VRAM: 2GB isn't what it used to be for high end cards.

Discussion in 'Technology' started by AKS, Jul 21, 2012.

  1. I noticed that everyone online seemed to think one would have to be a fool to buy a card with 4GB VRAM unless it's for some sort of crazy surround setup with half a dozen monitors. I agree that most graphically intensive games are currently going to use at most around the 1.5 GB range at the moment (I think that's about what BF3 uses, for example), but I think the 2GB range will start to become an issue in next wave or so of graphically intensive games.


    I already have a game that can hit just over 2GB VRAM at only 1080p. I don't think I'd be happy to see that if I had paid $1,000 for the GTX 690, which has only 2GB per GPU. I'd be careful if you're buying a high end card with 2GB. I think 3GB is really where you want to start at this point if you're going to use a high resolution. I noticed that games with high end graphics are creeping towards the 2GB mark at the top end already, and I read Skyrim mods can absorb 3GB, so thought I'd post this as an early warning. I was thinking about games like GTA V that are on the horizon when I decided to spend the extra money for more VRAM. I expect it to be demanding and hoggish.
  2. I agree, if you want to game at 1080p+ with AA then 2GB isn't a smart buy right now. Sure, it's better than 512MB was in 2008, and 1GB in 2010, but with new consoles probably coming at the end of next year, 2GB will be pushed next year, and become inadequate in 2014.

    This is why I still see the 7970 as a better deal than a 670 at the same price, hell even compared to a 680 at the same price (which they are nowhere near). I really hope the 4GB 670/80's become cheaper or NV's next flagship comes standard with at least 3GB.
  3. The 7970 GHz is being slashed to $500, which is about what my card cost. It's the fastest single GPU card on the market. That's a pretty damn good deal. The key problem I saw with it is that it's 1 foot long. I think it also weighs about 4.4 lbs. It's massive. I'm starting to wonder if there's a point where we'll start to see braces or something built into motherboards to support these things.
  4. I don't think this is a smart time to buy a new video card or to do any serious upgrading. The next gen consoles will determine the system requirements for games for many years to come, and those are right around the corner.

    I thought seriously about upgrading to an Ivy Bridge i5 and GTX 670, but then thought better of it, and bought a new smartphone and an SSD instead. I don't want to end up like people who bought Pentium Ds, Athlon X2s, Radeon X1800s, and Geforce 7800s back in 2005, only to find out that wasn't going to cut it when the PS3 and 360 came out.
  5. Re: Re: VRAM: 2GB isn't what it used to be for high end cards.

    An X2 + 7900 gt system was the last PC I built before I got old and had a kid. It lasted quite well but now it is in the loft (attic) somewhere, think the gpu died.
  6. You kind of just proved my point. That PC is sitting in the attic collecting dust.

    I intentionally waited until the PS3 and 360 were both out and built a Core 2/Geforce 8800 system, which I still use today. Building a PC soon before a new batch of consoles is released is unwise because you're dealing with a lot of uncertainty.
  7. I'm not so sure the next gen consoles will have huge leaps in graphics processing powers. I could be wrong of course.
  8. The PS3 and 360 were powerful and rather advanced even by PC standards when they launched, so I don't know. For instance, the 360 had unified shaders almost a year before PC GPUs got that feature with the Geforce 8800 cards. The Cell CPU was quite powerful and very heavily threaded for something that came out in 2006, with that level of threading not being available in mainstream PC CPUs until the Core i7 came out in 2008.

    If we get another massive leap forward like we did with the PS3 and 360, I have a feeling most of the PCs that are around today are going to seem pretty dated.
  9. bfun has a point though, it's pretty unlikely that we will see anything as high end as the 360 was at the time simply due to rising power consumption of PC GPU's and a shift in priorities for upcoming consoles. We're not going to see a 200w+ GPU crammed into a console.. that's for sure. We still might get something around GTX 680 level, but that wont be high end in 18 months time.

    In general you need around twice the hardware capability on a PC to run a game at the same settings as on a console, sometimes more due to bad ports. Memory use in particular is much less optimised, with PC games taking up more when they can. This may change a little with DX11, although the graphics API isn't really the biggest part of the problem these days. If MS really aim for a fairly unified Win8 and allow next gen xbox games to work on PC even, then this may shift, but I can't see that happening either.

    So yeah, anything you buy now will prove a bit obsolete in 18 months. If you want 5 years+ out of a GPU, wait until 2014, or just buy something mid-range now like a 7870 or a 660Ti whenever nvidia finally deliver those.
  10. I'm curious to know the real specs of the GPUs of the next generation consoles. Most seem to think both will use a version of AMD's 7670. It's not a high end card, but compared it the GeForce 7800, that's a pretty significant boost in power.

    I hope whatever card the pick is pretty decent considering it will be around for quite awhile.
  11. Current rumours are more inline with a downclocked 7870. We're looking at around GTX580 performance from a part like that. Of course the final products will be based on the 8xxx series, so that's where I'm assuming performance could end up closer to GTX680.
  12. The 7870 is pretty damn strong. That would be over 3x as powerful as the 7670. A friend was looking for a card in that range, and I did some research of the benchmarks and price checking on that card. I'm a bit skeptical that they would use a card that is that potent and power hungry, as it sucks up about 175w of juice, which is about what my GTX 670 uses, but I'd be ecstatic if it happened. That would raise the technology bar for gaming considerably.

    If PCs require roughly double the power to run a game at the same settings, we could roughly and cautiously conceptualize a 7870 in a console to be in the general neighborhood of what a well-optimized 2x 7870 CF setup would be in a PC in terms of power.


    That's a hell of a lot of power. I don't think they will go that high end, but I wouldn't be upset if I was wrong.
  13. The 7970M is a binned and underclocked 7870 and it has a max tdp of 100w, with actual board power said to be 75w. 100w really is the upper maximum for a pretty poor chip in a very bad situation (load and cooling wise), I think they just like to be safe with mobile parts. These binned mobile parts can't supply the volume needed for a console, but in 18 months the 28nm process should be good enough to produce such a chip (or slightly better) in great quantities.

    Also this on the desktop parts from guru3D,
    I'm honestly expecting something along the lines of an 8870, clocked a bit lower and with a few special, console only additions. I think the 6670/7670 rumours came from old dev kits or possibly just purposive leaks from MS to throw off the competition/not get expectations too high.
  14. Sony and MS are caught between a rock and a hard place. People expect a huge jump in quality due to the heavily subsidized nature of the last gen launch, but Sony definitely can't afford to go that route this gen because of it's financial situation and MS knows that, so it's likely that MS will also target tech that allows them to at least break even on launch sales.
  15. What are you suggesting, that they're going to go the Wii route? I don't see that happening. Girly and kiddie is not Sony's demographic.
  16. I'm suggesting that the days of subsidizing the console hardware and absorbing multi-billions in losses for several years after launch is over. Nintendo isn't exactly kicking a** these days financially and they've always taken the route of making profit off the hardware as quickly as possible. And nobody really believes that consoles are the sole factor for "winning the living room" anymore.

    So Sony (definitely) and MS (probably) will have two choices:

    A. Big graphics leap + much higher prices than previous gen launch

    B. Modest graphics leap + similar prices to previous gen launch

    It just makes more sense for them to go with B. considering how long it took to ramp up sales for the current gen AND the current gen will probably be the peak for console sales anyway. They'll still be able to say their hardware is more powerful than Nintendo.
  17. Oh, that's right. I forgot that everyone was going to ditch their consoles and get iPads. Silly me.
  18. I think most people in the gaming industry accept the idea of market erosion for consoles due to competition from smartphones and tablets.

    The DS, a portable, is the closest thing to the PS2 in terms of sales. And smartphones and tablets are also portable, no? And they already sell many more units per year than the DS, no?
  19. Smartphone and tablet gaming isn't real gaming. It's crappy stuff for casuals.
  20. Ultimately, Sony and MS never really cared about what the style of gaming was. They thought they were duking it out for media control of the living room. That's the only reason they thought it was worth it to subsidize the price of the hardware.