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Graphics card memory counted towards OS total?

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June 26, 2009 1:12:33 AM

Does the graphics card memory count towards the OS total? I currently run 3gb of ram on 32bit XP and i know that the max s around 3.5gb. My vid card has 256MB atm and i wanna upgrade. I am deciding between 512MB and 1gb, will the extra ram on the 1gb be wasted?
a b U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 1:15:35 AM

32bit OS has 4 gig of address space. io devices, and add on cards (gpu) all count. Though I'm not sure if windows will stop adding in GPU memory and run out of ram and crash, or cap out and leave enough to run (i.e if you tried to put quadfire 4870 1gig in a system on a 32 bit machine)
June 26, 2009 1:18:27 AM

hopar said:
Does the graphics card memory count towards the OS total? I currently run 3gb of ram on 32bit XP and i know that the max s around 3.5gb. My vid card has 256MB atm and i wanna upgrade. I am deciding between 512MB and 1gb, will the extra ram on the 1gb be wasted?


So, where does that leave me? is 512mb the max for me or can i safely go for 1gb w/o wasting most it?
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a b U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 1:23:55 AM

assuming you have 3gig you could safely have a 512 card and still have all your ram (most of it) available. you would not want to use a 1gig unless you upgraded to a 64bit OS.
a c 235 U Graphics card
a b } Memory
June 26, 2009 1:25:23 AM

hopar said:
So, where does that leave me? is 512mb the max for me or can i safely go for 1gb w/o wasting most it?


graphic memory is separate from computer memory

the card itself will depend if it can use 256mb, 512mb, 1GB. faster cards can access more memory while slower cards have little use for it since they cant access the larger cache of memory fast enough.

a b U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 1:26:19 AM

ct1615 said:
graphic memory is separate from computer memory

the card itself will depend if it can use 256mb, 512mb, 1GB. faster cards can access more memory while slower cards have little use for it since they cant access the larger cache of memory fast enough.


That is entirely false and not at all what he asked.

GPU memory certainly does take up address space, a 32 bit OS only has 4gig to go around.
June 26, 2009 1:26:38 AM

thank you, that is what i need to hear.

As far the actual upgrade, i currently run a geforce 8800GT 256MB, and i am looking to get a geforce 250 512MB. Is it a worthy upgrade? Does ati have something better? I have mostly stuck to Nvidia for the past few years so don't know how ATI compares.
a c 235 U Graphics card
a b } Memory
June 26, 2009 1:34:48 AM

daedalus685 said:
That is entirely false and not at all what he asked.

GPU memory certainly does take up address space, a 32 bit OS only has 4gig to go around.


your right, I missed his first question entirely and just saw his last line...Ill have my eyes checked
a b U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 3:52:38 AM

daedalus685 said:
That is entirely false and not at all what he asked.

GPU memory certainly does take up address space, a 32 bit OS only has 4gig to go around.


And YOU are Misleading the OP too !! :non: 

The address space eaten up by VRAM is not 1:1.

The amount of space taken up by a card's VRAM is much less than that on the card itself and the IHVs further limit it to usually around 256MB, and with PCIe it is similar to the aperture size in AGP, but PCIe act a little differently, and floats dynamically depending on resource needs in Direct3D. Also remember not all VRAM space is mapped onto the system some is for local buffers on the card itself.

Now, in Vista (which the OP doesn't have) the situation is even better where WDDM manages this level and also has the ability not to map resources not associated with the CPU and usually keep the limit around 256MB.

To the OP, don't worry about 1GB bs 512 MB for address space, worry about it for value for dollar. Unless you are using high resolutions or high levels of AA or some GPGPU apps, you likely won't see much benefit from a 1GB card so just save your money.

4GB RAM + XP64 + 1GB 4850 to run crysis @ 1280x1024 with 4XAA isn't going to be different from 3.2GB RAM + XP32 + 512MB 4850.
a b U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 4:02:01 AM

hopar said:

As far the actual upgrade, i currently run a geforce 8800GT 256MB, and i am looking to get a geforce 250 512MB. Is it a worthy upgrade? Does ati have something better? I have mostly stuck to Nvidia for the past few years so don't know how ATI compares.


Actually more important than the memory in that is the kind of GPU involved, the GTS250 is not much of an upgrade.
It is better, but if you're paying full price it's not really worth it.

It's not going to open up games that the GF8800GT couldn't play, and would only add a few resolutions or AA settings, all of which would be affected on card, more than in system so for those rare cases 1GB would be better, but still not worth it IMO.

I would say wait for the new ATi cards to come out, not so you can buy ATi, but so you can even buy cheaper nV cards at the time when the new cards will push all existing cards down the price list.

A GTX260 or better would be the only thing to make a noticeable difference, and at this point in time I wouldn't bother with that upgrade you're looking at.
June 26, 2009 8:01:20 AM

I reead good think about the 260 cards, but they are f'in bricks and eat up tons of power and generate just as much heat :(  I hear ATI is better on that front?
a b U Graphics card
June 26, 2009 12:23:55 PM

Both create heat, but the point being performance needs to be 260 or better.

And really the ATi cards are little/no better, and on the power front the GTX260 isn't really that bad and is little different from the GTS250. Performance takes power it's inescapable, but you get performance with that power. You could get equal performance and better power characteristics out of an HD4770, but it's still not a worthy 'upgrade'.

And once again, wait, nV will come out with more gear this fall to at least water-down the ATi launch (launching a mediocre product still steals some PR from a better product [ATi did the same with an X1950 update during the G80 launch]).

There's little point in upgrading now.
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