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How important is VRAM for single card setup

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 11, 2012 12:12:52 PM

I'm thinking of getting a GTX 670 to replace my current (broken) gpu. How much difference does VRAM make? Is it worth getting/waiting for a 4GB version or would the 2GB version be more than sufficient.

Planning on playing BF3, Skyrim, D3 (when out) ..., in single card setup, currently at 1680x1050 but hopefully upgrading to 2560x1440.
May 11, 2012 12:21:45 PM

Only worth getting more than 2GB if you plan to SLI or play at resolutions even higher than 2560x1440.

For a single card at any of the resolutions you mentioned, 2GB is plenty.
a b U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 12:29:27 PM

+1

2Gb is more than enough for single monitor resolutions.
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May 11, 2012 12:42:31 PM

You can't go wrong with the 7950 (3 GB) If video memory ever was a concern on a single setup, this would outlast the other likely. Both this and the 670 would be worth getting, depending on the outlook.
May 11, 2012 12:52:25 PM

^^ The only issue is that you need to put a fairly heavy OC on the 7950 to make it a good deal, and some people don't really want to do that.

I also think that for a single card, by the time games really need more than 2GB vram at single monitor resolutions, a single card (even GTX 670/680) won't be powerful enough for it to matter. This is especially true for OP's current resolution of 1680x1050

The only scenario right now that I think 2GB vram is a limitation on is Skyrim with 150-200+ mods installed (1080p), which can chew up almost any amount of vram that you give it. 3GB doesn't solve that either - I dunno how much vram Skyrim could eat up with that many mods but I'm guessing it's at least 4GB+. It will play OK on 2GB vram just probably have a tiny bit of texture load stuttering from time to time.
a b U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 3:26:37 PM

BigMack70 said:
^^ The only issue is that you need to put a fairly heavy OC on the 7950 to make it a good deal, and some people don't really want to do that.

I also think that for a single card, by the time games really need more than 2GB vram at single monitor resolutions, a single card (even GTX 670/680) won't be powerful enough for it to matter. This is especially true for OP's current resolution of 1680x1050

The only scenario right now that I think 2GB vram is a limitation on is Skyrim with 150-200+ mods installed (1080p), which can chew up almost any amount of vram that you give it. 3GB doesn't solve that either - I dunno how much vram Skyrim could eat up with that many mods but I'm guessing it's at least 4GB+. It will play OK on 2GB vram just probably have a tiny bit of texture load stuttering from time to time.


This is not related to OP but how did you get your 7970's to 1200MHz? MSI afterburner is locked at 1125/1575, as you know. I wouldn't mind doing a few benchmarks at max OC. My 3Dmark11 single card is X3254 and crossfire is X6173. I know I can do better without frying these bad boys like I did that 6990 I RMA'd last month.
May 11, 2012 3:32:57 PM

I think Catalyst 12.4 changed the overclocking limits to 1300/1600, right?

Anyways, even pre-CCC 12.4, the Lightning cards come with those OC limits on the stock BIOS. On the unlocked BIOS I currently have 1700/2500 limit in afterburner which obviously is way more than enough for air overclocking.

A big part of the reason I went with 2 Lightnings over 2 XFX cards was that, with the Lightnings, I didn't have to worry about doing any sort of unofficial overclocking to get them higher than 1125/1575.

If you want to run Afterburner with an unofficial overclock (i.e., higher than 1125/1575 on pre-12.4 drivers), just change the target line to "C:\Program Files (x86)\MSI Afterburner\MSIAfterburner.exe" /xcl. Run that once and then get rid of the /xcl part. (Obviously if your directory isn't the same then just use whatever your install path is.)

I also think that you need the newest version of AB to do that - you have to do a workaround in any of the 2.20 beta versions to get unofficial overclocking to work post-CCC 12.2.
a b U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 3:43:59 PM

I didn't notice if 12.4 changed the OC limits. When I did a fresh windows install on my RAID 0 setup I used 12.4 which did not show as 12.4 in the information of CCC. Since then I had been trying to troubleshoot a MassEffect 3 issue so I ended up installing 12.1,12.2,12.3 and now when I try to install 12.4, it keeps showing as 12.3 in CCC which looks to be a common problem. I will give that fix a try when I get home. I would have liked the Lightenings over the XFX DD but newegg was sold out. I do like the lifetime warranty with the XFX DD.
a c 216 U Graphics card
May 11, 2012 4:01:19 PM

alrobichaud said:
This is not related to OP but how did you get your 7970's to 1200MHz? MSI afterburner is locked at 1125/1575, as you know. I wouldn't mind doing a few benchmarks at max OC. My 3Dmark11 single card is X3254 and crossfire is X6173. I know I can do better without frying these bad boys like I did that 6990 I RMA'd last month.


MSI AB defaults with the clocks locked at the AMD's bios OC limits, but you can unlock MSI AB in a config file.

It turns out, if you don't have any of your older AMD drivers installed, it's a little more complicated, as they don't supply a couple needed .dll files needed anymore. Here is a post with a method to unlock the limits: http://forums.guru3d.com/showthread.php?t=359671
May 11, 2012 5:00:00 PM

Tolk, getting back to your question, I'm using a Pny 680 GTX with 2gig Vram to power 3 24" 1920x1080 monitors for a combined resolution of 5760 x 1080. It works FINE! Unless you have a very specific program and you are running multiple monitors at high resolution 2 g should do it. I played BF3 with the settings on high with the 680 and it was smooth as silk.

Be careful of all of the "experts". When they say more than 2g Vram are they running multiple monitors? If so, I place some faith in their opinion.
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