Looking to upgrade from ATI 800xl to a 1950pro. My system has:
Core duo e6400, 2 Gigs of Kingston ram and
Asrock Dual Vsta motherboard.
The question is at what point does a 512 video card become critical when running games at 4x antialiasing , 8x Antrisopic and 1280x 1024 resoultion.
Very, very few games could really benefit from using a 512MB graphics card; most, even with the highest settings and AF, (AF tends to have a bigger impact on VRAM usage than resolution/AA) you won't really pass 256MB of video RAM usage. In the few cases where it occasionally goes a bit over 256MB, the bit that's stored in the main system RAM, and shuffled back to the video card, is generally of little enough significance to bring any meaningful penalty to performance.
One game that DOES seem to have an effect, though, is Oblivion; at high textures and x8 AF, it will actually pass 256MB of video RAM used, but even then, won't really have much of a performance penalty. What REALLY makes a difference, though, is once you start piling on all those texture-replacement and other quality-enhancement mods; for those cards that support it, there are, for instance, LOD-texture replacements that are at 4096x4096 instead of the stock 1024x1024. Plus, the game, by default, uses low-resolution normal-maps on most surfaces, (resulting in things like "JPEG'd" faces) and there are mods that replace those. Once you pile them on, it's actually possible to even break the limits of a 512MB card, making a larger buffer such as found on the GeForce 8800 series kinda necessary. (and in turn, I think it's possible to exceed the 768MB VRAM of the 8800GTX...)
Sadly, there are no benchmarks availible for this, as all Oblivion benchmarks do NOT use mods or tweaks, and most of them don't even put the settings at 100%. (yes, that's right; most high-end cards won't be able to get 60fps at 100% settings at 1280x1024+ in that game)
Well, my only regret with my computer, is that i cheaped out and got a 265mb card, sure it performs the same, but new games (read: Company of Heroes) need the extra mem to have full quality textures (without glitching), and the full quality textures look so nice in company of heroes, CoD2 i think can also go over 256
You bassurdz playing Oblivion with your 512MB and Texture mods... I have texture mods a whole CD of Morrowind mods, so take that... you Ba$$turds, make me jealous, Ba$$.... Ah forget it! I go play Hi-Res Pong and show you!
BTW, johndw, I think you already got a good solid collection of answers that should help you determine if it's worth the pennies to you, that's why I regrettably spam your thread to chide the Ba$$turdz!! :twisted:
Hell i run oblivion at 1920x1200 with alot of those mods mentioned with all settins cranked to max and i get between 40 and 60 frames 90% of the time i play. sometimes it slips under but vary rarely. with out alot of these mods though i dont see what the fuss is over the graphcis in that game. I found it pretty dissapointing after all that was said about it.
on the note of graphic quality in a game, of any consumer game for that matter... i personally feel that they are just sub par 2D graphics (cartoonish in most respects), i mean... they are 2D... but, with the eventual inclusion of something, like ray tracing even, hopefully (which i dont know much about at all TBH)... well eventually see quality akin to standard analog TV, which only runs at 640x480 res even, and is only 2D as well, but has much higher visual quality and realism than anything were getting in any current game (and then moving beyond that, eventually, when we have enough processing power to render in realtime and such) [/rant]
One point i'd like to add is I'm running a P4 3.0Ghz, 6600gt 256Mb AGP and 2Gb DDR400. I set the arpeture size in BIOS to 256Mb I can play Doom3 in ultra settings which uses 512Mb video memory and I don't seem to really lose any performance. It runs remarkably well although I don't use aa or af. However I think with new games on the horizon such as Crysis etc they are going to start to take advantage of the faster memory speeds on the cards so my advise is 256Mb is fine at the moment but if you're looking at buying a new video card now go for 512Mb unless you're super rich and can afford the DX10 with 646Mb+.
For anyone that doesn't know the arpeture size only allocates video memory when it is called to do so, so it won't just take a chunk of your system ram by default it will only use system RAM up until your video card's memory has been used up.