Usefulness of vRam Which is the better card for me?
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After much debate, I've finally narrowed down my search for the graphics card for my new rig to two - and I'm stuck there.

I'm looking at either buying a GTX 260 with 1792 MB of vRam or a GTX 280 with only 1 GB vRam - both the exact same price.

Keep in mind, too, that I'm not just gaming (which I want to do well, but admittedly there are few really resource intense games out that I want to play now, but it's more for future-proofing it), but also I do some more workstation type activites, such as modelling, rendering, and video editing (those three will probably be the more frequent intense use for the machine.

I look forward to hearing your opinions on the matter.
After much debate, I've finally narrowed down my search for the graphics card for my new rig to two - and I'm stuck there.



I'm looking at either buying a GTX 260 with 1792 MB of vRam or a GTX 280 with only 1 GB vRam - both the exact same price.



Keep in mind, too, that I'm not just gaming (which I want to do well, but admittedly there are few really resource intense games out that I want to play now, but it's more for future-proofing it), but also I do some more workstation type activites, such as modelling, rendering, and video editing (those three will probably be the more frequent intense use for the machine.



I look forward to hearing your opinions on the matter.

#1
Posted 07/11/2009 07:35 PM   
GTX 280 with the 1GB of VRAM, it is more than enough and is a better card than the GTX 260.
GTX 280 with the 1GB of VRAM, it is more than enough and is a better card than the GTX 260.

#2
Posted 07/11/2009 07:42 PM   
If you can get the 2GB version of the GTX285, you will pwn everything.
If you can get the 2GB version of the GTX285, you will pwn everything.

Image

#3
Posted 07/12/2009 02:33 AM   
yeah the reason why you should get the GTX280 instead of the 260's because 280's a way faster chip compared to 260. and also, more than 1.5gig of vram seems like an overkill :)
yeah the reason why you should get the GTX280 instead of the 260's because 280's a way faster chip compared to 260. and also, more than 1.5gig of vram seems like an overkill :)

#4
Posted 07/12/2009 11:28 AM   
[quote name='satr' post='564422' date='Jul 12 2009, 09:28 PM']yeah the reason why you should get the GTX280 instead of the 260's because 280's a way faster chip compared to 260. and also, more than 1.5gig of vram seems like an overkill :)[/quote]
They do, trust me /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />.
[quote name='satr' post='564422' date='Jul 12 2009, 09:28 PM']yeah the reason why you should get the GTX280 instead of the 260's because 280's a way faster chip compared to 260. and also, more than 1.5gig of vram seems like an overkill :)

They do, trust me /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />.

Image

#5
Posted 07/13/2009 12:57 AM   
[quote name='theprofessor13' post='564588' date='Jul 13 2009, 07:57 AM']They do, trust me /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />.[/quote]
gotta edit my post then :ph34r:
[quote name='theprofessor13' post='564588' date='Jul 13 2009, 07:57 AM']They do, trust me /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />.

gotta edit my post then :ph34r:

#6
Posted 07/13/2009 10:29 AM   
[quote name='theprofessor13' post='564588' date='Jul 12 2009, 06:57 PM']They do, trust me /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />.[/quote]
What game uses more than 1GB of video RAM? Is this with or without AA and AF enabled? Any other extras sucking up video RAM? A vast majority of the video cards on Earth have less than 512MB of VRAM, devs know this. They program for it. Even when we hit the 512MB mark, games had disclaimers on them warning about using the Max setting for textures as you needed a 512MB card for it...you didn't, but that was the warning.
[quote name='theprofessor13' post='564588' date='Jul 12 2009, 06:57 PM']They do, trust me /thumbup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbup:' />.

What game uses more than 1GB of video RAM? Is this with or without AA and AF enabled? Any other extras sucking up video RAM? A vast majority of the video cards on Earth have less than 512MB of VRAM, devs know this. They program for it. Even when we hit the 512MB mark, games had disclaimers on them warning about using the Max setting for textures as you needed a 512MB card for it...you didn't, but that was the warning.

#7
Posted 07/13/2009 10:45 AM   
[quote name='satr' post='564727' date='Jul 13 2009, 08:29 PM']gotta edit my post then :ph34r:[/quote]
And I shall edit my quote :ph34r:.

GTX285s with 2GB of VRAM show a significant increase in Crysis, Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4, especially with the draw distance turned up. I'd link to the review I read but I can't seem to find it at this time.
[quote name='satr' post='564727' date='Jul 13 2009, 08:29 PM']gotta edit my post then :ph34r:

And I shall edit my quote :ph34r:.



GTX285s with 2GB of VRAM show a significant increase in Crysis, Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto 4, especially with the draw distance turned up. I'd link to the review I read but I can't seem to find it at this time.

Image

#8
Posted 07/13/2009 10:46 AM   
That doesn't mean they use more than 1GB natively. That just means there is more "wiggle" room. And isn't GTA4 CPU bound? How does the video card overcompensate for this? If you are bored, see if you can link this reviews. Be interesting to see.

Quick Edit: I know Fallout 3 doesn't use more than 512MB of VRAM or so. It's built on the GameBryo engine (Oblivion) and it has it's limit. It might use up to 600MB as it's been heavily optimized, but over 1GB would require all new guts...and it didn't get them.

Edit2: what we all need to keep in mind here is that a 2GB video card is a BAD idea on a 32-bit OS. for anything over 1GB, I would seriously recommend a 64-bit OS. Oh, and no matter how much VRAM a card has, the faster GPU always wins (for the most part).
That doesn't mean they use more than 1GB natively. That just means there is more "wiggle" room. And isn't GTA4 CPU bound? How does the video card overcompensate for this? If you are bored, see if you can link this reviews. Be interesting to see.



Quick Edit: I know Fallout 3 doesn't use more than 512MB of VRAM or so. It's built on the GameBryo engine (Oblivion) and it has it's limit. It might use up to 600MB as it's been heavily optimized, but over 1GB would require all new guts...and it didn't get them.



Edit2: what we all need to keep in mind here is that a 2GB video card is a BAD idea on a 32-bit OS. for anything over 1GB, I would seriously recommend a 64-bit OS. Oh, and no matter how much VRAM a card has, the faster GPU always wins (for the most part).

#9
Posted 07/13/2009 10:57 AM   
[quote name='Hexen525' post='564742' date='Jul 13 2009, 08:57 PM']That doesn't mean they use more than 1GB natively. That just means there is more "wiggle" room. And isn't GTA4 CPU bound? How does the video card overcompensate for this? If you are bored, see if you can link this reviews. Be interesting to see.

Quick Edit: I know Fallout 3 doesn't use more than 512MB of VRAM or so. It's built on the GameBryo engine (Oblivion) and it has it's limit. It might use up to 600MB as it's been heavily optimized, but over 1GB would require all new guts...and it didn't get them.[/quote]
I did find [url="http://www.rwlabs.com/article.php?cat=&id=165&pagenumber=8"]one[/url] with Fallout 3 results. Never heard of the site though. A benchmark is a benchmark I suppose. Anyway, the difference isn't that much, only 5-6FPS but an there is something.

As for GTA4, it's the draw distance. Yes it is CPU bound but there is still a lot of textures to store in the VRAM. If you crank the draw distance right up, that is a hell of a lot of needed space.
[quote name='Hexen525' post='564742' date='Jul 13 2009, 08:57 PM']That doesn't mean they use more than 1GB natively. That just means there is more "wiggle" room. And isn't GTA4 CPU bound? How does the video card overcompensate for this? If you are bored, see if you can link this reviews. Be interesting to see.



Quick Edit: I know Fallout 3 doesn't use more than 512MB of VRAM or so. It's built on the GameBryo engine (Oblivion) and it has it's limit. It might use up to 600MB as it's been heavily optimized, but over 1GB would require all new guts...and it didn't get them.

I did find one with Fallout 3 results. Never heard of the site though. A benchmark is a benchmark I suppose. Anyway, the difference isn't that much, only 5-6FPS but an there is something.



As for GTA4, it's the draw distance. Yes it is CPU bound but there is still a lot of textures to store in the VRAM. If you crank the draw distance right up, that is a hell of a lot of needed space.

Image

#10
Posted 07/13/2009 11:54 AM   
In line with Hexen here... Have had this VRAM discussion many times as the owner of 295's in quad sli, a setup often accused of having too little VRAM for gaming at high res :)
Most testing of VRAM shows that large chucks of memory over 1Gb make little to no difference. AA in use for pretty much all testing. Admittedly, these reviews are 275's not 285's, but the principle is the same. As you know the 295's are basically two 275's in one shell. The general conclusion is you will see little to no difference going from 1Gb to more VRAM, and a significant difference with just a little overclocking.

[url="http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/evga-gf-gtx275-1792mb.html"]http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/dis...275-1792mb.html[/url]
[quote]As you can see again, most of today's games do not need 1 gigabyte of graphics memory. 896 megabytes is quite enough even at the highest resolutions. Perhaps 1GB or more memory may come in handy for GPGPU applications but games are a different story. In this particular case overclocking is useless, too. The GeForce GTX 275 delivers comfortable performance at every resolution up to 2560x1600 even at its default frequencies.[/quote]

[quote]We had some hope about Crysis Warhead, yet this game seems to be quite satisfied with 896 megabytes of local graphics memory, too. The effect from the double amount of memory can only be seen at 2560x1600 but it is small and useless due to the overall low performance of the card.[/quote]

[url="http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce-gtx-275-1792mb-review/1"]http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce...1792mb-review/1[/url]
[quote]Now you can opt to drop another 50 USD for the 1792 MB of memory, but the reality is simple .. we tried hard, really hard to show the performance benefit of that phat increase in graphics memory. The reality however is that only at 2560x1600 at very hefty AA modes there's small difference measurable here and there in stringent conditions. Now we really had to reconfigure our games to be able to show you that difference.

So from that perspective, the additional 896MB of memory I'm afraid does not make much sense. Things might change though, I mean if history learned us one lesson, it's that the demand for framebuffer (graphics memory) doubles up roughly every two years. So in the long run the extra framebuffer will show some advantages. But sure it's relative alright.[/quote]

More interesting comparing the 285 with the 275 in this testing... at times the frame rates were the same. At dual-link DVI-D resolutions like 2560x1600, with lots of AA there might be a performance gain with more VRAM. But as is shown by the above testing, its so minimal you wouldn't notice.


J
In line with Hexen here... Have had this VRAM discussion many times as the owner of 295's in quad sli, a setup often accused of having too little VRAM for gaming at high res :)

Most testing of VRAM shows that large chucks of memory over 1Gb make little to no difference. AA in use for pretty much all testing. Admittedly, these reviews are 275's not 285's, but the principle is the same. As you know the 295's are basically two 275's in one shell. The general conclusion is you will see little to no difference going from 1Gb to more VRAM, and a significant difference with just a little overclocking.



http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/dis...275-1792mb.html

As you can see again, most of today's games do not need 1 gigabyte of graphics memory. 896 megabytes is quite enough even at the highest resolutions. Perhaps 1GB or more memory may come in handy for GPGPU applications but games are a different story. In this particular case overclocking is useless, too. The GeForce GTX 275 delivers comfortable performance at every resolution up to 2560x1600 even at its default frequencies.




We had some hope about Crysis Warhead, yet this game seems to be quite satisfied with 896 megabytes of local graphics memory, too. The effect from the double amount of memory can only be seen at 2560x1600 but it is small and useless due to the overall low performance of the card.




http://www.guru3d.com/article/evga-geforce...1792mb-review/1

Now you can opt to drop another 50 USD for the 1792 MB of memory, but the reality is simple .. we tried hard, really hard to show the performance benefit of that phat increase in graphics memory. The reality however is that only at 2560x1600 at very hefty AA modes there's small difference measurable here and there in stringent conditions. Now we really had to reconfigure our games to be able to show you that difference.



So from that perspective, the additional 896MB of memory I'm afraid does not make much sense. Things might change though, I mean if history learned us one lesson, it's that the demand for framebuffer (graphics memory) doubles up roughly every two years. So in the long run the extra framebuffer will show some advantages. But sure it's relative alright.




More interesting comparing the 285 with the 275 in this testing... at times the frame rates were the same. At dual-link DVI-D resolutions like 2560x1600, with lots of AA there might be a performance gain with more VRAM. But as is shown by the above testing, its so minimal you wouldn't notice.





J

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#11
Posted 07/13/2009 12:27 PM   
The GTX 280 is pretty fast, compared to other graphic cards with the worlds fastest GPU, the faster you can get, is the 295, but it has 2 GPU's, so i would recommend the 1GB GTX 280, wich can be used for years.
The GTX 280 is pretty fast, compared to other graphic cards with the worlds fastest GPU, the faster you can get, is the 295, but it has 2 GPU's, so i would recommend the 1GB GTX 280, wich can be used for years.

I hate Vista!

#12
Posted 07/13/2009 12:31 PM   
NONE of this will make a difference if he is running a P4 or Athlon X2.

I see no one has cared to ask what system he's planning on putting this in. /whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />

For the record, the 280 isn't WAY FASTER than the 260. It is faster but not WAY faster.

Axis
NONE of this will make a difference if he is running a P4 or Athlon X2.



I see no one has cared to ask what system he's planning on putting this in. /whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />



For the record, the 280 isn't WAY FASTER than the 260. It is faster but not WAY faster.



Axis

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#13
Posted 07/14/2009 06:49 PM   
[quote name='axis' post='565295' date='Jul 14 2009, 01:49 PM']I see no one has cared to ask what system he's planning on putting this in. /whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />[/quote]

It'll be an i7 920 rig.

Also I notice that most people are mentioning game performance - very important, mind you, but I'm more curious about how it'll perform in workstation tasks. (And no, I'm not getting a workstation card.)
[quote name='axis' post='565295' date='Jul 14 2009, 01:49 PM']I see no one has cared to ask what system he's planning on putting this in. /whistling.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':whistling:' />



It'll be an i7 920 rig.



Also I notice that most people are mentioning game performance - very important, mind you, but I'm more curious about how it'll perform in workstation tasks. (And no, I'm not getting a workstation card.)

#14
Posted 07/14/2009 08:44 PM   
The RAM on your GPU won't affect workstation tasks at all, unless you have programs that specifically, make use of your GPU. It all really depends on what you call a "workstation."

Adobe Photoshop won't see a difference. CAD and CAM programs will, but they will follow the similar performance tangents as games.

Personally, I feel that anything over 1GB per GPU is excessive and sees little to no performance benefit on the current cores. Future cores may need more than 1GB per GPU. If anyone has some head-to-head numbers on this, I'd love to seem them (and I don't mind being proven wrong). I haven't been able to track any down.

It also seems that putting the extra 1GB of RAM on a GTX 285 board is dropping the memory clocks also. That'll affect performance.


Amorphous

[quote name='Venturer' post='565359' date='Jul 14 2009, 01:44 PM']It'll be an i7 920 rig.

Also I notice that most people are mentioning game performance - very important, mind you, but I'm more curious about how it'll perform in workstation tasks. (And no, I'm not getting a workstation card.)[/quote]
The RAM on your GPU won't affect workstation tasks at all, unless you have programs that specifically, make use of your GPU. It all really depends on what you call a "workstation."



Adobe Photoshop won't see a difference. CAD and CAM programs will, but they will follow the similar performance tangents as games.



Personally, I feel that anything over 1GB per GPU is excessive and sees little to no performance benefit on the current cores. Future cores may need more than 1GB per GPU. If anyone has some head-to-head numbers on this, I'd love to seem them (and I don't mind being proven wrong). I haven't been able to track any down.



It also seems that putting the extra 1GB of RAM on a GTX 285 board is dropping the memory clocks also. That'll affect performance.





Amorphous



[quote name='Venturer' post='565359' date='Jul 14 2009, 01:44 PM']It'll be an i7 920 rig.



Also I notice that most people are mentioning game performance - very important, mind you, but I'm more curious about how it'll perform in workstation tasks. (And no, I'm not getting a workstation card.)

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#15
Posted 07/14/2009 11:53 PM   
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