3 monitors on 512MB?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by azax456, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. azax456 macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2011
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Hey everyone - will be ordering a 2011 iMac SSD within the next few days but need a little help. I plan on running two additional monitors (23" each) via Thunderbolt and want to make sure I will have enough VRAM. I was planning on getting a 27" 2.7 i5 with 512MB because I don't do really intensive stuff, just lots of apps, internet, etc (no gaming). Any reason to believe I would need to upgrade to 1GB? I know some will say YES to be safe, but honestly, any reason I NEED to do it? I've been running one extra monitor on my 2007 MBP with 128MB no issues for last few years.

    Thanks guys!
  2. Georgio macrumors 6502


    Apr 30, 2008
    Essex, UK
    Three monitors, 512MB?

    No, just no, especially with that amount of real estate.

    Just get the 1GB and be happy that you have some overhead.

  3. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Sssh! Don't tell my iMac, it has two extra monitors and has been working fine for a month now with that same configuration.
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Really, 512MB is perfectly fine to drive 3 monitors. The framebuffer of 1440p will be around 40MB at most. And for the compositing manager, you don't need all the windows to be in the video memory, the RAM will totally suffice.

    People really get a bit megalomaniac nowadays with the computer requirements... I have even seen someone recently calling the i7-875 a "weak" CPU o_O
  5. vigu360 macrumors member


    Oct 21, 2009
    I have the 512 MB 2011 i5 iMac and it runs the 27" 1440, 2 24" 1080 without a hiccup. I indeed ran 3 720p fullscreen on the three screens and hand no issues. I can't speak for games as I never game on computers
  6. Big-TDI-Guy macrumors 68030


    Jan 11, 2007
    The only thing to keep in mind is what you may want or need a little more down the road - you can't simply plug in more VRAM into your iMac like you can RAM.

    More than gaming to consider, video hardware encoding / decoding, movie editing can benefit from your GPU, and virtual machines (Parallels and the like) can play a little better if allocated a larger chunk of system resources.
  7. LimeiBook86 macrumors 604


    May 4, 2002
    Go Vegan
    I opted for the extra 128MB of VRAM in my 2006 iMac (for a total of 256MB of VRAM) and I was happy I did. 5 years later it still performs pretty well, but I was always happy I sprung for the extra VRAM, just in case!

    So I suggest if you're going to be buying or custom ordering a new Mac you might as well get the extra VRAM. Unlike a hard drive or RAM you can't just upgrade it afterwards (easily). So until the day external Thunderbolt graphic cards become available I'd spring for the extra VRAM, it's only $100 or so, and it's a worthy investment on your new Mac. :)
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    I think you answered your own question?

    I ran dual monitors, 1920 X 1200 and 1024 X 768 on a 64 meg GeForce card -- and those were CRTs.
  9. MacHamster68, Jun 10, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    if you use a usb to dvi thingy (they have a small GPU inside and newer ones can handle 1080p) , you can even run up to 5 monitos without problem ......no problem hooking up monitors ,only limited on the amount of the usb ports on your iMac + the dvi out , so that makes 3 usb driven monitors plus the internal plus the dvi driven monitor makes 5 monitors in total

    i had on my iMac G5 with 64mb vram 1 monitor over mini vga plus a second over usb (cheap chinese copy of a usb to dvi monitor adapter) and it could even handle 720p videos ...just

    so the amount of vram is really not as important as you might think , ok if you want to play crysis all settings to max on a 27" iMac and a 27" cinema display hooked up you cant have enough vram as you have to remember the amount of vram will be split between the 2 displays if you use the mini dvi port obviously

    so i'd say i would get as much vram as you can as in the future even the OS needs a lot more vram to be able to drive all those gadgets and widgets in the OS

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