I built a new PC a year ago and thanks to the generosity of Amazon I have 16gb of ram instead of the 8gb I purchased. Here is my current system:
Case: HAF 912 with two 120mm fans and two 200mm fans.
Processor: AMD FX 6100 3.3ghz (currently using stock heat sink, will upgrade to Hyper 212 to OC to 4.1 ghz when I return from Afghanistan.)
Mobo: MSI 970A-G46
RAM: 4 X 4gb Corsair Vengeance 1600mhz
PSU: OZ 750W 80PLUS Bronze
HDD: WD 1TB SATAIII 7200RPM with 32MB cache
GPU: XFX Radeon HD 6770
I want to upgrade my GPU and I am currently looking at the Radeon HD 7850 but I am torn between the 1gb and 2gb cards. When I return to school I will be using a triple monitor set up because I use SPSS regularly which has a God awful interface and doesn't lend itself well to being minimized or using the snap feature on Windows. This way I can have my data available on one window, the paper I'm typing up on another, and a third for my sources/facebook/watching HIMYM while I work. From everything I've read, running three 24" monitors at 1080P takes quite a bit of graphics processing, even if I'm not playing games. I imagine I will play some games, I already have Civ V installed on the system, but the last "action" game I played on the PC was BF2. Enough of the plot development though, I think that's enough to give some context to my question.
Do GPU's make use of system RAM or are they limited to their on-board RAM? 16gb is more than I need, 8gb was plenty hence why I bought that, so if all that RAM is sitting there unused, can the GPU use the system RAM when it's under more stress?