What is a Reference Card GPU?
A reference card is a GPU that was created and designed by the manufacturer itself. It sets the standard for performance, specifications, and design that other manufacturers can follow.
GPU manufacturers often make their own customizations of the reference card, referred to as a partner card or non-reference cards, to improve upon the initial product. For example, they may add more cooling features or higher clock speeds to boost the overall performance of the GPU.
The main purpose of a reference card is to ensure consistency in performance across all variants of a GPU model. This is especially important for benchmarking and performing a performance comparison between different graphics cards from different manufacturers. In addition, reference cards are typically the first to be released when a new GPU architecture is introduced, which allows them to showcase the latest technology and improvements.
Other key benefits of reference cards include a sleek, standardized design that can fit into various motherboards and computer cases, as well as support for a variety of cooling configurations. This makes them a convenient choice for users who prioritize compatibility and reliability. Finally, since they are the original models released by the GPU manufacturer, reference cards are more likely to receive technical support and warranty coverage from the company.
On the other hand, some users prefer custom variants of a reference card for a number of reasons. For instance, they may offer more substantial heatsinks that can dissipate more thermal energy and provide improved cooling performance for longer gaming sessions. Furthermore, these third-party cards can also feature a customizable fan that delivers more efficient airflow and better noise control than the blower-style fans found on many reference cards.