iMac 27": 512MB 6770M or 1GB 6970M?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by thehenry, Jul 22, 2012.

  1. thehenry macrumors member

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    #1
    On the 2011 iMac, is the faster 6970M that much better for runing dual displays and playing games such as BF3, MW3,Civ5,etc on Windows 7 than the 6770M? Does running Windows in lower resolutions help with the 6770M or make the games look distorted.

    On OS X, is the 6770M enough for running the 27" iMac display and an external monitor?

    Your responses are much appreciated. :)
     
  2. jmhart macrumors regular

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #2
    If you'll be playing any games produced in the last 4-5 years, you will want 1GB or more.

    Running Windows at resolutions other than the native panel resolution will at best make the picture look slightly blurry, at worst it will indeed look distorted. Folks with recent iMacs can tell you better how the display hardware handles the upscaling of non-native resolutions.
     
  3. DJJAZZYJET, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012

    DJJAZZYJET macrumors 6502

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    #3
    The 6970m 2GB would be best for running multiple displays. If your running only one display, then the 6970m with 1GB is recommended. The 6770m would not be good enough for playing games without really lowering the settings, making it look rubbish. You can run battlefield 3 at 2560x1440 on the 6970m 1GB (one display) with the texture quality on high, sync, and settings around average to low at over 30 fps, more than enough for enjoyable gameplay.

    Lowering resolutions in window 7 drastically helps the frame rate of any game for any video card, but at the iMac's native screen resolution of 2560x1440, anything below that running at full screen will look more pixalated.

    Go for the 6970M 2GB for dual displays playing games. Pay the little extra, you will be much happier.

    Note: If your going to be only using ONE display, I say go for the 1GB because having 2GB will be overkill and you will only give you 2 - 3 more frames per second, which is not worth the extra money. If you are using dual displays, DEFIANTLY go for the 2GB 6970!!!!
     
  4. thehenry thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    I'll be running one display plus the 27 iMac. However, I don't anticipate playing BF3 or any game on both displays. I use dual displays only inside OS X. I might even unplug it when I boot into Windows if it would help the fps.
     
  5. forty2j macrumors 68030

    forty2j

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    #5
    The 27" really wants the 2Gb 6970m to run games like BF3. Too many pixels for the 1GB to handle smoothly, and the 6770m just chokes on it.
     
  6. iSayuSay, Jul 22, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2012

    iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #6
    2GB VRAM is not necessary for games. There are benchmarks charts prove that extra video RAM does not help increase FPS.

    In some case there are redundancy where 1GB version of identical GPU has a bit higher FPS than 2GB one.

    Sure, if you can get iMac with 2GB 6970M laying around for the same price, you certainly can't go wrong. But if you have to pay full extra $100 for 2GB VRAM, vote for your wallet.

    It might seem "only" $100 upgrade, but in desktop GPU world, a bump from 1GB to 2GB VRAM only costs $20 for the same GPU. Imagine that.. Apple charges you 5x more.
     
  7. forty2j macrumors 68030

    forty2j

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    #7
    Generally those benchmarks are based on 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. If you want to use a non-native resolution (or a lower resolution external display), then 1 GB VRAM is perfectly fine on the 6970m.
     
  8. thehenry thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    I wouldn't mind using a lower resolution inside of Windows, but will that mess with the games graphics? I've heard of people using native resolution with windowed-mode and then just scaling it to fit the screen.
     
  9. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #9
    I may agree on that. But 6970M is not that powerful. It's barely-able to play games on iMac native. So I think having having more RAM for a barely able GPU is redundant since you can only play (at enjoyable level) on 1080p anyway.

    Obviously you can't go wrong for having extra graphic RAM, but certainly not for $100. You better off with AppleCare or RAM upgrade. And like I said, Apple charges us 4 - 5x more for this measly upgrade, no better than buying RAM from Apple.
     
  10. forty2j macrumors 68030

    forty2j

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    #10
    If you'd be happy with black bars.. well the viewable screen would be the same size as the 21". Too bad the 21" can't come with 6970m.

    If you just run at non-native resolution, there's a chance it could look slightly blurry. This is something you'd want to experiment with if you can get to an Apple Store (etc) and see if you notice it. The game itself won't care, you just tell it what you want to run at.
     
  11. Rlnplehshalo macrumors regular

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    #11
    Even 1GB may not be enough depending on what your doing for gaming, graphical programs get 1GB+ minimum.
    The sheer pixel count on the 27" will use all the GPU memory, getting a 512MB card will definately have its drawbacks and if you ever decide to need more power at least you would have it there to last an extra few years.

    You 'Could' run BF3 perhaps on 1 or 2 displays generally with a graphics card like that, the combined pixel count would be well over 1million per display, putting intense pressure on your GPU hence the reason we have large cooler and Crossfire/SLI configuratiosn consisting of multiple graphics cards.

    If you really want to run BF3 and/or equivalent games on multiple high res displays a PC is a no-brainer. iMac is simply out of the question.
     
  12. thehenry thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    Oh yes, I agree the iMac isn't a gaming computer, however, the second display is only used on OS X. I don't want to have multiple gaming displays. I'll likely unplug the monitor when I boot into Windows.

    I just want to know if getting the 6970M will be best for using ONLY the iMac display and running games like BF3, Civ 5, etc. :)
     
  13. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Here we go again.....Mr graphics expert giving his biased opinion. Don't listen to this bozo with his flip charts. The 2GB vram makes a great improvement over 1GB as it did with my system.
     
  14. 50548 Guest

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    #14
    Do you have data to prove your statements? Because I've read the same elsewhere...that most games don't actually tap into 1GB, let alone the full 2GB.
     
  15. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

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    #15
    This was true until a couple of years ago.

    Here is a great explanation from a user named Supernova1138 over at toms hardware forums, which is spot on.

    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/328213-15-video-card

    This is specifically regarding 1920x1080, so if you really want to run games at the native 2560x1440, then 2 GB is a good idea, except that most recent games that would actually need more than 1 GB will run pretty slowly on the iMac's GPU anyway.

    Note: contrary to some opinion, you don't need 2 GB of VRAM to drive a 2560x1440 display in terms of the normal 2D desktop. 384 MB is more than enough to drive a 2560x1440 desktop.
     
  16. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Hands on experience using Matlab as well other fellow Ph.D's noticing the difference in texture mapping.
     
  17. iSayuSay, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

    iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #17
    Oh here we go again the master of Flight Simulator X and a Ph.D expert with his grumpy statement.

    Look man, I had my own experience to understand extra VRAM doesn't help much, especially with 6970M.

    I didn't have too much time for further research, but look at post and quote by theSeb above, should give you some idea about how important (or not?) a 2GB VRAM in mobile GPU like 6970M.

    If you and your fellow Ph.D is so serious about Matlab and science computing. Why use iMac at all? Why not use clustered box? Or 12 core MacPro? Or PC with GTX690? it will give you faster mapping. Guaranteed..

    Seriously, and for the last time. 6970M is not good enough to enjoy the benefit of extra VRAM. Get a real GPU if you want to see REAL improvement. No need for Ph.D title to understand that.

    PS: Your attitude don't seem like a Ph.D of an expert quality.


    So you're suggesting that ALL iMac owners required to use Matlab texture mapping to enjoy the real benefit of 2GB VRAM?
     
  18. dmax35, Jul 23, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2012

    dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    #18
    According to you, all iMac owners with 2gb VRAM wasted money mr.graphics expert. BTW we use clustered systems, a combination of iMacs and high end SGI's that's why above your head. Next time think before you start insulting peeps about wasting thier money on something you have no idea what your talking about.
     
  19. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #19
    It is a wasted money. How much improvement did you notice with 2GB VRAM, doctor? I assume it's suddenly twice faster in anything with twice more RAM?
     
  20. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Grammar check mr.graphics VRAM expert. No wasted money out of my pocket since the 2gb vram made a difference, as proven to you by others as well.....Funny I've received PM's from others who think your a wanna be poser who has nothing better to do than with your biased opinion.
     
  21. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #21
    Funnily enough Mr. grumpy doctor ... You never gave me any proof or real world numbers. At least I gave you a flippin chart (which you couldn't cope with) , it was a real number, real time statistic and benchmarks. What's wrong about the chart, doctor?

    And I didn't see any other post that accurately back up your theory. Read again and you'll see that others agree for MOST cases, extra VRAM don't help much (if at all).

    You claimed that you experienced a HUGE difference with extra VRAM, nothing more than subjective statement or personal feelings.

    Educate me then doctor, I actually have an iMac with 2GB VRAM, how can I get twice FPS in my games with it? I really really would like to know, seriously :eek:
     
  22. dmax35 macrumors 6502

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    #22
    Spell check mr.graphics expert.. Hmmmmm. I guess you wasted your money like the rest of us than didn't you.

    I 'll go back to my world of Aeronatical research using 2gb VRAM while u waste the day giving bad advice mr.know nothing at all.
     
  23. iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #23
    Again .. I don't see you back up your theory with proof. Mumbling about science as usual.

    I guess saving a bit money here and there is a bad advice nowadays.

    But yeah .. good day to you and your research, mr grumpy and super wise perfect doctor. :)
     
  24. forty2j macrumors 68030

    forty2j

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    #24
    What, did you expect him to run 3DMark11 at native resolution before he popped out the old card, and after he popped in the new?

    The extra GB of VRAM makes a world of difference at native resolution on the 27". But finding benchmarks for that resolution is hard.

    Earlier I was looking at the benchmarks for the AMD 7970 vs. Nvida GTX 680 running at 4K. Upgrading from 2GB to 4GB VRAM improved performance by about 50%, much to the shock of the reviewer. While I don't have "hard numbers", I'd guess the performance gain on the 6970m at 2560x1440 going from 1GB to 2GB is pretty similar.
     
  25. iSayuSay, Jul 24, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2012

    iSayuSay macrumors 68030

    iSayuSay

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    #25
    Nope .. but I believe that doctor replaced his iMac GPU from 1GB to 2GB, means he experienced both and claims to noticed improvement.

    So instead just saying "I noticed a HUGE improvement" he could at least state, what kind of improvement. With what app? Doing what activity?

    With 1 GB GPU he could do that in X seconds or FPS
    With 2 GB GPU he could do that in Y seconds or FPS
    So extra VRAM allow me to finish the job in (Y-X) seconds faster or more FPS.
    Or give a rough estimation if he couldn't provide the exact difference, instead of saying "HUGE" or "SIGNIFICANT" ... it's all too subjective.

    Claimed to have a Ph.D title, craving numerical proof should've came first into mind instead of meaningless crap like that. I provided a valid data and all he could say was "don't believe this bozo and his flipping chart." .. Why not provide another valid data or argument to prove me otherwise?

    EDIT:

    Look man ... with all due respect, I don't mean to be a troll here. For goodness I love this forum and I'm trying to contribute the best I can.

    I do feel silly and tired for debating over this thing again and again. But as I told you earlier, I have an iMac with 2GB VRAM myself, so I'm not trying to justify my machine or being envy and all.

    I played BF3 on it months ago, set most to ultra on 2560x1440 (no AA/AF), I got a merely thin 20fps (almost stuttering). Compared to reports from iMac with 1GB GPU owners, I noticed roughly the same result, some 1GB GPUs even get a bit higher average FPS than mine, I could safely assume it's a redundancy.
    So I do think even with 2GB GPU, high resolution, ultra texture pack .. my 6970M has yielded to its limit way before it could fill up the RAM. In short, 2GB is too good for it.
     

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