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4GB Vram wasted on Nvidia GPUs - what about PS4?

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September 9, 2013 9:54:57 PM

hi, I built a new PC about a month ago and have a GTX680 with 2GB. The performance of this card is awesome, great o/c capability and low power consumption.
The last few days I've been considering SLI, but have been increasingly concerned about my 2GB Vram limit and how it may not be good for future games, even at 1080p. This is particularly appararent after the release of the BF4 recommended specs mentioning a 3GB requirement.
http://au.ign.com/wikis/battlefield-4/PC_System_Require...

Ironically, both the AMD and Nvidia cards they also recommend, only have 2GB!! I bet also that AMD paid $$$ for them to state 3GB, as the HD7950 and HD7970 have 3GB whereas most Nvidia cards have only 2GB.

I considered switching to AMD graphics, but don't like the historical issues that have been associated with AMD, particularly crossfire, and the generally higher power consumption, although I do like the greater freedom to overclock. I prefer to stick with Nvidia, particularly for SLI in the future.

I've been looking at 4GB Nvidia cards; 760, 670, 680, 770, but everything I've read says 4GB is wasted on the Nvidia cards because of the 256bit bus (192-224GB/s). It only supports 2GB. 4GB is incorporated by sharing the bus between RAM modules, thus affecting performance. 384 bit (264GB/s) is required for 3GB as with the AMD cards.

However, what about the PS4? It has up to 8GB Vram, although probably 6-7GB after o/s etc, yet only has a 176GB/s memory bandwidth. It also has half the performance of a GTX680. How can the PS4 utilise 7GB of Vram with such a low memory bandwidth and perofrmance, when the GTX 680 and 770 are said not to be able to?
a b Î Nvidia
a b À AMD
September 9, 2013 9:58:46 PM

The PS4 will have nothing like 7GB available for VRAM. Think more like 3-4GB at most.

You forget that the game uses memory other than VRAM too - or you would be gaming on 1GB DDR3, because that's enough for Windows.
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September 9, 2013 10:06:26 PM

leeb2013 said:

I considered switching to AMD graphics, but don't like the historical issues that have been associated with AMD, particularly crossfire, and the generally higher power consumption, although I do like the greater freedom to overclock. I prefer to stick with Nvidia, particularly for SLI in the future.


I've switched between AMD and nVidia almost every other graphics card upgrade, and I'd have to say I've had less problems with AMD, which is why I am going for a second in a row this time around. Besides the crossfire issues (which I've never experienced, since I only go single GPU) AMD drivers have been very stable.

As for power consumption, what are you basing that off of? Lately AMD has been pretty much on par with nVidia there too.

As far as the 3GB requirement for BF4.. that's not a requirement, it is the recommended specification, most likely for high-ultra settings. There has been talk since before E3 that Frostbite 3 would take advantage of more VRAM than any other games to date, so it is not surprising.
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September 9, 2013 10:50:21 PM

Someone Somewhere said:
The PS4 will have nothing like 7GB available for VRAM. Think more like 3-4GB at most.

You forget that the game uses memory other than VRAM too - or you would be gaming on 1GB DDR3, because that's enough for Windows.


I was thinking Windows 7 takes 1.5GB, but forgot about the game itself. So yes, I guess about 3-4GB used for the game/OS and 4GB left over.

Even so, that's still 4GB Vram, so my question still applies.
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September 9, 2013 10:58:53 PM

blader15sk8 said:
leeb2013 said:

I considered switching to AMD graphics, but don't like the historical issues that have been associated with AMD, particularly crossfire, and the generally higher power consumption, although I do like the greater freedom to overclock. I prefer to stick with Nvidia, particularly for SLI in the future.


I've switched between AMD and nVidia almost every other graphics card upgrade, and I'd have to say I've had less problems with AMD, which is why I am going for a second in a row this time around. Besides the crossfire issues (which I've never experienced, since I only go single GPU) AMD drivers have been very stable.

As for power consumption, what are you basing that off of? Lately AMD has been pretty much on par with nVidia there too.

As far as the 3GB requirement for BF4.. that's not a requirement, it is the recommended specification, most likely for high-ultra settings. There has been talk since before E3 that Frostbite 3 would take advantage of more VRAM than any other games to date, so it is not surprising.


It's just a feeling I get from reading countless reviews (so many my mind is going numb), that AMD GPUs are generally a bit warmer and power hungry. Don't get me wrong, I'm not pro AMD or Nvidia, I only spend my money on what I think performs best for the money. That's why I had such a hard time choosing (2 months of daily research and even now after 1 month with an excellent GTX680, I'm still wondering "what if...."). It's the same with the CPU, I chose a 3570k, performs and overclocks like a demon. I've always built with AMD for the past 10 years. Now I'm thinking "8-cores AMD?"

Anyhow, my real question was regarding the general concensus that the limited bandwidth on Nvidia cards (and somewhat limited single card performance) makes 4GB useless (unless using dual/tri SLI) when the PS4 GPU with significantly less performance and less bandwidth is ok with 4GB'ish.

As a side comment AMD certainly make good financial sense with the 7950 and 7970, 384 bit bus and 3GB. Far cheaper than the equivalent 4GB Nvidia cards. I'm waiting to see what new cards come out with BF4 deals. But I'm still considering 4GB Nvidia cards if the memory bandwidth thing isn't really an issue.
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a b Î Nvidia
a b À AMD
September 9, 2013 11:04:34 PM

I don't think it's so much the memory bandwidth as much as there being no need for more than 2GB VRAM - so it's not worth spending the extra on the 4GB cards.
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September 9, 2013 11:46:58 PM

Someone Somewhere said:
I don't think it's so much the memory bandwidth as much as there being no need for more than 2GB VRAM - so it's not worth spending the extra on the 4GB cards.


I'm hoping this is true as I'd like to keep my GTX 680, but the trend for Vram is going upwards; Crysis 3 max settings SMAA x2 uses 1.8GB, consoles having up to 4GB free Vram, BF4 recommending 3GB.......

That said, the BF4 alpha tests showed 30-40fps for the 680 on VHQ settings and MSAA 4x (I'm guessing with 2GB cards as they didn't mention 4GB). I'd only get around 40fps in Crysis 3 with MSAA 4x, so hopefully with SMAA and some Nvidia driver optimisation for the release, plus with my bios reflashed to within spitting distance of a 770, I should still get 40-50fps.
http://www.bf4blog.com/battlefield-4-alpha-gpu-and-cpu-...

Interesting from those bench marks that the 680 and 770 did well compared to 7970, despite suposedly being optimised for AMD from the start.
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September 10, 2013 10:56:36 AM

Just a quick note, the bandwidth of the memory bus isn't dependent on just the width, but the clock speed too. Get a card with a good cooler and you will most likely be able to overclock the memory pretty well, alleviating some of the bandwidth issues required to utilize more memory.

As for the benchmarks, BF3 favored nVidia by a decent margin, so I would guess that the "optimized for AMD" marketing is just the fact that it is finally as optimized as it was for nVidia with the transition from Frostbite 2 to Frostbite 3. I can't see them going backwards for nVidia with a newer version of their game engine.
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October 8, 2013 2:44:50 PM

just a quick update: I actually sold the 680 and got two HD 7950s ICEQ, which are awesome with a fantastic cooler.

Although Crysis 3 only used about 2GB of VRAM on the 680, it now uses 3GB VRAM on the 7950s. So it seems that this game at least, just uses as much as you've got!
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