What extra features can one take advantage of as an AMD or Nvidia GPU customer? For example, FreeSync vs G-Sync, VSR vs DSR, Nvidia Gamestream(?), Nvidia GRID(?), etc.
Let's start with AMD.
With AMD, you have access to the following features:
- Virtual Super Resolution (VSR)
- AMD FreeSync
- AMD LiquidVR
- AMD PowerTune
- AMD TrueAudio
- AMD EyeFinity
- AMD Crossfire
Now, Nvidia has features that are very similar to each AMD feature listed above. Here is the following list:
- Dynamic Super Resolution (DSR)
- Nvidia G-Sync
- GPU Boost
- Nvidia Surround
- Nvidia SLI
- Nvidia Gamestream/Shadowplay
Notable comparisons are DSR and VSR, which are pretty much the same thing. Pound for pound, G-Sync and Freesync operate under the same concept, which is to remove tearing without causing too much input lag. Both companies have their own VR tech, both have means of controlling the clock speeds of their GPU's. Both companies offer the ability to have surround monitors, and both have multi GPU technologies. Both have their own way of going about physics.
What sets Nvidia apart from AMD is two specific technologies. Some people like them, others do not. Let's start with the elephant in the room, Nvidia Gameworks. This is a double edged sword for Nvidia, and everyone that uses it. While Nvidia is claiming to be pushing developers into producing higher quality games and are offering their own support in doing so, others view it as Nvidia trying to get developers in their pocket, potentially harming competitors such as AMD. It does not help that Gameworks titles tend to run sloppy on AMD. This is a debate for another thread though.
Lastly, we have Nvidia Gamestreaming. Nvidia has been pushing this concept for a few years now, and user results may very. For myself, i found gamestreaming to be a love-hate relationship. When it works, it is great. When it does not, it is absolutely frustrating. Sadly, in my personal experience, i have found that having an enjoyable experience on it is a crap shoot, and the requirements for a great experience is already high enough. Even with gamestreaming approved hardware, i still get dropped connections, compressed image quality, and even terrible input delay. The fact that any Geforce Driver update, or Geforce Experience update can also have a huge impact on whether or not streaming will even work also makes the concept hard to swallow. Nvidia's GFE software is very hit and miss. While some find it useful thanks to the Nvidia Shadowplay offering, others despise it for its shoddy gamestreaming experience, and general bloat feel. After trying to make it work for over a year, i just recently threw my Nvidia Shield on ebay, because i got tired of messing with it. This is not to say you will have the same issues as i did, because i know some people praise it (@LinusTech has been vocal about his love of Gamestreaming, and the shield in general). I would just say that if you are buying an Nvidia GPU with game streaming in mind, just be mindful of the limitations you may experience because of how new and unrefined the technology is.
That being said, both AMD and Nvidia produce graphics cards with H.264 decoders on them. AMD's decoder is referred to as VCE or Video Coding Engine, while Nvidia's is referred to as NVENC.
While these technologies are capable of swaying ones decision on buying a GPU, i would highly recommend you aim for the best price:performance of these options. Especially if you just care about general gaming. If you have a need for one of these specific technologies, then yes, feel free to base your decision on that fact. However, you may not be getting the best bang for your buck if you do. Sorry for the long wall of text, it is just difficult to explain these differences in a simple manner without offering some backstory to how they work.