Can a 512mb GT 650m Graphics Card Power a 1680X1050 Resolution?

DavidLeigh

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 10, 2012
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This is going to be a short and to-the-point question. I know the GT 650m is a good card but i'm not sure about the 512 mb of memory. I also know 512 mb is better for lower resolutions. I'm not sure if 1680X1050 is considered high resolution, but will the the 512 mb grahics card have trouble powering it?

Thanks
 

inlinevolvo

macrumors 6502
Jul 11, 2012
359
3
No trouble at all. There could be some argument to having 2gb on the retina model, but you will have zero issues.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
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Well the frame buffer is not a problem. So yeah it definitely can drive it.
You can drive a lot more with just 256mb.

The problem comes in when you play games and loads of textures need to be in the VRAM or when you have many windows open where each wants a bit of VRAM visible or not.
 

w00t951

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2009
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Pittsburgh, PA
It'll be fine for everything but games.

Somebody said something about "multiple windows needing VRAM" or something - which doesn't make sense. There's really nothing in a 2D environment that entails more than 30MB of video RAM, even in the most intensive of multitasking scenarios.

Besides, individual windows don't take up vRAM - it's a system process that handles drawing the windows. I think it was either SystemUIServer or WindowServer.
 

alphaod

macrumors Core
Feb 9, 2008
22,164
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NYC
My 10 year old computer can drive it, so you can be sure the latest GPU [even if not the highest end] can drive it.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
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Somebody said something about "multiple windows needing VRAM" or something - which doesn't make sense. There's really nothing in a 2D environment that entails more than 30MB of video RAM, even in the most intensive of multitasking scenarios.

Besides, individual windows don't take up vRAM - it's a system process that handles drawing the windows. I think it was either SystemUIServer or WindowServer.
The window data does and quite a bit at that.
Here is something from Windows.
http://www.tomshardware.com/news/windows-graphics-ram-desktop-memory,7644.html
OSX doesn't work any way fundamentally different.
http://www.anandtech.com/show/2804
If you only have only 4-5 windows of standard apps open you probably aren't too far off 30MB. A single Photoshop Window will suck more already.

A drawing process is a CPU process it is only a process that delegates work to the GPU. The GPU later does the actual work and needs the necessary working data in VRAM for whatever it is tasked with.

The times when all the VRAM held was the frame buffer has been a long time past. It is still called frame buffer sometimes although that isn't really appropriate anymore.
 

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,157
1,081
Montreal, Canada
Have people forgotten many CRT monitors from 10+ years ago used to have resolutions like 1280x1024 and 1600x1200? Back then 64MB/128MB video cards were considered good.
 

DavidLeigh

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 10, 2012
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0
But what about gaming then? I'm a very light gamer myself. I have a PS3 and even then i haven't gamed for months. If i do game on the Mac it will be for non-graphically intensive RTS games. Anything else like FPS i will get for my PS3 as it's unlikely i will prefer a 15 inch screen. But i do want to know my options though.
 

dusk007

macrumors 68040
Dec 5, 2009
3,386
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But what about gaming then? I'm a very light gamer myself. I have a PS3 and even then i haven't gamed for months. If i do game on the Mac it will be for non-graphically intensive RTS games. Anything else like FPS i will get for my PS3 as it's unlikely i will prefer a 15 inch screen. But i do want to know my options though.
To put it simply 512MB is currently enough on "normal" resolutions you will get good fps.
More VRAM primarily helps quality. The gaming engine will automatically adapt itself to the lower available VRAM and it will render frames usually almost the same speed. Those frames will tend to offer lower quality, more popping up textures and so on. In many games the available quality settings will be limited based on how much VRAM there is.
512MB is currently about to become the minimum any game expects. It is still being optimized for while the support for 256mb is being removed from games. They still run but very poorly.
More VRAM is especially useful in games with out door levels and great visibility. Flight Sim., BF3. CoD is more streaming and less VRAM dependent.

For speed (fps) alone it doesn't matter unless you drive high resolutions. High being at least full hd but it really hurts above that.
For quality more VRAM is always better and I would say 1GB should be minimum on a GPU as fast as the 650m. 2GB should be and is the most often used option with that GPU.
Apple is very skimpy with VRAM because they don't think it matters in normal OSX use, they don't care about gaming and it saves space on the logic board. 2GB GDDR5 are actually quite cheap.
I also think they try to make the low end version look deliberately unappealing. Otherwise they really should have put 2GB on the high end and 1GB at the low end.
The 650M replaced a GPU the 560M which was slightly slower and game standard with either 1536 or twice that in VRAM. There is enough processing power to render a detailed graphics but it can only use shaders if there is no data to work with. Nothing is cheaper than high def textures in speed vs. quality.
 

HarryKNN21

macrumors regular
May 25, 2012
234
0
Hong Kong
But what about gaming then? I'm a very light gamer myself. I have a PS3 and even then i haven't gamed for months. If i do game on the Mac it will be for non-graphically intensive RTS games. Anything else like FPS i will get for my PS3 as it's unlikely i will prefer a 15 inch screen. But i do want to know my options though.
I am running games on the 1GB VRAM version, and even at 1080p 40 FPS is easily possible, at 1440 x 900 I saw 70 FPS. However, depends on the game you are running, if you are playing heavy motion games like Need for Speed, you better set the graphic quality at medium to low to get the highest frame rate.

Besides VRAM, the amount of available system memory is important as well. You will never run a game smoothly with less then 4GB of available system memory, no matter what kind of display card you machine is on. I just upgraded my new machine to 16GB RAM, and I am delighted to say most games I play don't lag anymore, although I don't see a big bump on FPS during HD gaming.
 
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