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More system ram vs dedicated graphics

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 29, 2010 7:25:40 AM

I believe I understand that in general dedicated graphics yields better performance that the same system with integrated video, but how about if the system with integrated video has a lot more memory? For instance, which system would yield better performance: (1) System RAM=4GB; Video= dedicated 512MB, or (2) System RAM=8GB; Video=HD GMA?
a c 169 U Graphics card
July 29, 2010 7:44:01 AM

Memory isn't the only factor to judge the performance,there are lots of other features like the architecture of the VGA,core/memory clock,... etc.
For that comparison,it depends on the model of the dedicated VGA,what's its model ?
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a c 358 U Graphics card
July 29, 2010 7:55:53 AM

Generally integrated video cards are too slow to effectively use large amounts of system RAM (which is slow compared to video RAM).

The higher the resolution you play at the more RAM is necessary to store textures. The slower the video card is (and the GMA series is most certainly slow), the longer it takes to access all that extra RAM, the lower the performance.
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July 29, 2010 8:13:23 AM

Maziar said:
Memory isn't the only factor to judge the performance,there are lots of other features like the architecture of the VGA,core/memory clock,... etc.
For that comparison,it depends on the model of the dedicated VGA,what's its model ?


even if u load ur system with the fastest 24gb ddr3 kit, ur system will be slower than the one with a gfx. even if u campare a igp 10yrs down the line with a gfx from today, ull stll lag behind.

reason: vram is not the entire story. itis only needed when u go higher in resolution. but igp have very very limited number of shaders to be able to go at such high resolution, thereby never requiring a large vram :p 

a 512mb gt220 will crush any igp, specially an intel igp, any day in the next 10years to follow :) 
unless off couse there is some miracle in intels way :p 
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a c 169 U Graphics card
July 29, 2010 10:15:41 AM

But sometimes the discrete card is something like ATI HD 4350 which is although faster than Intel GMA HD,but none are recommended for gaming,so that's why i asked the exact model.
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July 29, 2010 5:19:28 PM

If you're doing something predominantly unrelated to graphics, then the more system ram will help more if you can get gains out of that ram (i.e. either the application can use that ram, or you can store your data on a RAMDisk for performance gains). However, if you start going for even things that are slightly graphics intensive, a dedicated card is far more useful (as long as the GPU is better than the onboard)
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July 29, 2010 6:30:12 PM

Maziar said:
But sometimes the discrete card is something like ATI HD 4350 which is although faster than Intel GMA HD,but none are recommended for gaming,so that's why i asked the exact model.


Thank you all for your responses. I do not have an exact model yet. It would be for whatever might be available nowadays for a new laptop I would purchase in the near future. I just wanted a general consensus, and I believe I got that from all of you in that generally, dedicated graphics provides better performance overall regardless of the amount of system memory availabe.....thank you all.

If I can ask one more question to this: What if my purpose were not necessarily for video/gaming, but only for use of heavy spreadsheets. Would a dedicated video card be overkill if the system's overall usage was mainly for heavy spreadsheets?

Thank you,
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Best solution

July 29, 2010 6:37:06 PM

Unless you're graphing anything from those spreadsheets, the RAM would probably be more beneficial (assuming you have a 64-bit OS and that your spreadsheeting application frequently can eat up 2GB of Virtual Memory by itself). Actually, if your spreadsheet application frequently takes up 2GB of VM and you're running Windows 7 x64 with 4GB of System RAM, the RAM will probably offer a rather nice performance boost.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
July 29, 2010 8:38:51 PM

mred said:
Thank you all for your responses. I do not have an exact model yet. It would be for whatever might be available nowadays for a new laptop I would purchase in the near future. I just wanted a general consensus, and I believe I got that from all of you in that generally, dedicated graphics provides better performance overall regardless of the amount of system memory availabe.....thank you all.

If I can ask one more question to this: What if my purpose were not necessarily for video/gaming, but only for use of heavy spreadsheets. Would a dedicated video card be overkill if the system's overall usage was mainly for heavy spreadsheets?

Thank you,

If its not for either gaming/video purposes,then an integrated card suffices.
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August 6, 2010 4:38:13 AM

Thank you all. I still wonder whether a dedicated graphics card would allow for a quicker rendering of the hundreds of cells my spreadsheets have, or should I be thinking only more RAM? Aren't the spreadsheet cells a bit of graphics?
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a b U Graphics card
August 6, 2010 5:53:21 AM

No, spreadsheet cells are more dependent on the CPU than GPU.
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a c 169 U Graphics card
August 6, 2010 9:44:43 AM

+1^
You won't see a noticeable difference between an IGP card and a discrete card for spreadsheets.
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August 16, 2010 8:36:00 PM

Best answer selected by mred.
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August 16, 2010 8:37:32 PM

To Mazair and all, thank you kindly for your responses..
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