Do you need the 6970M 1GB or 2GB? Will it make a difference?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by MythicFrost, May 9, 2011.

  1. MythicFrost, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

    MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    Australia
    #1
    I'm saying go for 2GB, it's not that expensive and if Portal 2 needs more than 1GB on very high settings with 4x MSAA, I imagine other games will too.
    If you're spending $2k+ on a nice machine you may as well not only future proof it but make sure it can't be bottlenecked as it is.

    barefeats Portal 2 results
    Notice the 5870 1GB being majorly bottlenecked at 2560x1440 whilst the 2GB 6970M isn't bottlenecked.

    EDIT:
    There was a patch released for Portal 2 which improved performance with MSAA, and the 5870 now has a higher frame rate than the 6970M in that same test. So, it may not have been the VRAM bottlenecking it. I still recommend 2GB though.
     
  2. Kendo macrumors 68000

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #2
    I'm staying with 1GB because I don't think games these days will utilize all 2GB in the first place. And a year from now when they do utilize 2GB, the 6970 will be too underpowered to take advantage of it anyway. For example, what if a year from now the 6970M will struggle to play games at native resolutions. You're gonna be toning down the resolution negating the need for the 2GB at high resolutions.

    I'd rather use the $100 towards AppleCare or more RAM.
     
  3. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #3
    Keep in mind, Portal 2 is already needing 2GB. I'm not sure if you looked at the link or not, but at 2560x1440 on VHigh, with 1GB VRAM you'll be getting a probably rather severe frame rate cap with the settings used.

    You shouldn't really ever need to turn down the resolution. This card should be able to handle everything at 2560x1440 with reasonably high graphics settings (medium for games like Metro 2033, perhaps), and over the next few years as graphics improve and you have to lower the settings, they should still be good graphics that'll push the GPU.
     
  4. Kendo macrumors 68000

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    Apr 4, 2011
    #4
    Where are you seeing that? If you are referring to the 68 FPS vs 38 FPS, those are two different cards.

    For the Portal 1 results, it is a 3 FPS differential.
     
  5. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Oregon
    #5
    If I could get atMonitor to work I could tell you exactly how much vram is being used and what you may need. But alas, it is not working. The devs told me they are aware of the issue.
     
  6. desantii macrumors 6502

    desantii

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    #6
    For future proff and future resale, I would go for the 2gb
     
  7. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #7
    From the link:

    As you can see at 1280x720 and 1920x1080 the 5870 1GB shows significant improvement over the 6970M. The reason why it's getting 2 FPS less than the 6970M at 2560x1440 is because its being bottlenecked by the VRAM.
     
  8. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #8
    Correcting myself here:

    There was a patch released for Portal 2 which improved performance with MSAA, and the 5870 now has a higher frame rate than the 6970M in that same test. So, it may not have been the VRAM bottlenecking it.
     
  9. Arni99 macrumors regular

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    Feb 26, 2011
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    Vienna, AUSTRIA
    #9
    My i7 6970M 2GB iMac is on its way to Vienna...in Brussels right now according to UPS tracking.
    F1 2010 grabs 1.5GB VRAM at ULTRA settings.

    At least it wont run worse having 2GB of VRAM ;).
     
  10. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #10
    Nice, and wow that's a lot of VRAM :p
     
  11. Arni99 macrumors regular

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    Vienna, AUSTRIA
    #11
    Will do a "Bad Company 2"(BOOTCAMP/Windows 7 64bit) test next week as soon as the iMac has arrived.
     
  12. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #12
    Being $100 more, it better won´t :p
     
  13. MrRobotto, May 22, 2011
    Last edited: May 22, 2011

    MrRobotto macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Honestly, for practical use you don't need more than 1GB VRAM. It's plenty to run the iMac 27" display, and plenty for games. I've had 8 10-megapixel images open in Photoshop and it didn't miss a beat.

    Kendo makes a good point, by the time games get around to fully utilising 2GB of VRAM, the 6970m's fill rate will be insufficient anyhow. Even now running at native 2560 x 1440 resolution the 6970m struggles with the latest games (games that use DX10 / DX11 feature sets, Portal 2 doesn't count as it's running on a heavily modified engine that is 7 years old). I run most at 1920 x 1080 and they still look fantastic.

    IMHO 2GB would only be truly useful if you were to run another couple of large displays from the iMac, or if you're doing super heavy duty texturing work in a program like Cinema 4D. 2GB doesn't future-proof your Mac any more than bigger wheels future-proof your car.

    Just my two cents :)
     
  14. swarleystinson macrumors regular

    swarleystinson

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    Aug 12, 2010
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    New York, NY
    #14
    Even though I bought the 2GB version, I would have to agree completely with this. Check out tom's hardware and some of the PC sites. Tom's hardware in particular has a great comparison of exactly what 2GB gets you, and basically you likely won't ever get the chance to use it for 2560x1440 gaming. You may eventually get some benefit at lower resolutions as games become more complicated, but it's likely to be outdated by then.
     
  15. MoreAwesomeDanU macrumors regular

    MoreAwesomeDanU

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    Dec 4, 2010
    #15
    If im planning to hook it up to another 27" monitor, would it make a big difference? Not for gaming, just Photoshop/indesign/illustrator and everyday use.
     
  16. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #16
    You would do more than fine with 256 MB VRAM.
     
  17. Boogsephine macrumors 6502

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    Feb 28, 2011
    #17
    Since we're on the topic of the video of the new iMac, I'll ask a question..

    I'm going to be getting the 27" iMac soon and am curious if I should upgrade to the 2GB video card. Sooner or later, the iMac will be used for extensive video editing and a 50" TV will be connected or final editing.

    Is it worth the $100 to go to the 2GB if I am going to be using it for video and photo editing?

    Thanks!
     
  18. omvs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    #18
    No benefit I can see. If you're not doing 3D, I can't imagine how you could possibly use that much video ram. You should be fine even with a 512MB card.

    I might disagree with some of the folks for gaming, especially under bootcamp. If I remember correctly, I think Fallout: New Vegas had textures big enough I had to crank down on my 768MB GT260, and the Dragon Age 2 texture pack for PC says 1GB+.

    OTOH if you're already getting a customized machine, it might be worth the extra $100 - one could argue the resale value down the road would be better.
     
  19. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #19
    I don't think that video editing software utilizes much of VRAM. The only software that wold benefit from it are some games and also possibly highly specialized software which uses GPUs for numeric calculations on extremely large data sets.
     
  20. CaoCao macrumors 6502a

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    Jul 27, 2010
    #20
    You don't need 3D to use that much VRAM, a 2560 by 1440 pixel display would do that, oh wait!
     
  21. Jorojr macrumors newbie

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    Dec 10, 2008
    #21
  22. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #22
    Barefeats said that Portal 2 was using 96% VRAM on high settings. It shouldn't be hard to push that over 1GB with games with higher resolution textures, or even just using 8x AA instead of 4x.

    By the way, the 6850 replaced the 5750, not the 5850.
     
  23. trip1ex macrumors 68000

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    Jan 10, 2008
    #23
    The card is the bottleneck. IT's not going to run newer games at native resolution even with 2gb. AT 1080p only 1gb is needed.

    Portal 2 is an easy to run game and even with 1gb you get great frame rates. It's not a game where one is going to need a very high frame rate either.

    And so 1gb is all you need. Of course 2gb never hurts anything except for your wallet.
     
  24. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    Feb 6, 2011
    #24
    Dang .. you people really start to make me sorry for ordered iMac with 2Gb VRAM

    Yeah it´s only $100 extra compared to iMac price, but enough to make me delay AppleCare purchase. Otherwise I´ve had my iMac auto enrolled with ACPP :(

    Oh well ..
     
  25. MythicFrost thread starter macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

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    #25
    Why? You've future proofed your system, and that's assuming current games won't use that much VRAM at 2560x1440 although I think some will, especially with AA.
     

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