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Is 512MB VRAM crossfire ever enough?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 1, 2009 4:07:40 AM

Hello everyone. Before I begin asking questions, here is my current build:

Corsairs TX650
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 @ 2.8GHz
4 GB KVR800 Kingston Value Ram 800 MHz
Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3R
Gigabyte's Radeon 4850 512MB fitted with Zalman Heatsink Cooler
Monitor Resolution 1440x900
Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
Seagate 7200 500GB

Okay I guess that should be everything. Well now, the question is, playing at that resolution, I get low frame rates in some games like Far Cry 2, GTA4 and Crysis. Of course, no doubt HD4850 is a great card but my question is, is 512MB VRAM enough? I bought this card when it was in its "early adoption" phase, so I couldn't get my hands on the 1GB version. I am planning to upgrade to the following:

Monitor Resolution 1680x1050
Same PSU
AMD Phenom II x3 720
Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H (x8/x8 Crossfire)
Retain the RAM
Windows 7 64-bit (guess it should be out in Oct)
New (Same) HDD

The question for this build is, should I retain the 512 VRAM card and get another one for crossfire? Will this actually give me a "bottleneck" in terms of games performance? I wish to play everything maxed out or at least close to the max. As I understand, games are getting more and more demanding and "lagging" makes me feel dizzy especially in Far Cry 2.

The old rig will be given to my brother. I am planning to get him the new HD 4770 in crossfire. I have a spare Silverstone ST56F that he can use and I guess that should be plenty enough for 2x4770 or even 4850 in crossfire. My question is, should I retain the 4850 and add another 512MB 4850 in crossfire mode? Or should I give the 4850 to my brother and get a 4870 1GB (probably in crossfire too) for myself?
I also heard that there are some issues with 4850 crossfire where CCC is not able to recognize the second card. Some even had to revert back to 8.1 to get it working. So what do you guys think? Any recommendations to the build above?

More about : 512mb vram crossfire

May 1, 2009 7:14:06 AM

Dont see a problem with your rig as is. What do you mean by low frame rates ?

Mactronix
May 1, 2009 1:41:44 PM

at your resolution, 512 should be fine. If you want to move up to a 1920x1200 monitor, you'll want to up the video memory.
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May 1, 2009 2:54:05 PM

mactronix said:
Dont see a problem with your rig as is. What do you mean by low frame rates ?

Mactronix


Well, I usually get around 40ish FPS (shown by fraps). However, at some point, I get below 20 FPS. It is probably because there are many "units" around. For example, in Far Cry 2, when I enter the market area where it is heavily guarded, I tried attacking and all of a sudden, FPS started to drop from 30ish to lower than 20 (everyone starts moving towards me).

And to jeremy, are you sure that the VRAM doesn't really matter at 1680x1050? If so then I will proceed and save myself a few hundreds for drinks :wahoo: 
May 1, 2009 3:41:06 PM

Do you have the settings all at high ? or have you optimised the settings for best performance ?
Have you looked at this before http://www.tweakguides.com/Crysis_1.html
I have a 4770 with a E4600 @ 3.0 2gb ram. Screen res 1440x900 same as you. Im running XP so there will be some differance but most reviewing sites now agree that XP and Vista are very similar gaming wise.
Anyway i can run at mostly high with some effects i consider not really relevant turned down a bit and 4xAA with out getting slowdowns. Fraps says im maxing at 50 in quiet parts but im not going below 30 most times. 28 is the lowest i have seen.
Also i agree that 512 is enough at 1680x1050. But. How long do you want it to last for ? If the differance isnt to much i would get 1gb cards as it will help down the line.

Mactronix
May 1, 2009 3:56:28 PM

Yea that's what I was thinking too (the price diff). I will check that out when I'm free. Whether things will materialize will still depend on my bank :D . Hmm, well as for how long I want it to last for .... Since it is a good card (at least it still is now), I am hoping that it could go on for another 2-3 years? If 512MB is enough then I'll probably get myself a 4850 and get my bro 2 4770. Thanks for your help guys
!