Video RAM and gaming

Discussion in 'Games' started by rye9, Nov 1, 2005.

  1. rye9 macrumors 65816

    rye9

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    New York (not NYC)
    #1
    What effect does vRAM have on gaming? Like, if I was to play Call of Duty, how would 32 vRAM be worse than 64 or higher vRAM? Does it make the game take longer to lead, make colors worse, make it blurry or what?
     
  2. dubbz macrumors 68020

    dubbz

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    Alta, Norway
    #2
    If you don't have enough video RAM you can either use lower-quality/resolution textures (which will look bad) or the system RAM in addition to VRAM (which will slow things down).

    So, yes, higher is better (up to a point) and will have an effect.
     
  3. grapes911 Moderator emeritus

    grapes911

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    Citizens Bank Park
    #3
    You want as much VRAM as possible for gaming. More VRAM allows you to turn up the resolution and turn up the detail levels. I have 128 MB of VRAM in my PowerBook and it's not enough for me as a serious gammer.
     
  4. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    Medford
    #4
    yeah, the more the better.

    hell, you can't play doom III on highest settings without 512 mb of VRAM, which is absolutely ridiculous as a lot of people have less system ram than that in their machines. but whatever. :D
     
  5. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Location:
    fig tree
    #5
    hey zach, hate to tell you this, but they did make a 10gb 3g ipod :eek:

    also, ot, yes, video ram really does matter.
     
  6. rye9 thread starter macrumors 65816

    rye9

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Location:
    New York (not NYC)
    #6
    Well I would have the minimum requirements. But how is a game better with more vRAM, does it make it clearer like a higher pixel resolution would? Also, how does the effects of vRAM differ from the effects of a good video card?
     
  7. dubbz macrumors 68020

    dubbz

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    Alta, Norway
    #7
    Well, you can (or at least you should be able to) it will just be slow(er).

    And if someone want to play games and don't have 512mb+ ram, maybe they should stick to Chess or something ;)
     
  8. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    Medford
    #8
    not on Doom III, to even enable the highest quality you have to have 512 (or so I've heard, I don't have the good luck to have a computer that has 512 MB of VRAM :) )
     
  9. dubbz macrumors 68020

    dubbz

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    Alta, Norway
    #9
    Maybe some Mac thing? I seem to remember enabling it on the PC, and I had 128MB VRAM, hum... <insert thoughful look-smiley>
     
  10. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    Medford
    #10
    or maybe i just have no clue what i'm talking about. it's a common occurance :p
     
  11. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Location:
    fig tree
    #11
    ultra quality requires 512vram (all uncompressed textures, 16x fsaa) you can put it on ultra with less but it wont actually run ultra mode.
     
  12. zach macrumors 65816

    zach

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2003
    Location:
    Medford
  13. VegetaPunk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Location:
    AZ
    #13
    Remember that the speed of the video card makes a big diffence too. You can buy a geforce 5200 card with 256megs of ram for cheap but I wouldnt recommend it for gaming.
     
  14. dubbz macrumors 68020

    dubbz

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    Alta, Norway
    #14
    A'right. That would explain it.
     
  15. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #15
    You can run Doom 3 - lowest settings possible -- still looks very good though -- - with 32MB of RAM. I've stunned people cause I've done so. But basically what they've said is all true. More VRAM allows for better textures which allows for higher resolutions which provides better game play. Lower resolutions cause the blurriness that you see. Instead of things being anti-aliased (making the edges look more realistic) corners/edges are blurred. Colors take up VRAM. 1024x768 w/32-bit color - on a PC mind us - takes about 4MB of VRAM I think. Using resolutions higher will result in using more VRAM.

    That kind of help explain it?

    Other effects, like particle effects, take up lots of VRAM (correct me if I'm wrong), so if you see an explosion, the Video Card is rendering all that using what is stored in the VRAM. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but particle effects do take more VRAM than regular objects?

    There ya have it.
     
  16. Sundance Kid macrumors regular

    Sundance Kid

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2005
    Location:
    Canada
    #16

    ok, have a pb, with 64vram... (see sig). i can't run Doom 3 with ****. It lags like hell everytime i walk quickly, or a monster attacks me. So how do you manage to run it on your machine?
     
  17. TheMonarch macrumors 65816

    TheMonarch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2005
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #17
    Yeah, there's a difference from being able to run a game, and another is actually being able to play it, some people, consider 6 FPS (made up figure, but you get the gist of it) playable, some don't. I don't ;)

    Anything below 24FPS (sometimes 20) is useless to me.
     
  18. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #18
    Make sure nothing is running. Only Finder - and remove your dashboard widgets (click the + then click the x on them to close them). Next start Doom 3. Make sure your settings are as follows: Full Screen, 640x480, Low Quality. There ya go. I do get hiccups but other than that, it runs really well. Better than I thought it would. I need to find an FPS rating program so I can figure out how fast it is truly running.
     
  19. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #19
    Doom 3 FPS Screenshots:
    OK this played a lot better before I installed 10.4.3 and before I installed MySQL so I know my FPS were a bit lower - (between 2 and 8 FPS depending on the area). Here are some screens of the FPS at where. Some of them changed cause the Screenshot keys so there's like a +1 that needs to be added to them:
     

    Attached Files:

    • P2.jpg
      P2.jpg
      File size:
      79.8 KB
      Views:
      65
    • P1.jpg
      P1.jpg
      File size:
      89.1 KB
      Views:
      73
    • P3.jpg
      P3.jpg
      File size:
      77.2 KB
      Views:
      66
  20. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Location:
    fig tree
    #20
    open the console (alt+ctrl+~) and type "com_showfps1" with quotes. to turn off that type it again but with a 0
    edit: i see you found that
    oh, and wrt those shots: <barf smiley>
     
  21. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #21
    Not that surprising, really. The GPU can render a scene easily enough. Add one or two monsters, however, and you're back to single digit FPS until it's killed.
     
  22. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #22
    Exactly! Lol
     
  23. Eric5h5 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2004
    #23
    VRAM isn't nearly as important as some people think. A better/faster graphics card with more pixel pipelines, etc., is a much better deal than more VRAM. For example, a Radeon 9800 with 128MB of VRAM is at least twice as fast as the latest Radeon 9600 with 256MB of VRAM. Because a 9600 is still a 9600 no matter how much VRAM you shove on the card. Just like a 400MHz G4 will never, ever be faster or better than a 2GHz G5 even if you could add 50 billion GB of RAM to the G4.

    The thing is, games can have more textures, models, etc. than would fit on the graphics card all at once. When the card runs out of space, it just swaps out the old, least-used data for new data. The only difference between, say, 128MB of VRAM and 256MB of VRAM is that you'll have less swapping. That's really about it. So games can theoretically run faster with more VRAM, but sometimes (depending on the game) you wouldn't even notice the difference.

    However, VRAM is also used for the framebuffer for the screen. The higher the resolution and the more colors you use, the more VRAM that takes up, so less is available for textures and models. This generally only matters to really really old cards with 4 or 8MB though. With modern (64MB+) cards, this amount is fairly trivial even with high resolutions. (1024 x 768 = 768432 pixels x 4 bytes per pixel [32 bit color] = 3,145,728 bytes / 1024 = 3072KB / 1024 = 3MB, which obviously is nothing much when you have 64MB. Even 1600x1200 only takes up 7MB or so.) On the other hand, enabling full-screen anti-aliasing with high resolutions starts increasing the VRAM usage to non-trivial amounts again, because anti-aliasing essentially uses even higher "virtual" resolutions.

    You CAN use the best, highest resolution textures even with really low VRAM, but the swapping would possibly make the game really slow or even unplayable. VRAM is like regular RAM in your computer...by itself it does nothing to make your computer faster, but if you have too little, then you're going to be swapping to the hard drive a lot, which effectively prevents your computer from running as fast as it can. But a graphics card is going to be swapping to main memory rather than the hard drive, and even "slow" main memory is way faster than a hard drive, so it's not quite as big an issue. Besides, a card with low enough VRAM to be a problem with a particular game is almost certainly too old to properly run that game even if it had a lot of VRAM.

    Along those lines, keep in mind that VRAM generally increases as graphics card technology increases. So a card with 256MB is going to be better than a card with 32MB, just because it has to be a few generations newer and therefore has better technology. Not a thing to do with the VRAM itself. Focussing on the model of the graphics card will tell you far more about its performance and quality than looking at VRAM will.

    --Eric
     
  24. slooksterPSV macrumors 68030

    slooksterPSV

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    Nowheresville
    #24
    There is one thing you did forget about VRAM Eric.

    Some of the features that you see in Windows XP and Mac OS X use VRAM to show those a lot better. In Mac OS X you need a specific amount to use Quartz Extreme. In Windows to scroll smoothly you need a video card where you at least have some VRAM free. So IT CAN make a difference in how you use an OS or a program specifically. Adobe programs use VRAM if its available otherwise it just uses RAM - blur effects, etc. etc. etc. Remember that, so somethings that Eric said are true while a couple (one or two) are not.
     
  25. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #25
    Can someone say sticky? :p

    So is that why I can turn on 2x anisotropic with little or no performance hit? (World of Warcraft, M9700 128MB)
     

Share This Page