128MB vram vs 256MB vram

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 2ms, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. 2ms macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    Under what circumstances are the advantages of 256MB X1600 over 128MB X1600 apparent? Is it only in, like, very demanding games that have tons of textures, or could it actually be factor in other things like CAD or something too?
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    With all other things constant (ie: the tech implemented into the card), I don't think vRAM makes a difference. Gaming is really the only thing this MIGHT make a difference in, but not by a huge margin. The technology incorporated into the card is what's going to make a difference in gaming, not vRAM, and so the X1600 may actually be the limiting factor when it comes to gaming, not the 128 MB. ;)
  3. trueheart78 macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2006
    I can imagine the 256mb would be nice for future proof for dual booting to vista.
  4. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Gaming is going to be where you see the difference (but only by a couple of extra fps). :)
  5. Sdashiki macrumors 68040


    Aug 11, 2005
    Behind the lens
    What about Motion? Or anything else that uses the GPU to offload work from the CPU, thus increasing speed of renders?

    VRAM is important in alot of video work as well, but then again 128-256 should only make a difference if you are working with alot of 3d elements etc.
  6. slackersonly macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2006
    I agree with the previous poster on future preparation.
    it may not be much of an advantage right now but something will be created that will take greater advantage of vram and if $100+ now is better than $1k+ later, you should consider getting the 256mb.
  7. mdntcallr macrumors 65816


    Aug 1, 2000
    Los Angeles, CA
    it isnt just in gaming that it will make a difference.

    lets say you use iphoto, aperture, photoshop or even video editing. it makes a big difference.

    more programs are offloading CPU processing to video card processing. sadly the GPU wasnt updated in the new MBP, but it is a decent GPU. Maybe in the next update with santa rosa. but to be honest, i ordered my new one finally.
  8. tarjan macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2006
    128 to 256 makes NO difference in iphoto, aperture or any other graphics program. The only way it would is if you had multiple large images loaded in layers and each layer was put into the buffer on the card. Even then you could easily get 10 screens worth to fit into the 128m card. Of course 20 or so megs are used by the OS for base textures etc, but in the end it is NOT a consideration for those apps.

    PS CS3 may be a different story by doing some of the actual image transform work on the gfx card with extremely large images, but I doubt it. It could also be very useful for 3d animation when doing trial animation, but won't affect a final render.
  9. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2005
    Anything CoreImage related will benefit from more video ram. Particularly Aperature, especially on complicated edits.
  10. tarjan macrumors regular

    Aug 11, 2006
    It benefits from vram, the issue is "how much".

    256 should provide no visible benefit in speed that a user will see. In the macbook with the crap 950 built in, ram is precious and you will see huge benifits by putting more ram in so it can share more efficiently. Once it has enough though, you are fine.

    Again, the entire screen, as a 2d image, is what.. 7-8mb of memory? Even when moving it around you basically double/triple the amount of ram used so that the edits are treated as multiple screen images which are then moved around. That is a total of MAYBE 30 megs of ram, depending on whats going on and adding in a huge fudge factor. Add in the base OS and the screen/icons/textures and you are talking another 10-15mb. So we are up to a total of 45m ram. Add in a ton of open windows, lets assume 5mb for each (being generous here) and you could open up 11 more before getting to 100mb used. Thats if the windows cache to vram, which I truely dont know.

    If you are viewing images that are significantly bigger than the screen (raw 10mpixel images or something) and scrolling around with tons of layers, you potentially could see some slight improvement as those images could be 20mb each, but with only a few open you probably won't.

    I'm not trying to be a bastard here guys, but if you are going to quote something as being true you need to be able to back it up. 2d work just isn't system intensive, at least not in the vram department. If you move to 3d where you have hundreds of textures that need to be calculated and mapped, that gets incredibly complex as they all inter-relate and it is all changing 30+times every second. If you are talking about a plain 2d image getting moved around or manipulated but otherwise static, it is, as far as the video processor is concerned, a peice of cake. The real calculation time comes from the cpu chugging on what to change each bit by based on the filter being applied. Storing the before and after in vram is trivial and small.
  11. nick004 macrumors regular

    Oct 21, 2005
    Many are say that many video cards differ little in performance due to vram size as the chipset dictates speeds. They also say that vram is more of a marketing tool these days and that ram speed is more important than volume.

    Just repeating what i've heard on other forums.
  12. 2ms thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 22, 2002
    Ok so it sounds like almost the only places I will regret that I got 128MB bc I didnt realize 256MB was an option (20" iMac bought at store), are animation in CAD (not the creation of model but the running of animation), and 3D gaming. Correct? Just curious since I do bootcamp Windows in order to use CAD software, how likely is it that Vista would really like more than 128MB for operation outside of these 2 areas (CAD animation and gaming)?
  13. DXoverDY macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2005
    If you're looking to the future at all.. 256 is a good bet to go with. If you already have a 128mb system... just run with it. But seeing as how CoreImage will use the GPU, I can only imagine that it'll get more and more powerful in each iteration of OS X... Just like certain cards now won't support CoreImage or will but are hampered by VRAM.
  14. Carguy172 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2006
    lol Vista wont run on mac!!
  15. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    lol you're wrong!

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