Radeon 4870 1gb vs 512mb with 3gb triple channel sys memory

I am researching at the moment as to whether to buy a 1gb or 512mb graphics card, considering that I intend to have 3x1gb memory modules for triple channel memory. I will be running Windows XP 32bit (current OS) which means I'll be limited to 4gb total memory allocation.

I am trying to find out more info so I can calculate how much system memory will be left after a 1gb card (I think approx 2.5 to 3gb). Of course, if this is the case, is anyone experienced in knowing how this will affect the triple channel memory? I assume it'll have no speed effect other than the fact that you won't be able to use all the system memory because the final module will not be allowed some memory allocation by the OS.

If the triple channel memory will still operate normally, think i'll just go for a 1gb graphics card, because I know that games are likely to go up in requirements and go to 512mb card required... then 1gb in future!

I don't upgrade much so i might as well buy the HD 4870 with 1gb... ? (it's only an extra £6 approx!!)
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More about radeon 4870 512mb triple channel memory
  1. I would spend a little extra and get the 4890 1GB
  2. The System RAM will work fine.

    It's nearly impossible to find a benefit with more than 512MB for an HD4870 or lower performing card. I've seen tonnes of benchmarks. You really only need it if you have a high-end SLI or Crossfire configuration and are playing at 1920x1200 or higher.

    I'd stick with 512MB.

    Games may go up in requirement but PROCESSING POWER must be balanced with Video RAM on your graphics card. Your card may be able to buffer 1GB of video data but if it can't process it fast enough it doesn't matter and that's what happens on a card like this, you take it to a high screen resolution, up the texture quality and your frame rates drop to unplayable levels.

    I'm not sure why you would be installing XP in a presumably X58 system with a Core i7 CPU. I guess you have a FULL (non-OEM) version that you can transfer.

    - 3x1GB
    - 512MB video card (1GB if you have a high-end CPU and intend to Crossfire your HD4870 later)
    - Windows 7 RC x64 (can get it for free and use it until march 2010)
  3. hmm Thanks photonboy for the detailed response.

    To answer the first question in the thread - i only intend to play the odd game now and again (every few weeks, few times prob) and HD video, so I have no need to spend an extra £50+ on top of the already £125, just so I can have the fastest card. Plus, I know that if you spend money on THE fastest card, the newer fastest card will come out, and you will have paid a premium for nothing (except for knowing that you owned the fastest card for a little while?).

    Furthermore directx 11 will come out later in the year, so the most expensive card won't be worth so much then.

    I shall be running apps/games at 1440x900, no higher as limited by my monitor, which I am happy with (19" wide).

    To respond to Photonboy, I have the full Windows XP retail edition which I can transfer onto the upgraded computer. Prior to seeing your reply, I had just actually started downloading Windows 7 64bit (i already have 32) RC, so that I can try a 64bit OS on a dual boot setup.

    I will not be running games at high res, and I won't be using crossfire (dual cards). I'm looking at the Intel Core i7 920 CPU, so it'll be the low, of the high end CPUs (at the current market).

    I suppose considering that I will not be gaming all of the time, I may as well look at the benchmarks of the 512mb cards, and go for one of those, and if I find in future I'd like a faster card with more memory, buy another one then. Afterall, by the time I might require 1gb video ram for a new game, i'm probably going to need the latest GPU anyway!

    Many thanks, you've left me some things to think about!
  4. I would also say get the 512 Mb card, it's really a good card and as a 'casual' gamer I think you'll find the performance more than acceptable.
    It's also getting cheap:


    And a 64 bit OS is really a must;)
  5. Hmm thanks, you have a good point. Quite a bit cheaper now for this 512mb card. Also.. I see these are on savastore. The Sapphire card seems to be more expensive, yet according to their site, the memory on the XFX is a lot faster! In that case, I think the XFX seems like a better deal....
  6. Go with the 1gb card if its close to the 512mb price. I have a 4850 1 gb and I'm glad I got it because I can play GTA4 with textures on high along with other things. I'm currently using the gig of memory. Other future games will also start requiring more than 512mb's of memory to have textures cranked up. I have 4gig system mem on vista and vista sees 3.3 gb of it even with the 1gb vcard. THis is because vista uses PAE or physical address extension with allows vista to use MORE than 4gb of mem. However Microsoft decided to put a software limit on system memory to push the adoption of 64bit OS. even though it is not necessary due to PAE.
  7. I agree with coozie7, there really is no point in using a 32-bit operating system anymore.
  8. Thanks for your input. As mentioned earlier, I already have a Windows XP 32bit Retail OS which I can transfer onto the new hardware, so for the moment to save cost, I shall use a multiboot system on the new computer, with Windows XP + Windows 7 RC1 64bit.

    Security bit of a concern on Windows 7 but then it'll only last 5 months or so. I'm a technical person and I've been running Windows 7 32bit since beta and RC1. I'll more than likely go to Windows 7 when games start to require such a spec, or until I feel like it's worth the extra money. Obviously having security patches for XP until 2012 (from memory that was the date approx), I may well put the upgrade to the new OS off until as long as practically possible.

    Games I suppose will stay with 32bit for quite some time, but games will move on with Direct X!!


    I went for the HD4870 512mb. To be honest, in the past upgrades I would have bought the very mid range card, I presume something like the HD4850 at £60-80 or something like that? I haven't even looked this time!

    Having spent a tiny bit more, nearer the £100, I'm happy with that, and in future I'll probably have to buy a new card because a new type of chip (required) will come out, at which point i'll buy one with more memory. I currently run an old 256mb x700 (i think they were ddr2.. maybe just ddr), so its more than that!

    I've always accepted that I'll need to run games at the mid-high textures if running on a card which isn't designed to be the top of the range. Doesn't bother me that much considering that I'll only play a game now and again.

    This thread could now be closed now, thanks.
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