1st Mac 1GB vs 2 GB Video Ram

mustangtexas

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 25, 2011
3
0
Hello all. I am buying my first Mac and I need help with a decision. I'm likely buying a 27" iMac with the Core i7 3.4 processor. Will I notice an appreciable difference between the 1GB video card and the 2 GB video card? I have an opportunity to get a 1GB-equipped unit for a nice discount. If I want one with 2GB, I have to do BTO at full price. I don't mind paying full price, but I am curious about the real-world benefits of more video RAM.

I am not a gamer. I am an amateur photographer so I do work with Photoshop quite a bit. Not sure if more VRAM helps with photo editing.

Either way, I am looking forward to using a Mac.
 

jaikob

macrumors 6502
Jul 1, 2008
429
0
Freeland, MI
Hello all. I am buying my first Mac and I need help with a decision. I'm likely buying a 27" iMac with the Core i7 3.4 processor. Will I notice an appreciable difference between the 1GB video card and the 2 GB video card? I have an opportunity to get a 1GB-equipped unit for a nice discount. If I want one with 2GB, I have to do BTO at full price. I don't mind paying full price, but I am curious about the real-world benefits of more video RAM.

I am not a gamer. I am an amateur photographer so I do work with Photoshop quite a bit. Not sure if more VRAM helps with photo editing.

Either way, I am looking forward to using a Mac.


There is no current benefit of the 2GB card. Plain and simple. I bought the 2GB because I was already spending 2500+ and $90 at that point didn't concern me. You will probably never notice the different between the two cards, and most games will never cap 1GB of graphics memory to begin with. Use your discount on the 1GB card.
 
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davidhaynes

macrumors newbie
Jun 17, 2011
14
0
Seattle, WA
Vram

Hello all. I am buying my first Mac and I need help with a decision. I'm likely buying a 27" iMac with the Core i7 3.4 processor. Will I notice an appreciable difference between the 1GB video card and the 2 GB video card? I have an opportunity to get a 1GB-equipped unit for a nice discount. If I want one with 2GB, I have to do BTO at full price. I don't mind paying full price, but I am curious about the real-world benefits of more video RAM.

I am not a gamer. I am an amateur photographer so I do work with Photoshop quite a bit. Not sure if more VRAM helps with photo editing.

Either way, I am looking forward to using a Mac.
If you are using VM (Parallels or Fusion) the ability to segregate some of the VRAM to OSX and some to Win7 is and advantage on programs that use alot of VRAM (some video/photo editing and some CAD programs).

Hope this helps.

David
 
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coolspot18

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2010
1,033
77
Canada
I am curious about the real-world benefits of more video RAM.


None at all.

If you are using VM (Parallels or Fusion) the ability to segregate some of the VRAM to OSX and some to Win7 is and advantage on programs that use alot of VRAM (some video/photo editing and some CAD programs).
Seriously, how many VMs are you going to run concurrently? Max VRAM you can specify is 256MB in Parallels anyways, so with 1GB, you can still run 2 - 3 concurrent VMs with max memory!
 
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mustangtexas

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 25, 2011
3
0
So it seems as though there is little use for 2GB of VRAM. This leads me to ask: Why do they offer it? :confused:
 
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marsmissions

macrumors 6502
Jan 5, 2010
347
0
Washington, US
So it seems as though there is little use for 2GB of VRAM. This leads me to ask: Why do they offer it? :confused:
There IS a benefit...most people will never see it though.

You need to be using some seriously intense programs for a long time to max it....

Honestly...512mb is plenty for most people.
 
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iSayuSay

macrumors 68040
Feb 6, 2011
3,254
385
There IS a benefit...most people will never see it though.

You need to be using some seriously intense programs for a long time to max it....

Honestly...512mb is plenty for most people.
And when you do seriously intense GPU task... 6970M just can't cut it anymore. It would slow down due to GPU limitation before you filled up VRAM.

Driving a 80s Honda in a broad highway is not any faster than when you drive it on suburbs road. A Ferrari would be a different story though :D
 
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bloodsaint

macrumors newbie
Jul 21, 2011
10
0
And when you do seriously intense GPU task... 6970M just can't cut it anymore. It would slow down due to GPU limitation before you filled up VRAM.

Driving a 80s Honda in a broad highway is not any faster than when you drive it on suburbs road. A Ferrari would be a different story though :D


bold statement is true statement.
 
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coolspot18

macrumors 65816
Aug 16, 2010
1,033
77
Canada
I upgraded to the 2GB card. Thought it might help since I will be using 2-3 extra monitors.
No, 2460x1400 @ 32bpp requires only 14MB per frame. Therefore, even a 16MB video card can support the iMac's 27" screen resolution (for 2D). Basically the GPU is the bottleneck not VRAM.
 
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mustangtexas

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 25, 2011
3
0
I ordered the BTO with 2 GB of VRAM. Because of the availability of the refurb selling for $1869 (with the 1 GB card).... Springing for the 2 GBcard effectively cost me $200 more ... but at least I don't have ever wonder if I "should have" just got the 2GB card.

I kept hoping a unit with the 2 GB card would show up in the refurb area... but that list actually remains fairly static (doesn't change often).
 
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DJJAZZYJET

macrumors 6502
Jun 4, 2011
401
0
Plain and simple, if you want to run multiple monitors (2 on each end) then 2gb is essential, if its just 1 monitor 2gb will help. Games wont benifit really, and as AMD releases new firmware it makes the graphics card better (apparently there is a new amd graphics card driver that gives up to 10+ more frames per second, its only on windows but im sure it will come to mac)
 
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