Which apps can use VRAM?

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by Jardins de Vin, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Jardins de Vin macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #1
    I have an ATI 7950 3GB "Mac Edition", I was wondering which apps can use its VRAM? I don't mean applications like Final Cut or Photoshop, but rather non-graphic/non-video apps. I heard that there are some that can use the memory from the video card. Would be interesting to know!

    Best regards
     
  2. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

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    #2
    Most of the browser. e.g. Safari, Firefox, etc.

    You can use iStat to monitor your VRAM usage. If you open Facebook in Safari, and keep scrolling down, you can easily use all your 3G VRAM.
     
  3. MarcBook macrumors 6502a

    MarcBook

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    #3
    VRAM isn't available for normal application use like system RAM. It's used by the graphics card as a frame buffer, used for storing graphics assets (such as textures) and pre-rendered frames.

    Having more VRAM allows your graphics card to deal with higher-resolution textures, higher display resolutions in games and other graphically-intensive applications, and can allow it to render more complex effects (e.g. anti-aliasing) faster when memory is the bottleneck.

    Also, that's nonsense about web browsers using up your VRAM... You're thinking of the normal system RAM again. And you'd need to scroll down Facebook for a very long time to fill up 3GB of RAM.
     
  4. h9826790, Aug 24, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014

    h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

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    #4
    It sound nonsense, but it's the truth.

    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 4.33.12.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 4.33.37.jpg

    I can easily use up almost all 3G of my VRAM by just using Safari -> Facebook. And I can easily release most of the VRAM by just close Facebook.

    At the same time, you can see that the system memory used by Safari didn't change that much.

    You can test it by yourself. Even though iStat call it processor, it's actually the VRAM usage, they just change the name in the current version, but still monitoring the same thing.

    In fact, all Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc... use GPU acceleration long time ago. You just didn't notice it. And some browser like Chrome, you can actually turn off GPU acceleration to avoid it use up all your VRAM.

    http://www.chromium.org/developers/design-documents/gpu-accelerated-compositing-in-chrome

    Try it, and then you will know the truth.

    Another test, but using OpenGL Driver Monitor to monitor the VRAM usage.
    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 5.17.04.jpg

    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 5.17.16.jpg
     
  5. MarcBook macrumors 6502a

    MarcBook

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    #5
    You know what? Call me impressed. I always presumed that the iStat 'processor' bar under graphics was referring to the GPU load, not the memory usage. Looking at the history graph (which I've never thought to do), it actually makes a lot of sense.

    I'll admit that I was wrong! Thanks for the info.

    Edit: I just tried scrolling down Facebook with that bar visible. Interestingly, it goes up and down and hovers at around 60% of the shared 512MB my integrated GPU has.
     
  6. h9826790 macrumors G4

    h9826790

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    #6
    May be it's programmed to use shared memory in a different way, so it can use more than 90% of my VRAM (I've test it on both HD4870 or HD7950), but only about 60% of your shard memory.

    Anyway, now we confirmed that browsers can actually use VRAM. ;)
     
  7. Jardins de Vin thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jardins de Vin

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    #7
    Haha after all the things you already predicted and which turned out to be right, I knew you were right already :D

    I'm wondering if there's any more, non-graphic apps that can use the VRAM? It would be interesting to know.
    I wanted to buy the new Mac Pro at some point, someone asked me if it wouldn't be too much power from me, because Logic Pro also takes its memory from the graphic cards. I read a thread about this on another forum, but can't remember what this was called when the VRAM is used for other stuff.
     

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