs
- Optional extended warranties – up to 10 years on some GPUs
- Robust support and RMA processing for secondhand owners
- Step-up program for upgrading to newer GPUs
I‘ve personally dealt with EVGA support many times over the years and always had prompt, knowledgeable assistance. They really go above and beyond to help troubleshoot issues and process warranty claims.
NVIDIA Support and Warranty
- 3 year limited warranty on new GPUs
- No phone support – online ticket/email support only
- Less accommodation for secondhand owners
- More restrictive on RMA processing
While NVIDIA does back their products with a standard warranty, their customer service experience is not on par with EVGA‘s gold standard. Support options are limited and less amenable to secondhand buyers.
If getting reliable customer service is a priority, EVGA is definitely the way to go. Their excellent product support provides peace of mind in case any issues arise.
Conclusion – Great Options but EVGA Is the Enthusiast Pick
Overall, for pure performance NVIDIA Founders Edition and EVGA GPUs are quite close, with EVGA holding a slight edge. However, EVGA pulls ahead strongly when it comes to customer service and support.
For most buyers, I would recommend EVGA over NVIDIA GPUs in 2022 for the following key reasons:
- Pre-Overclocked Models – EVGA offers factory overclocked cards with higher out-of-box speeds.
- Cooling – More capable cooling results in lower temps, less throttling, and higher sustained clocks.
- Support – EVGA has vastly superior customer service, warranties and support options.
- Reputation – Known for quality and commitment to enthusiast PC builders.
The only advantage for NVIDIA Founders Edition is the lower entry-level pricing on some models. But EVGA often matches or beats NVIDIA FE pricing on competitive models.
To summarize – EVGA is a clear favorite and my top recommendation for high-end GPUs in 2022. Their loyal following among PC enthusiasts is well-earned. Let me know if this overview helped explain the nuances between EVGA vs NVIDIA graphics cards!