1GB GPU RAM or 2GB?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by A Macbook Pro, May 3, 2011.

  1. A Macbook Pro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2009
    #1
    What's the difference between 1GB DDR5 GPU RAM or 2GB? I'm going to be playing games like Black Ops ALOT, so I want to know if GPU RAM makes a difference and for what. Thanks!
     
  2. ndraves macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    IMO as there isn't a big difference in price. The 2GB isn't that much more that it is definitely worth it especially for games.

    To upgrade at this point its will be $100 well spent. Much cheaper than trying to upgrade later.
     
  3. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #3
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You'll probably spend more on tax than the graphics card update. You'd be crazy not to get it.
     
  4. A Macbook Pro thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Aug 22, 2009
    #4
    It's less about the price on more on just trying to get educated on what exactly it helps with.
     
  5. Kendo macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    #5
    I agree. Anyone can throw around $100 but it is still a decent amount of money and I too would like to know if it really is worth it. That money can be better spent towards AppleCare or a set of nice speakers.
     
  6. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #6
    The difference is 1 GB. 2-1 = 1

    Before an image is displayed it is loaded into the VRAM and then converted to be sent to the display. Video Ram is faster than your normal RAM, so the more there is of it, the merrier, especially if you're playing games on high resolutions with large texture files and trickery like anti-aliasing. These textures can be loaded entirely into the video RAM and manipulated by your graphics card before being displayed.

    More = better.
     
  7. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #7
    Its not only textures, but 3d models etc. Textures actually do not take too much memory nowadays, they are supposed to be compressed anyway + people are generally moving to procedurally-generated textures.

    The question is rather: does any game environment actually require more then 1GB of data at a same time? Bad gaming engines (which just load everything at once) can pass that limit rather fast, that is true, but a well-written game will only load the data into VRAM which is likely to be used soon.

    For instance: assume that 500MB of the VRAM is reserved for some internal stuff, like framebuffer, shadow maps, post-processing effects etc. This is a rather generous estimate, as the complete framebuffer of a 2560 x 1440 screen would actually take about 50Mb (more if the game uses "true" HDR).
    This leaves 500MB for game data. If the complete data of a modern game takes 20GB of hard drive space, and the game itself comprises of 10 levels, it would mean that our GPU can "fit" half a level at each time. This is more then is actually needed.

    Increased amount of VRAM would help with either badly designed games or games which have very high level of detail. The question is, still, whether the GPU itself would be powerful enough to render such games at iMac's native resolution.

    P.S. This post is entirely speculative, it would be interesting to see some actual benchmarks. I predict the difference will be negligible ;)
     
  8. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #8
    You make some very good points, but I know that for example GTA 4 will happily use 2 GBs of your VRAM.
     
  9. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #9
    Yes, GTA 4 is an example of a game where lots of data has to be streamed quickly because of the speed at which the player moves through the environment. Its also known for its bad programming :)

    Well, I think I'll stick to the 1GB of VRAM for now. I do not game much, and I am sure that my moderate gaming needs will be fully covered by the 1Gb of VRAM.
     

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