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1gb or 2gb of Vram

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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June 29, 2012 4:16:46 AM

Hello everyone! I have decided to build an Alienware M14x R2 and I am stuck on which video card I should choose. Both cards are NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with optimus the only difference is one comes with 1gb of DDR5 memory and another with 2gb. At first I just figured I would get the graphics card with 2gb; however, upon further research I have heard that depending on your display you may never utilize the other gigabyte, therefore, paying for nothing. The screen will have a resolution of 1366X768 so a 720p display. I do not plan on using multiple monitors, only the one attached to the laptop. I have read that for 1366X768 resolution screens there is no need to have 2gb of dedicated Vram, is that true? I do not want to purchase the computer and then regret not getting the upgrade. I will mainly be using for school but I would love to be able to play Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 at max settings. With 1gb of Vram do you think I will be able to play those games with maximum graphical settings? It will have a 3rd generation I5-3210m processor, 6gb of DDR3 ram-1600MHz,500gb 7200 Rpm hard drive SATA 3Gb/s. With the 1gb graphics card should this pc be powerful enough to play those two games at max settings? I appreciate anyone who helps me understand this. I know my way around the software of a pc but when it comes to internal components I am at a loss :)  .

More about : 1gb 2gb vram

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a c 91 U Graphics card
June 29, 2012 4:23:44 AM

for a 720p display, chances are you'll never need that second GB of memory, so I would just save a few dollars and go with the 1GB

as for D3 and starcraft 2, they'll run just fine maxed out. I have an old m11x and it can already run those games on medium pretty smoothly :) 

best of luck and happy gaming, people may say Alienware's overpriced, but there's value in having a portable gaming machine :) 
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June 29, 2012 4:28:05 AM

Yup no need for 2GB vram at that resolution. Also no need for 2GB vram on such weak GPUs - even if the resolution were higher. Just get the 1GB option :) 
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June 29, 2012 5:16:35 AM

vmem said:
for a 720p display, chances are you'll never need that second GB of memory, so I would just save a few dollars and go with the 1GB

as for D3 and starcraft 2, they'll run just fine maxed out. I have an old m11x and it can already run those games on medium pretty smoothly :) 

best of luck and happy gaming, people may say Alienware's overpriced, but there's value in having a portable gaming machine :) 


Thank you very much for the quick reply. I am new to this site and I love the quick responses and courtesy of this community. I am going to take your advice and just go with the 1gb option.

I too have heard several people saying Alienware is overpriced but I love the look of them and the level of personalization that comes along with it (mainly the different backlit keybord colors :)  ). I am also aware that I could build a more powerful laptop for a fraction of the cost but I do not do that because I am not educated enough when it comes to building a computer. Though I believe I could do it if I did research because I am usually pretty good at opening up technological devices and fixing them but it is also uncharted territory and with school, work and a child I just do not really have the time. In the end I am buying an Alienware because I love the look of it and I have always wanted one since I first laid eyes on one way back in a PC mag when I was a child. This will be my first one and I am ecstatic. Again, I appreciate your help.
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June 29, 2012 5:22:30 AM

BigMack70 said:
Yup no need for 2GB vram at that resolution. Also no need for 2GB vram on such weak GPUs - even if the resolution were higher. Just get the 1GB option :) 


So is this GPU not that good then? I have a hard time understanding the different computer components and what makes them better. I am slowly learning but still do not completely understand. I was under the impression that this GPU is pretty good considering it is DDR5 instead of DDR3. Is this a reasonable assumption? Until just recently I was going to build one of Sony's 15.5 S Series models, until I realized that for around 10 dollars more I could get an Alienware M14x R2 with the same specs except for the fact that the GPU ram offered by Alienware is DDR5 as opposed to Sony's DDR3. Is DDR5 Vram better than DDR3 Vram?
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June 29, 2012 7:29:52 AM

In addition to my question, if i decided to upgrade my screen resolution from 1366X768 to 1600X900 would the 1gb card still be enough rendering the second gig pointless or would the second gig come in handy with the increase in screen resolution? And would the 1gb GPU be good enough to run Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 on max settings at this increased resolution? I appreciate all your help.
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a c 106 U Graphics card
June 29, 2012 7:41:14 AM

the only time 2gb will ever be touched is usually when:

1. your doing professional rendering
2. your on max resolution playing a game that has moments of vram usuage(i.e bf3 when in helecopter looking at whole map)
3. multiple screens

in general though, 1 gig is more than enough for 1600x900ish and below.
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a c 91 U Graphics card
June 29, 2012 12:38:38 PM

rheiss591 said:
So is this GPU not that good then? I have a hard time understanding the different computer components and what makes them better. I am slowly learning but still do not completely understand. I was under the impression that this GPU is pretty good considering it is DDR5 instead of DDR3. Is this a reasonable assumption? Until just recently I was going to build one of Sony's 15.5 S Series models, until I realized that for around 10 dollars more I could get an Alienware M14x R2 with the same specs except for the fact that the GPU ram offered by Alienware is DDR5 as opposed to Sony's DDR3. Is DDR5 Vram better than DDR3 Vram?


Yes, gddr5 is better.

Also, it's not a bad GPU, it's near the top end of laptop GPUs. But when you talk about memory usage, most people here will relate to desktop experiences, and compared to desktop ones, that GPU is at the bottom of the mid range. Nonetheless, it will game fine for your purposes
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June 29, 2012 12:51:49 PM

rheiss591 said:
So is this GPU not that good then? I have a hard time understanding the different computer components and what makes them better. I am slowly learning but still do not completely understand. I was under the impression that this GPU is pretty good considering it is DDR5 instead of DDR3. Is this a reasonable assumption? Until just recently I was going to build one of Sony's 15.5 S Series models, until I realized that for around 10 dollars more I could get an Alienware M14x R2 with the same specs except for the fact that the GPU ram offered by Alienware is DDR5 as opposed to Sony's DDR3. Is DDR5 Vram better than DDR3 Vram?


The GPU is fine for that resolution. What I meant was - if you were to put that GPU in a situation where it really needed 2GB vram (demanding titles at 1080p or higher resolution), the GPU would be too weak to give playable framerates anyways without turning settings down and thus decreasing vram use.

Definitely get the GDDR5 version.
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June 30, 2012 4:46:12 AM

Best answer selected by rheiss591.
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June 30, 2012 4:49:30 AM

okay, I see. Well then I will be going with the Alienware then. I believe I am going to upgrade my resolution to 1600X900 based on what I have read online about the stock resolution being just horrible. Thanks to all of you I know that I have chosen the right settings to fulfill my needs. Thank you everyone!
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a c 273 U Graphics card
June 30, 2012 8:55:44 AM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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