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Gaming at 1920x1200 resolution, get 1gb or 2gb card?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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October 10, 2011 3:33:09 PM

hello all I am looking to get a new graphics card and had a questions for the gurus out there. Like a lot of people out there, I am looking forward to playing BF3 and Skyrim on my new PC. I have a 28" monitor and hope to max out the resolution while playing games at 1920x1200. Should I get a 1gb card or a 2gb card? Will the 2gb card be worth the extra money at the higher resolution?

Cards I have been considering:

the 2 gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

vs

the 1gb

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Also I have been thinking of buying two so I can use crossfire, dont know if that will matter for this discussion or not.

Thanks for the help!
a c 106 U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 3:43:55 PM

Honestly not too many games will make use of the extra RAM. The case may be different if you want to use eyefinity but even then 1GB is often enough. Even so I would get the 2GB cards simply because games always want more resources so it can only be beneficial in the future.
a b U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 3:47:05 PM

Fair warning - if its anything like other Bethesda games when you do hit the 1GB limit it doesn't just stay at more or less the same FPS - it drops into the single digits and turns into a slide show. If your CPU is strong enough to help you max all in game settings I'd buy a 2GB card (and I did).
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October 10, 2011 3:47:34 PM

Thank you for the quick replies. I think that I will just pick up a couple 6870s and use crossfire for them. I just wanted to make sure that 1GB will be enough for gaming at a higher resolution and it sounds like I should be okay. Just want to make sure that I will be able to play skyrim with all the bells and whistles =P

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a c 212 U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 3:50:42 PM
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Monitor size is irrelevant. At 2560 1600, you'd benefit from 2GB, not at 1920 x 1200

Guru3D uses the following games in their test suite, COD-MW, Bad Company 2, Dirt 2, Far Cry 2, Metro 2033, Dawn of Discovery, Crysis Warhead. Total fps (summing fps in each game @ 1920 x 1200) for the various options in parenthesis (single card / SL or CF) are tabulated below along with their cost in dollars per frame single card - CF or SLI:

$ 170.00 6870 (434/701) $ 0.39 - $ 0.49
$ 210.00 6950 (479/751) $ 0.44 - $ 0.56
$ 260.00 6950 Frozr OC (484/759) $ 0.54 - $ 0.69
$ 205.00 560 Ti (455/792) $ 0.45 - $ 0.52
$ 360.00 6970 (526/825) $ 0.68 - $ 0.87
$ 205.00 560 Ti - 900 Mhz (495/862) $ 0.41 - $ 0.48

That means the 6870 does 434 fps w/ a single card costing 39 cents per frame and 701 fps in CF costing 49 cents per frame.

Closest competitor value wise is 560 Ti 900Mhz which does 495 fps w/ a single card costing 41 cents per frame and 862 fps in SLI costing 48 cents per frame.


October 10, 2011 3:50:55 PM

@jeffredo Yea I was running an 8800 gts with 640mb with oblivion and it was always choppy when outside.... Maybe I should just splurge and get the larger memory just to be safe.
a b U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 3:51:27 PM

Quote:

in addition, the 2GB 6870 u linked is massively overpriced for the GPU.
can get a 6950 at that price


Check Newegg. At the moment the cheapest HD 6950 2GB is $40 more than the HD 6870 the OP linked and $60 more after rebates are figured in. That's pretty substantial.
a b U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 4:07:02 PM

Ok here i belive (im not 100% sure) that people are mistaking a few things.

On 1 side we have the Resolution, then we have the AA technology used and finally we have the Textures.

All those will define how much ram your video card needs in NON-Crossfire/SLI.
In other words, SLI/Crossfire does NOT add up the ram.

So for 1900x1200 or less, assuming you use todays AA systems (FXAA or MLAA), 1 GB is hangin in there for heavy textured games. It means its close to its limit.

HOWEVER: The games that will run slow (lets say Metro 2033, batlefield 3, skyrim, ETC) will do so before your GPu needs more speed rather than more ram.
In other words: IF an SLI configuration has a decent boost in a game, that game does not have enought textures at the current resolution to require more RAM.

A clear example of this can be found a hardwareheave.com or hardocp.com
Those sites test games in eyefinity many times and you see there what is and what is not bottlenecked by ram.

I hope this will give you a general idea.

As a final note, if you have heard some of the stuff surrounding the game RAGE from ID, that is supposed to have up to 8k independant textures, it runs really really smooth on my 560 Ti with 1900x1080, but its clear the engine is good, but weak.
October 10, 2011 4:08:45 PM

@JackNaylorPE Thanks for the breakdown info. Looks like Im going 6870x2 with the 1gb cards. There are a lot of mail in rebates going on this week at newegg.com for the 6870 cards so ill jump on them while they are still good. Thanks everyone for the help!
a b U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 4:14:20 PM

Good luck with your card! :D 
October 10, 2011 4:18:08 PM

@cats_paw Thanks! Now I just have to wait for bulldozer and for Skyrim!
a b U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 4:57:49 PM

If you're on a single monitor, more VRAM doesn't matter. It's only when you do eyefinity that it matters.
a c 355 U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 5:35:48 PM

The only game that I've played at 1920x1200 resolution that could benefit from more than 1GB of VRAM is GTA 4.

Then again, GTA 4 is not optimized for the PC.
a c 355 U Graphics card
October 10, 2011 6:06:42 PM

Maxing out object viewing distance would be nice though. I think it is currently at 43 which is halfway between minimum and maximum.
October 20, 2011 12:02:21 AM

Best answer selected by theone001.
a c 271 U Graphics card
February 25, 2012 6:03:29 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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