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Is VRAM Just Eye Candy?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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May 22, 2012 4:29:45 AM

So I've come across the dilemma where I can have a GTX 680 2GB now, or wait and get a 4GB 670/680 later. Along with this waiting comes massive complications that I need not name. The point I want to ask is if VRAM is really eye candy, or is it worth it?

If I have 2GB VRAM and it used some of my regular RAM, would it be a noticeable performance dip? I have 16GB regular RAM and I am sure that I don't use all 16GB at any point while using my computer.

If I always have 2-4GB free RAM on my computer at any given point, and my GPU starts to use it, is it THAT noticeable?

In my hopes of researching, I want to hear that so long as the regular RAM is available, it's not that much of a difference and that the extra 2GB VRAM wouldn't be that much of a difference.

Any percentages would be greatly appreciated.


Also, I need answers ASAP, as I'm trying to get this card before my birthday, (23rd).

More about : vram eye candy

May 22, 2012 4:39:25 AM

How many monitors are you running? What resolution?

- Jake
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May 22, 2012 4:40:49 AM

yougotjaked said:
How many monitors are you running? What resolution?

- Jake


I have 1 monitor at 1920x1080 and a second at 1440x900 which I don't use for gaming.

I'd like to go ahead and see the answer for a setup of 3 monitors at 1920x1080 as well, since that's another common setup.
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May 22, 2012 4:55:32 AM

xxbobbyfinxx said:
I have 1 monitor at 1920x1080 and a second at 1440x900 which I don't use for gaming.

I'd like to go ahead and see the answer for a setup of 3 monitors at 1920x1080 as well, since that's another common setup.
You should be fine with the 680 2GB. 1080p isn't that high of a resolution. Generally, yes I agree that VRAM is an eye candy. Take this card for example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Someone who isn't very knowledgeable about computers sees 4GB, but they see the new GTX 680 only has 2GB. Oh, this $90 must beat out a $500 card! Haha but all jokes aside, there are some instances where more RAM is extremely helpful.

You could probably get away with a 2GB with 3 monitors, but this is one of those instances where more RAM is very helpful. Multi-monitors, high resolutions, and programs/games that utilize RAM are really my only reasons for buying a card with more RAM. So if you were to do the 3 monitor set up, I'd personally go for the 670 4GB (or 680 4GB if you can afford it!). Or you could go for a 7970, which had 3GB of RAM.

- Jake

*EDIT: btw happy early birthday! Mine is tomorrow :D 
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May 22, 2012 4:59:17 AM

yougotjaked said:
You should be fine with the 680 2GB. 1080p isn't that high of a resolution. Generally, yes I agree that VRAM is an eye candy. Take this card for example: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... . Someone who isn't very knowledgeable about computers sees 4GB, but they see the new GTX 680 only has 2GB. Oh, this $90 must beat out a $500 card! Haha but all jokes aside, there are some instances where more RAM is extremely helpful.

You could probably get away with a 2GB with 3 monitors, but this is one of those instances where more RAM is very helpful. Multi-monitors, high resolutions, and programs/games that utilize RAM are really my only reasons for buying a card with more RAM. So if you were to do the 3 monitor set up, I'd personally go for the 670 4GB (or 680 4GB if you can afford it!). Or you could go for a 7970, which had 3GB of RAM.

- Jake

*EDIT: btw happy early birthday! Mine is tomorrow :D 


Thanks, happy birthday to you as well!

I still would like to know if there is noticeable difference with switching from VRAM to RAM while doing stuff like gaming. If the RAM is available, is the performance drop noticeable?
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May 22, 2012 5:08:22 AM

xxbobbyfinxx said:
Thanks, happy birthday to you as well!

I still would like to know if there is noticeable difference with switching from VRAM to RAM while doing stuff like gaming. If the RAM is available, is the performance drop noticeable?
Well system DDR3 memory is pretty slow compared to GDDR5 so you'd probably see some drops.

- Jake
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May 22, 2012 5:10:20 AM

yougotjaked said:
Well system DDR3 memory is pretty slow compared to GDDR5 so you'd probably see some drops.

- Jake


Any idea on how big of a drop? If it's something in the lines of losing single digit FPS then I am okay with that, but if I start dropping tons of FPS I have a problem.
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May 22, 2012 5:18:52 AM

xxbobbyfinxx said:
Any idea on how big of a drop? If it's something in the lines of losing single digit FPS then I am okay with that, but if I start dropping tons of FPS I have a problem.
I've heard that some cards have had too much AA pushed and the drop was like 5fps. But the exact number varies as it depends on the game, the settings you run, and your expectations. Honestly though, I'd save the headaches and get the 4GB. It'd be super future proof too.

So basically, if you are just doing your 1920x1080 and 1440x900 setup, get a 2GB model.

If you do the 3 monitor set up, get at least 3GB.

- Jake
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