Finding the right graphics card for your computer is one of the most crucial steps to PC building. It is very important for gamers, graphics designers, photographers, and video editors, as a graphics card can significantly improve the visual rendering capabilities of their system. And when looking for the best graphics cards for a system, many of us often get confused about which GPU bitrate to choose.
What is GPU Bit Rate?
A graphics card’s bitrate indicates how much data can travel between the RAM and the GPU within each clock cycle. But does GPU bitrate matter in real-life scenarios? The answer is yes. With a higher bitrate, a GPU can transfer more data. Consequently, you can expect to get a better performance and higher-fidelity image.
192-bit and 256-bit graphics cards are some of the most commonly used components in the market. The main difference between them lies in the memory bus. A 192-bit GPU can transfer 192 bits of data per clock cycle, and a 256-bit GPU can transfer 256 bits of data per clock cycle. Moreover, if we consider the RAM’s frequency to be constant, a 256-bit graphics card offers more bandwidth than a 192-bit GPU.
In this article, we will dig into the differences between 192-bit vs 256-bit graphics cards so that you can make an informed decision about which one to go for. But before that, let’s see how you can check your graphics card’s bitrate.
How to Check Your Graphics Card Bit rate?
If you are buying a new graphics card, you will find the bitrate information on the specifications list. The spec list is available on the manufacturer’s website, product description (on e-commerce sites like Amazon), and the package the GPU comes with.
However, if you want to quickly check the bitrate of your installed graphics card, follow the steps below.
- Download and install GPU-Z
- Run GPU-Z.exe program
- Check the “Bus Width” measure. It indicates your graphics card’s bitrate.
192 Bit vs 256 Bit Graphics Card: Major Differences
Now that you have an idea of what GPU bitrate is, why it matters, and how to check it, it’s time to dig deeper into the differences between 192-bit vs. 256-bit graphics cards. Let’s get started.
A graphics card’s bandwidth is the data transfer speed between the GPU and the core system through a bus. Gamers, graphics designers, video editors, app developers, and machine learning experts find higher bandwidth extremely useful.
The bandwidth of a graphics card is measured in Gbps. It is determined by the card’s bitrate and frequency of RAM. You divide the bitrate by 8 and then multiply it with the RAM frequency.
A 192-bit graphics card with 3,000 MHz RAM offers a bandwidth of 72,000 Mbps or 72 Gbps. However, a 256-bit graphics card with the same RAM frequency provides a bandwidth of 96,000 Mbps or 96 Gbps.
Therefore, with a 256-bit graphics card, you get better performance and image quality, ceteris paribus. But a 192-bit graphics card with a higher frequency RAM will perform better than a 256-bit card with a lower frequency RAM.
When it comes to bitrate, the performance of a graphics card depends on bandwidth, as we have already mentioned. A higher bandwidth allows a graphics card to access data more quickly, allowing it to run at its maximum potential. However, a lower bandwidth can bottleneck a GPU’s performance sometimes.
Since every GDDR memory die takes a 32-bit memory bus, a 256-bit GPU will use a larger number of memory dies than a 192-bit GPU. Its impact on performance depends on the graphics card’s use cases. For example, if you want to play a high-end game with a lot of textures, the 256-bit GPU will perform better. But if you use a 192-bit version of the same GPU for the same game and settings, you will get a lower performance.
A graphics card’s bitrate cannot be overclocked like a processor. The bitrate is fixed, due to the number of pins available on the CPU. Hence, you cannot overclock a 192-bit graphics card to upgrade it to a 256-bit graphics card.
However, you can increase the memory bandwidth by overclocking the card’s RAM frequency. As the bandwidth is derived from bitrate and RAM frequency, an increase in RAM frequency can boost the performance of a graphics card. Therefore, even if you end up with a 192-bit GPU, you can make it perform like a 256-bit GPU, as the RAM frequency or memory clock makes up for it.
Here, you may want to consider the return on your investment. Overclocking your RAM frequency will cause a greater impact on a 256-bit GPU than on a 192-bit GPU.
For example, if you overclock a 3,000 MHz RAM frequency by 128 MHz, a 192-bit GPU’s memory bandwidth will increase from 72Gbps to more than 75Gbps. In this case, a 256-bit GPU’s memory bandwidth will increase from 96Gbps to over 100Gbps. Whereas overclocking a 192-bit GPU offers a 3Gbps boost, overclocking a 256-bit GPU offers a 4Gbps boost.
Therefore, if your budget allows, it’s better to get a 256-bit GPU.
Both the 192-bit and 256-bit graphics cards can smoothly handle basic computer tasks and intermediate-level graphics works. However, if you want to play games with high graphical presets, maxed-out details, tons of textures to render, at very high resolution, it is better to use a graphics card with 256-bit or higher. Similarly, if the use of the card includes high-end graphics designing, a 256-bit GPU will perform better than a 192-bit GPU.
192 Bit and 256 Bit Graphics Card: Which One is Better?
“The short answer is – When all other factors are constant, a 256-bit graphics card will perform better than a 192-bit graphics card. A 256-bit GPU processes more data at once renders graphics faster and generates better image quality at a high resolution. However, this performance difference does not solely depend on bus size or bitrate. Instead, it depends on bandwidth. Factors such as RAM speed and the number of RAM modules also matter. That’s why, when buying a graphics card, focus more on the memory bandwidth rather than the bitrate.“