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How much Video RAM do you REALLY NEED?

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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November 28, 2012 9:09:58 AM

I found this article interesting: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/graphics-ram-4870,2...

Although it's somewhat outdated. Anyone know of an updated article with newer video cards or have any concrete evidence indicating how much video RAM is really required for regular 1080p gaming these days?

Most come with 2GB vRAM anyhow which is likely more than enough, but it would be good to have an analytical assessment.

Thanks.

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a c 87 U Graphics card
November 28, 2012 9:16:54 AM

2GB is more than plenty for any single monitor. In a lot of cases it suffices for triple monitors as well, and if non-intensive games (heavily modded skyrim comes to mind) are all that's being played, 1GB will suffice for 1080p.

I don't have an analysis for you, but if you're worried about having enough... 2GB is MORE than plenty for 1080p. (SLI becomes a whole different beastie, because of how VRAM doesn't stack.)
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November 28, 2012 10:54:35 AM

Thanks, but just because vRAM usage shows a certain amount doesn't mean it's needed, right? You could have a GT 520 video card with 4GB RAM using 3GB vRAM doesn't mean it's needed, it's just a storage pool for textures then right?
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2012 10:56:47 AM

Well most games at 1080 P uses alot of Vram. So 2 gb is the best you can get.

Take skyrim. Add some mods to it and boom 3Gb +
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2012 11:30:04 AM

2GB at least. Max Payne 3 says it uses about 1.8GB with AA up.
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2012 12:20:03 PM

wanderer11 said:
2GB at least. Max Payne 3 says it uses about 1.8GB with AA up.

But MSAA in that game sucks - misses a lot of edges, and the performance hit is brutal - better off using FXAA for that title.

2GB is the new standard, and you will see benefits at the standard resolution: 1080p. Although games will not necessarily stutter if your VRAM is maxed - there is a bit of leeway. If you have more VRAM than the game actually needs, it will often reserve an extra chunk (making it look like it "needs" that much). And if you have only 75% of what it wants, the game will usually make do with what you have, and you will not notice any stuttering.

In my experience, I only see thrashing when the game is asking for more than 1.5GB, but I've only got 1GB. At my res, that never happens, even with Crysis/Crysis 2 + texture mods, but when I swap in my TV and play at 1080p I get some thrashing - but it's really not that noticeable.

3GB is really not needed for 1080p gaming, but those cards will obviously last you longer because they will never run into a memory bottleneck.
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a b U Graphics card
November 28, 2012 12:22:41 PM


Check out the THG HD6950 2GB/1GB articles.

I believe there is also a more current evaluation than your link somewhere on Toms. My recollection is ... in the overwhelming majority of titles, 1GB works just dandy at 1920x1080.

A few of the *usual suspect titles* slowed down a bit when loading new textures, but otherwise 1GB was just dandy.

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December 5, 2012 12:15:00 AM

Awesome Wisecracker. Here's an article from HardOCP: http://www.hardocp.com/article/2011/02/24/amd_radeon_hd...

Shows 1GB is by no means an issue, at least for the games shown, and I would consider BF: BC2 and Metro2033 pretty hefty GPU system requirements.

The way I understand it, just because a game is showing as "using" 1.8GB RAM doesn't mean your GPU needs that much. There's a certain amount required for managing the frames, frame buffers, AA, etc but the rest is just convenient and faster access to textures. If your GPU is slower then it can't make use of all the RAM even if it's got 4GB and storing 3GB of textures just because the bandwidth will limit the FPS, hence amount of RAM required.
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December 5, 2012 12:17:29 AM

Best answer selected by htwingnut.
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