Vram Question from Non-Gamer

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by yojitani, Jun 11, 2013.

  1. yojitani macrumors 68000


    Apr 28, 2005
    An octopus's garden
    This should be a fairly easy question to answer: I'm not a gamer, but I use dual displays most of the time (usually a 24" Dell U2410 plus MBP screen). I usually have 3 to 4 applications open in full screen and maybe another 3 to 4 open but not in full screen (one of which is Audirvana Plus - RAM intensive). I'm in the market for a new MBP 15" - High Res, but not retina. Will I be better off with 1GB of Vram or will 512MB be sufficient? My current MBP has the NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT 512 MB and that seems to be near maxed out most days. I'm sure improvements have been made since 2008, hence my question.
  2. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    512MB will be plenty for that. The framebuffer doesn't really account for any significant amount on those kind of VRAM sizes. framebuffer is the thing that grows with the resolution it is supposed to display.
    And only a dozen windows isn't all that much of a problem either. 256MB would be a problem but 512 is fine.

    It depends on the Applications in use though. Windows alone (like browser, finder, itunes) don't need much VRAM but Apps that use OpenCL or CUDA like Photoshop can suck tons just for a bigger picture. You got a couple open that use those GPU features and your 512MB are quickly finished.
    In just 2D work it isn't much of a problem though if the problem is only two many such windows and not one really big consumer. The GPU can swap the entire content of the VRAM multiple times a second. You only suffer a big performance loss if you need all the stuff at once like games do or like I think Mission control does (don't know that though).
    Pro software like CAD stuff can require tons of VRAM which is why firepro and tesla professional grade GPUs usually have lots of slower RAM. Generally much more than the gaming consumer GPUs.

    It is old but it touched the subject
    Today with ML I think the VRAM consumption is most likely quite a bit higher.
    Just standard Office, Internet, Media-consumption stuff barely needs anything at all.

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