I am sure most of you are sick of the 1.5GB vs. 3GB questions but I just wanted your opinion on whether you think Skyrim will even utilize the 3GB on the MSI GTX 580 Lightning Xtreme card?
I am going to purchase a GTX 580 very soon, either the MSI Lightning edition or the Lightning Xtreme edition. I am purchasing the card to upgrade my GTX 275 in order to play Skyrim and Diablo 3 in the future. I am sure Diablo 3 won't use 3GB but I am worried about Skyrim, especially since I love to mod the Elder Scrolls games and a hi-resolution texture package is the basis for all of my mods.
I am running at 1920x1080 resolution with an i7-920 and 12GB of RAM.
1.5GB will be more than enough for you at 1920x1080 but if you can afford the 3GB then why not its better to have more than less and it does mean later on if you decide you want to use a higher resolution monitor you can do.
Either one will be fine, the 3GB is more expensive so you can save yourself some money and get the 1.5GB or you can spend a bit more and get the 3GB and have the option to play at a higher res in the future.
You may have your sights set on the MSI card but in looking at it it seems to me that the way fan/heatsinkn is set up it would blow heated air into the case and not so much out the rear of the case. I'm sure that it keeps the card cool but the inside of the case will be warmer because of it. The card that I listed is currently out of stock right now at Newegg but if you are not in a hurry then you could consider this card. It was just released from Evga a few weeks ago and is specificly designed to be aggressivly overclocked , you can clock this card to 1000mhz and beyond with the fan/heatsink that is on the card. Just something to consider.
If you stay with the MSI cards then the 3gb version is what I would get , but that's just me , I do like to have the the highest version of a card and who knows 3gb can come in handy. I have heard that with a 30" monitor and a resolution of 2560x1600 you need more than the 1.5gb of ram on the card or it's helpful to have more than 1.5gb , you may never get a 30" monitor but if you did you would be happy you have 3gb.
A 1.5GB is about 125 dollars cheaper. If you are on a budget, I can see someone purchasing the 1.5GB variant over the 3GB variant.
@Inzone - according to the Guru3D review of the GTX 580 Classified, heat is dumped into the case by some exhaust fins near the the SLi connectors. Albiet, less heat is dumped into the case with the eVGA card when compared to the MSI card.
Thanks for the advice guys, when I go to purchase the card I hope one of them is out of stock in order to make my decision easier but either eVGA or MSI card would be good.
I wouldn't take advice from anyone quoting the minimum and recommended setting on a game with mods as big as those found in ES games.
Don't be surprised if you see 16K texture mods coming, 8K in the shipping title is even likely. My recommendation would be to wait and see what the impact is (8K texture on Rage make a big difference 16K not so much). So I would recommend 'more than 1GB' for moders (since 8K drowns 1GB cards), but as for more than 1.5GB, that's still to be seen.
If your only concern is heat, there are ways to mitigate that, otherwise it's a balance of money for power... which is the way of these things.