1GB GPU preferred to run 3 screens (including 30") on '11 iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by nightfly13, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. nightfly13 macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #1
    So I'm planning to get the low-end 27" iMac and running my Dell 30" LCD on it as well as a 720p Projector from the 2 TB ports.

    Anandtech's review suggests that 512mb video memory is a bit paltry to run 3 screens (esp if 1 is a 30") and I'm a little worried. I'd consider myself a light gamer, but it's also my HTPC (hence the projector) so I need decent pixel-pushing power.

    The $1999 27" iMac has 1GB VRAM and the option to upgrade to 2GB. FPS frame-rates aren't a big deal, but smooth Exposé and HD video playback are important to me. The fact that they offer a 2GB option worries me a bit - if I understand this correctly, more VRAM isn't going to make games faster, just allow smoother playback on higher res screens... which is precisely what I'm after.

    I'm hesitant because I'm already pressing my budget. Any thoughts?
     
  2. sth macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 9, 2006
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    The old world
    #2
    I'd get the 1gb model for $1999.
    1gb VRAM is plenty, even for a triple-monitor setup.
     
  3. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    #3
    1GB will drive the displays fine but if you plan to do GPU intensive stuff in addition to that then i'd opt for the 2GB BTO just to be safe.
     
  4. bpeeps macrumors 68020

    bpeeps

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    #4
    1GB will prove more than enough for your needs as others have stated.
     
  5. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #5
    Regarding games, it won't increase your frame rate but it will prevent it from dipping if your VRAM usage would exceed the smaller amount. I.E: if a game is only using 512MB VRAM having a 2GB card instead of a 1GB card won't help, however, if you have a 1GB card and it needs to use 1.1GB you're frame rate will drop significantly, from what I know.
     
  6. sth macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 9, 2006
    Location:
    The old world
    #6
    Jup, but not many games require 1GB or more VRAM these days, and the ones that do will require a more powerful graphics card to run on max. settings anyway.

    There are very few scenarios that require more than 1GB of VRAM.
     
  7. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2010
    #7
    The thing about VRAM is if you have enough it doesn't matter how much you have, but 2GB VRAM is good futureproofing for a triple monitor setup
     
  8. nightfly13 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    nightfly13

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Ranchi, India
    #8
    Thanks for all the feedback. I know it's a bit weird quoting myself, but let me put the question a bit more concisely:

    Does anyone have any actual experience or mathematical reasoning why 512mb is insufficient to run 7.9 million pixels (2560x1600, 2560x1200, 1280x720) for normal exposé and/or HD video playback? Gaming is really a distant consideration - no problem in playing down a few resolutions for the odd time I game.
     
  9. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    At 1080p, I'd agree. But 1440p can be quite taxing, especially with AA.
     

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