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2Gb VRAM, enough for 1080p gaming for next few years?

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April 20, 2013 12:00:21 PM

Hi all,

Thinking of buying a powercolor HD 7870 2Gb PCS+, however am worried that the 2gb ram at 256bit mem bus bandwidth and 1500Mhz mem clock (6000Mhz effective) won't last in the long run.
I'm planning to stay at 1 screen at 1920x1080/1200 gaming for the foreseeable future (with a side screen for background apps) but I want near-max AA in game, with high res textures (I play most new FPS's / RPG's)

Assuming I keep this card for, lets say, 3 years, will the amount of VRAM and its speed be of concern when using these demanding settings, or do I only need more VRAM for multiple screens?

Spec:
intel i7 3770k
asus p8z77-v
8gb corsair vengeance
hiper 580W

Thanks in advance for any and all replies

Val
April 20, 2013 12:18:27 PM

For the next few years? As in, you want to know if your GPU is future-proof?

I can answer that easily.

No.

There is NO CPU, GPU, Mobo, RAM, HDD, etc. that will hold their own in the future. They will be obsolete by the time the new parts come in the year ahead, and the year ahead of that and the year ahead of that year, and the year...etc.
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a b 4 Gaming
April 20, 2013 12:23:27 PM

That being said, a 590 with 1.5GB of effective vram is still enough to max games on three 1080p screens, so 2GB will be more than enough.

Also, if you haven't already bought the system, don't waste your money on an i7 - the only difference between it and an i5-3570k is that the i7 has hyperthreading, which games can't, and more than likely won't, use well.

Take that $100 from the processor and put it into the graphics card; you'll be much happier in the long run.
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April 20, 2013 2:57:15 PM

First off, thanks for your replies Majincry and Darksable

@ majincry: I appreciate you cannot have a future proof card, but my question was specifically on your opinions of where technology would progress over the next few years and therefore the impact of memory size/bandwidth/speed on game performance.

@ darksble: This is great news thanks. And unfortunately I have already bought the cpu, I realise its overkill (and a stupid buy) but i found it at a great price. Your suggestion is definitely what I should have done :p 
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a b 4 Gaming
April 20, 2013 3:44:14 PM

No worries, if you got it at a good price, then all the more power to you!

Just throwing out there, do everything you can to try to find a 7870 XT (also known as the 7870 myst or 7870 Tahiti LE.)

It's basically the same price, but is considerably more powerful... it'll make the difference between medium-high and ultra settings.
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April 21, 2013 1:11:01 AM

Yeah sorry i mis-typed the name of the card in the 1st post, its the powercolor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition, which i think is on par with the 7870 XT (i think xt is the nomenclature for sapphire's version). I've found the card for £178 with 4 games which is incredible, but I'm wondering if a dual fan may be better (sapphires XT) as when overclocking the powercolor gets very hot (78°C+) and/or very noisy.

Do you recon nvidia and amd are going to do more game offers in the future with tomb raider, farcry3, bioshock, or are they assuming everyone has them now and they'll move on to different games? Because the thing thats drawing me into this offer is those games, that im definitely going to buy anyway so its a saving of ~£60 (when on offer on steam)
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a b 4 Gaming
April 21, 2013 1:35:01 AM

2gb is fine. it is unlikely in the next coupe years games will require more than 2gb vram, but for future games you might have to turn down texture detail settings a step down from their highest. If anything will fill up your vram its high res textures. If you plan on running a dual card config in the future as an upgrade to a single card then stay away from AMD and go with NVidia. But for a single card amd cards are fine. If you plan on keeping the card for a few years step up to the 7950 or 7870xt. I think NVidia are currently bundling metro last light with every card above a gtx660, I got assasins creed 2 and 3 with my 660, which was a while ago, but that depends on the manufacturer, individual manufacturers may offer their own bundles.
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May 8, 2013 12:15:26 AM

1.5GB of VRAM, to me is BARELY enough for gaming at 1080p. You should try logging your usage. I was doing so using GPU-Z while playing the new Tomb Raider and it was sucking down an average of 1.3GB of memory out of my 3GB GTX 580. I can only imagine how much other future games will be utilizing.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 8, 2013 12:35:45 AM

killerval said:
Yeah sorry i mis-typed the name of the card in the 1st post, its the powercolor HD7870 PCS+ Myst Edition, which i think is on par with the 7870 XT (i think xt is the nomenclature for sapphire's version). I've found the card for £178 with 4 games which is incredible, but I'm wondering if a dual fan may be better (sapphires XT) as when overclocking the powercolor gets very hot (78°C+) and/or very noisy.

Do you recon nvidia and amd are going to do more game offers in the future with tomb raider, farcry3, bioshock, or are they assuming everyone has them now and they'll move on to different games? Because the thing thats drawing me into this offer is those games, that im definitely going to buy anyway so its a saving of ~£60 (when on offer on steam)


That is the 7870 xt. An aftermarket cooler, of course, will perform better, but if you already have the powercolor, keep it.

And I imagine that with their new series of graphics cards, amd and nvidia would use different games.

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a b 4 Gaming
May 8, 2013 1:13:44 AM

I know AMD will be doing another Never Settle around the end of the year, games in it arent all that special except for Battlefield 4.
Nvidia will no doubt have their own free games (Metro: Last Light currently), but from the looks of it they wont really compare to what AMD is pumping out. What they really need to do is a price drop, their cards are still the same price they were at release.

Back to the original question though.
No :p .
I was just playing Crysis 3 and my VRAM usage hit about 2.1GB and stayed there for good portions of time. I know Crysis is top of the line stuff, but in the next couple of years that will become somewhat standard . Its entirely possible the VRAM requirements will shoot up because of the new console gen (the PS4 has a potential 8GB of VRAM, though in practical usage more likely 6GB), and 1440p monitors are eventually going to become common fare.

When trying to figure out future trends over a timeframe, look backwards by that amount of time.
The HD5970, fastest graphics card of 2009/early 2010 had 2GB of VRAM, being a dual GPU card in reality it only had 1GB of effective VRAM.
Your gonna need more VRAM than 2GB in a few years time.
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a b 4 Gaming
May 8, 2013 1:51:44 AM

It will be enough, in the sense that your GPU wont be powerful enough to get any big advantage over having more VRAM.
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May 10, 2013 3:00:18 AM

Hey all, forgot to post an answer to this thread:

Yeah in the end I got the powercolor about 2 weeks ago, it was too good a deal to miss. In the end I payed £176 with p&p from aria, which came with 4 games but on receiving my copy of blood dragon on the 3rd may amd sent me an extra copy of tomb raider and bioshock, so in the end it was £176 for the card, 2x tomb raider, 2x bioshock, farcry, and farcry blood dragon: pretty insane deal imo. I've traded the excess games for other games I wanted so its all worked out swimmingly.

As for the card, the one thing I was worried about, having read reviews, was the noise of the fan. I underestimated how loud it actually was - at 100% its like I've turned on a hair-dryer in my case (antec 300), but whilst gaming the fan never goes above 50% so its all good. Also it overclocks very well, got it to 1200 mhz clock and 5500mhz memory very easily for a very stable overclock, may try higher when i don't have exams :) . Overall, great card with great performance (for now :p )

Thanks all for your comments, keep up the great forum support :) 
Val out
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August 22, 2013 4:31:58 PM

What most people have forgotten is that if you overclock your video cards that you will use more of the Vram, A mate has 2x590 super overclocked and then overclocked them both, They lasted a full year and a bit, never again will he overclock a GPU knowing full well how long it last's

On the other hand I have 2x560GTX's (new when they 1st came out) and overclocked them to a shithouse and have come not even close to the fresh hold of the memory being maxed out, But I do run with 16GB of ram for the motherboard of 2133 oc speed's, and my mate only runs with 8GB of slow speed's,


Overall yes you can play any game you want for the next 5-9 years of buying it brand new but do not overclock it or you'll cut the time of 5 years into half and then if you run the games on maxed out settings it will half the 2.5 years again,
But most gamer's play their games on low settings anyway and get better rego out of it, not making the GPU over work even if they have top end GPU's,

I played a full round on max settings of BF3 and there was 0% change in the video settings everything looked the same as playing on low settings,
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August 22, 2013 5:36:06 PM

c3llz said:
What most people have forgotten is that if you overclock your video cards that you will use more of the Vram, A mate has 2x590 super overclocked and then overclocked them both, They lasted a full year and a bit, never again will he overclock a GPU knowing full well how long it last's

On the other hand I have 2x560GTX's (new when they 1st came out) and overclocked them to a shithouse and have come not even close to the fresh hold of the memory being maxed out, But I do run with 16GB of ram for the motherboard of 2133 oc speed's, and my mate only runs with 8GB of slow speed's,


Overall yes you can play any game you want for the next 5-9 years of buying it brand new but do not overclock it or you'll cut the time of 5 years into half and then if you run the games on maxed out settings it will half the 2.5 years again,
But most gamer's play their games on low settings anyway and get better rego out of it, not making the GPU over work even if they have top end GPU's,

I played a full round on max settings of BF3 and there was 0% change in the video settings everything looked the same as playing on low settings,


Last I heard, gamers buy expensive graphics cards for the sole reason of maxing out their game's settings. Your information is flawed mate. And overclocking a gpu doesn't cause more vram to be used, as far as I can tell. Do your research.
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August 24, 2013 11:36:04 PM

manofchalk said:
I know AMD will be doing another Never Settle around the end of the year, games in it arent all that special except for Battlefield 4.
Nvidia will no doubt have their own free games (Metro: Last Light currently), but from the looks of it they wont really compare to what AMD is pumping out. What they really need to do is a price drop, their cards are still the same price they were at release.

Back to the original question though.
No :p .
I was just playing Crysis 3 and my VRAM usage hit about 2.1GB and stayed there for good portions of time. I know Crysis is top of the line stuff, but in the next couple of years that will become somewhat standard . Its entirely possible the VRAM requirements will shoot up because of the new console gen (the PS4 has a potential 8GB of VRAM, though in practical usage more likely 6GB), and 1440p monitors are eventually going to become common fare.

When trying to figure out future trends over a timeframe, look backwards by that amount of time.
The HD5970, fastest graphics card of 2009/early 2010 had 2GB of VRAM, being a dual GPU card in reality it only had 1GB of effective VRAM.
Your gonna need more VRAM than 2GB in a few years time.


Can't believe you're moderator and gaming expert and yet you can say nonsence that ps4 will use 6gb of vram lol.
It's a unified memory,after OS usage and multitasking etc. it will end up with 5-6gb which will be used for vram AND RAM.
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a b 4 Gaming
August 25, 2013 12:00:51 AM

Not saying it will use 6GB of VRAM, just saying that after the OS and general stuff is taken care of, you will have a potential 6GB that can be dedicated to gaming.
You came to the same conclusion I did, just you misinterpreted what I said.
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