At the moment it doesn't make much sense to buy the 1Gb versions of these graphics cards, because the performance increase in most programmes/games would be negligible. However, I 'm not planning on buying another card for some time at least...would it make more sense to buy the 1Gb version? In a year's time I think it's quite likely that some games would require that amount of memory...would there be an advantage if that were to occur?
The main advantage of have a 1Gb memory is to allow for greater resolutions 1920x1200 etc... Otherwise for any resolution lower it's a waste of your money, unless you can get hold of it for the same price as a 512mb version.
It's not exactly future proofing unless you intend to upgrade your screen in the near future.
I think unless you are gaming at huge resolutions the 1gb versions of those cards won't make much of a difference for the extra cost involved. I can't remember the review I read but it showed very little difference between 512mb and 1gb versions of the older 3870, I doubt much has changed.
I don't think the 8800gt is fast enough to use 1gb of VRAM (lacks processing power). Google 8800gt 512mb vs 1gb...it was only gaining like a single frame at 1900x1200. In fact, at lower resolutions the 1gb card is slower due to increased memory latency? http://en.expreview.com/2007/12/30/review8800gt-how-man...
The 4850 would benefit with the additional 512mb in my opinion, since it's significantly faster than the 8800gt/gts/gtx, especially with AA/AF cranked up at higher resolutions.
Thanks for the answers...you're right, I 'll first have to decide on what monitor I 'm going to use. I think I 'll go for the 1Gb 4850 (the 8800GTX which is an inferior card had 768mb as standard, so I guess the 4850 would probably benefit from more than 512mb)...
Well 1GB would also be useful for very large Textures, like Id plans on using in their future games, and also for buffers and GPGPU-aware games/apps.
Overall though I'd say the featurs of an HD4850-512MB would outweigth the memory benefits of a GF8800GT-1GB.
There are some limitations for resolution and AA, but any talk of 'futureproofing' or more aptly future-looking would be where these cards are not playing 2560x1600 with 4XAA but more reasonable settings and so the efficiencies and features would be more important.
IMO a 1GB HD4850 makes alot more sense than a 1GB 8800GT. But I wouldn't pay more than $50 for the extra memory, because it would make more sense to simply save that premium and re-buy later when the HD4850 might possible get held back due to VRAM size. But if the premium is small and you're looking long term, sure get the 1GB.